Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Collegiate Nationals (Pt 3) Mixed Team Relay

Jonas is on the right. This picture epitomizes team triathlon, waiting for your teammates to come.
This was just straight FUN.  We heard about this a few months back and I convinced a couple of my teammates to go along.  It was to be 2 male, 2 female 4x250m swim, 6km bike, 1.6km run, draft legal with a tag-out between people.  The relays could either be all from a school, but they were supposed to at least be all from the same collegiate conference.  My team was initially four of us from CGA, but we had to make some changes.  One of our girls had blisters from the morning's race so she was a no-go.  Last minute I frantically searched to find a second girl for our team and ran into Amanda from Stevens Institute of Technology, a fellow NECTCer.  Interestingly enough, Amanda had also been at and won the duathlon we did a few weeks ago, beating out my teammate Erin, who was the other girl on our relay.  Amanda actually made a great replacement, as a former 1650 swimmer at Stevens as well as an A/B racer in collegiate cycling, so she was perfect for the leadoff swim to set us up well, because we knew there would only be any significant packs of drafters on the first leg of the relay.  After the first run, everything got very spaced out.  Amanda came out of the water in third and off the bike in the lead pack, so we were pretty excited.  We gradually lost some ground, and I was actually the anchor leg.  By the time I was racing, I was all alone.  The only time I saw anybody else on the course was at the very end of the bike when one other guy caught my draft for all of 10 feet before we entered into T2, then he blew apart the run and gapped me by probably 20 seconds.  Our team finished in 21st out of 38, but it was SO MUCH FUN.  20 minute triathlons are a blast.  They hurt like hell, but man are they fun.  The only regret I have is losing the super-official Comfort Suites Championship to Colorado State (they were in the same hotel as us and happened to have their relay transition a few spots over, so we offered a friendly challenge and lost)
Basically the way for this one that it worked was as a virtual tag-out, because of how the courses were laid out.  The run final would have crossed over the bike to get to the swim start, so you raised your hand.  It was a little weird, but it was at the same time a lot of fun and a throwback to my early high school days when I ran track (craziness) and waiting for the baton to have somebody yell to tell me to start going.  I loved every minute of it, even as I and the other later leg athletes sat there stretching trying to prevent our quads from seizing up from the Olympic race in the morning.
For Jonas and me it was especially fun and important.  We both had lackluster races in the morning and the relay offered us some bit of redemption.
Below are my files from the race if you're so inclined:
Awkward run down the ramp/swim
Lonely bike ride
The run that I couldn't blow up on because it was so short

NECTC Relay #1: "Coast Guard" (sorry Amanda, but you were our favorite fill-in!)

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