Jeff Snyder

Summer Solstice Olympic 

Buster Poindexter’s famous song “Hot Hot Hot” sums this one up fairly well. Most of the week I was worried about the water temperature. You see, I haven’t invested in a wet suit yet and well I don’t care for cold water. Forget that I hadn’t swam in 2 weeks due to work and family constraints or that I had only practiced open water swimming twice. Nope, the temperature was all that worried me. Well a couple days before the race, I did a pre-ride and went and checked the water which felt really good. That eased my mind some. But I was checking the water temp in the afternoon and along the edge only. We all know that water temps are much different in the morning and get colder as you go deeper into the water so I knew it was going to be a wait and see kind of deal until race day morning to know how warm the water may be.

Race morning went much smoother than any other race in quite a while. I arrived in plenty of time to check in, set up shop, and still had almost an hour until start time. I stayed away from the water until race time got closer. I heard the RD say the water temp was 77.5 which meant it had gone up in 3 days since his last notice. Good news for me! Stacy took a picture of me walking around the water smiling really big. She said it was her favorite because I looked happy. I told her it was because the water felt great! This being only my second tri and first open water, I tried to watch and learn from others.  I also noticed that there were more athletes at this race with the same body build as myself. I’m more on the muscular side and it was nice seeing other athletes more my type compared to the usual stick thinned athletes that no doubt keep me in the rear of the competition.  haha

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5,4,3,2,1 and we were over the yellow tube. It was a long swim but I never really tired. Just tried to find a good flow. Super thankful it wasn’t choppy. The only waves were from the boat watching us swim. I finally made it to the beach and started my way to the bike. This transition went much better than my first at trideltathon. I went sockless for the bicycle part and finally having a kit helped me as well to not change. The bike was as expected. I’m getting better the more I ride and kept what I felt was a good pace. The cars on Tellico Parkway don’t mess around. They seemed to have a sense of entitlement and didn’t want to give any space to us. I survived and had what I thought was a decent time. I passed others the first half and only got passed by two ladies (who finished first and second). The run was quickly approaching and I jumped off my bike and again felt like I had a good transition. Not crazy fast like people who have been doing it for years but it was efficient and I got out quickly. Early on the run was ok but slower than I wanted. The blacktop sucks the life out of me. It was HOT HOT HOT. The concrete levy was also hot and long. My times got progressively worse as the 6 miles passed. Something that I try to not let happen, happened way too often over the last 3 miles. I got passed by at least 6 runners. Dang, I was not doing well but I kept pushing. Finally the end was in site and I finished my first real triathlon of any solid distance. 

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I crossed at the 3 hour mark and was disappointed in that. Later realizing the clock started 15 minutes before, I felt better about my time. Racing against people who have been doing this for years isn’t easy but I’m mentally tough and taking this in stride and improving. My second triathlon, first Olympic distance and third open water swim was fun and I enjoyed it. I learned a lesson not to do 2 bricks with days of the race. I did a 24/3 and 13/2 on Thursday and Saturday. Next year I won’t do that but this year is all training, learning and improving. I like these things and look forward to Chattanooga Waterfront soon. Hopefully I can have a little better time/performance in my hometown.