Jordanelle State Park is a spectacular venue for a triathlon. I'd done another race in the same location years ago and was anxious to return to such a great course. RaceTri was lucky enough to snag the Rock Cliff Triathlon from it's previous owners recently and has taken the bull by the horns. It's a well run machine and despite the smaller turnout this year, they really gave us a great race complete with raffle swag and trophies for the winners.
Athletes began their day by driving just past the venue and parking about 3 miles from the finish. Spectators can park and ride any of the shuttles for free that operate during and after the race. A quick bike in was a lot less bothersome than I thought it would be and before I knew it I was marked, chipped and headed off for transition. After I set up, I took a walk down to the swim entrance to see what a small crowd had gathered to chat about. The river that fed into the reservoir had deposited floating islands of debris, as well as icy 53° snow melt, from the swelling waters above. It was riddled with branches and leaves. RaceTri quickly solved the problem and moved the race farther into the reservoir where it was free of obstacles and a balmy 58°. The mood of the athletes was infectious despite the cold. It was a chatty, upbeat group and they were all anxious to get started. Even though I was doing the sprint distance, I jumped in with the olympic racers so I would have more time to get used to the cold water. Turns out is was a good move since it took me about 10 minutes to get the feeling back in my hands. "This will make me tougher," I kept telling myself.
The race began and as I looked up to spot the buoy, I cringed when I realized that it wasn't any closer. I knew this would be a slow swim for me since I was swimming with an injured shoulder. The most I could put together in training was a rhythm of 10 strokes and a short pause to wait for the burning to stop. It sounds pathetic, but as long as I keep up the rhythm, it's not so bad- I mean it's only a 750, right? I put my head down and concentrated on making those 10 strokes count. The next time I looked up the buoy hadn't moved. I began to beat myself up a bit but tried to recenter my goal and keep at it. Again, I looked to spot, again, no movement. Over and over I did this until I saw the boat redirecting swimmers. As it turned out, the buoy had come loose from it's anchor and was drifting farther away as I was desperately chasing it down. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Lucky for me I chose the former. The swim finally ended and I have to say, I was less bothered and more thrilled that I swam farther than I thought I could with my shoulder.
The views on the bike were amazing. Even though the first half was hilly, passing through the farmland and along the cliffs was well worth it. The ride back down wasn't too shabby either and offered a nice bit of speed as you entered back into the park. It was an open course, meaning traffic was allowed, but the police support was superb and made sure that I didn't have to even touch the brakes at crossings.
Before I knew it, I was off the bike and onto the run. This run is one of my favorites. About a mile and a half of the 5K is road and the rest is on beautiful trails and boardwalk winding through the park and campsites. It was lovely; in a torturous, drawn-out, end-of-triathlon, painful kind of way. As I said, it was a great group of athletes and I really appreciated the high-fives and encouragement as we crossed each other winding our way through the course. The finish was a welcome sight and though I wasn't looking for a PR this time, I had a great time and will be back next year for sure!
Overall Results Oylmpic Distance
1. Greg Deyle
2. Aaron Jordin
3. Logan Oxford
1. Jody Jones
2. Katie Hafen
3. Sue Pope
Overall Results Sprint Distance
1. Keb Wilson
2. Jeff Chambers
3. Shawn Ross
1. Liz Grant
2. Melissa Payne
3. Louise McKee
For more information about RaceTri Events go to: www.racetri.com