Triathlon #15 of the year
and race #23 under my belt.
Behind Lonestar, River Cities
was probably the most well organized and
triathlon that I've done so far this year.
One point about River Cities that stands out
in my mind that was miles ahead of all the
other races I've done is the INCREDIBLE race
goody bag. The bag included a cotton
race t-shirt, a technical shirt, a pair of
sunglasses, a race towel, a couple water
bottles and an awesome tri backpack.
The backpack by itself is worth at least
$100. It was hands down the best race
packet so far this year.
Beth, her son Garet and I
drove up to Shreveport on Friday afternoon.
The River Cities triathlon wasn't until
Sunday but Garet was doing the IronFish kids
triathlon on Saturday morning. We
arrived at Motel 6 around 10PM and as I
checked in Beth was begrudgingly telling me,
"You always take me to the nicest places!"
We spent the day Saturday
at Garet's triathlon, which he performed
like a champ. We then spent the
rest of the day tooling around in the 104
degree temperature in Shreveport visiting
the Bass Pro Shop and a downtown river walk.
Saturday evening we met up with a bunch of
BR Tri guys at Monjuni's for what I will
call the patio heat fest. I mentioned
that it was 104 degrees previously correct?
Well, Monjuni's didn't have the seating
capacity for a party of 20 so they sat us
outside. I guess they secretly
were trying to prepare us for the race by
acclimating us to the temperatures.
The food was great and the company was even
greater so I soon forgot about the
The phone rang at 5:30 AM
but I was already awake. My tooth had
been bothering me and for the past week I've
been loosing much sleep from the pain.
The dentist told me that it needed a root
canal but I stubbornly told him to just put
a filling on top of it and I'd deal with the
pain. The pain had been getting
worse and worse over the past two weeks
since I'd had him do the filling and it
seemed like race morning it was reaching
it's climax. I didn't want to take
anything because I knew it would affect my
race so I just sucked it up knowing that
Monday morning I would need to go back to
the dentist to do the root canal. The
tooth would definitely be a factor in my
race performance but live and learn I guess.
I'm a dummy for not doing the root canal
when the dentist recommended it.
We arrived at the race
site at 6AM and sat in traffic for a half
hour as all the participants slowly entered
the park. After parking Beth and Garet
helped me haul my bike and the rest of my gear to
transition. After setting up my
area and stripping down to my swim gear I
walked over to the body marking tent to get
my numbers scrawled on my body.
They used heavy duty permanent markers
which after three days later I'm still
having trouble washing off. I did a
quick warm-up swim and was surprised at how
hot the water was. Honestly, it
felt like bath water it was so warm.
After saying my
farewell's to Beth I walked down to the
starting line. My tooth was still
bothering me but I had other things to worry
about as the race was starting in a few
moments. I was in the second wave.
I had originally signed up to be in the
Clydesdale group but after seeing that the
Clydes were in the LAST wave at 8:40 AM I
switched over to age group which put me in
the second wave.
I flinched as the cannon
boomed which signaled the first wave to
start. It was time for my wave to
enter the water. I waded out to
the start point and prepared myself mentally
for what was in store. The tooth was
throbbing as the race director gave us a 10
second warning. BOOM! The cannon
sounded and my race has began.
My wave had
150 people in it. I didn't
really bother going to the far left or right
so I was kinda situated right in the middle
of the pack. There was plenty of
bumping, elbowing and shoving going on to
the first buoy before everyone started to
spread out a bit. The water was
a little choppy and I did swallow water a
couple times but I never panicked and I was
comfortable for the entire swim.
I was able to gauge my time by listening for
the booms of the cannon signaling each of
the waves behind me to start. As I
closed in on one of the buoys I ran
head first into a support canoe that was
RIGHT in the middle of the swimming path.
I'm still not sure why the guy thought it
would be a good idea to paddle his canoe
INSIDE the swimming lanes close to the buoys
but I hope someone a little more daring than
I dumped him for his idiocy. At least
the bump on the head took my mind off the
throbbing tooth for a few minutes. The
congestion at the turnaround buoy was heavy
and at one point some jackass grabbed my
ankle, pulled himself forward and pushed off
with his feet on my shoulders.
I guess he thought that 'extra' little push
off my shoulders would help him gain some
momentum. I'll have to remember that
trick and try to use it on some other poor
soul in another race. With the exception of that altercation I
never really had any other issues during the
swim. I drafted off a few guys
for a couple hundred meters at a time but I
was a little leery doing that because the
water was so dark and I didn't want to end
up on the receiving end of a kick.
I exited the water, tooth throbbing at just
over 20 minutes.
I shuffled up the beach
onto the path that led to transition.
After taking a 2 second foot bath in the
kiddy pool to rid my feet of sand I ran over
to my transition area and switched to my
bike gear. I got out of
transition in a few minutes and ran my bike
to the mount point. As much as I was
hoping to have a great bike like I did at
Heart O' Dixie today just wasn't going to be
hate to blame the teeth for my 20.7 mph
average on the 18.2 mile bike course but it
really was affecting my performance.
Way more people passed me at this race than
I was accustomed to. I felt
groggy and downright slow! The course
was somewhat hilly but nothing I wasn't used
to. Today just wasn't my on for the
bike. I really felt like I struggled
through the course and arrived at the
dismount point in just over 53 minutes.
It had to be close to 100
degrees when I got out of T2 onto the run
course. I dumped a glass of ice water
over my head that I grabbed from the aid
station that just outside of T2. As I
passed the entrance to the finish line
chute, which close to the start of the run
course, I was in awe of some of the elite
athletes that were finishing their race
already. As I trotted along
starting my run these guys were generating
small gusts of wind as they flew by me in
the opposite direction. The run
course was flat for the most part. The
small inclines they did have lasted no more
than a 50 feet or so. The aid
stations were placed perfectly apart at
every mile and each was stocked with iced
towels and some weird electrolyte drink that
tasted like butt. The path was
also shaded for pretty much the entire run
but that provided little comfort from the
stifling heat. At around the 2
mile mark the path took a sharp turn into
the woods along a small trail which was a
nice change of pace. The little
path skirted the lake for around a 3/4 a
mile before ending back up on the main paved
road. I passed the last aid station
and wrapped a few towels around my head.
The water felt great as it ran down my
back but it didn't provide me with the boost
I needed. I never walked during the
race and I tried desperately to pick up my
pace for the last bit but I was just too
beat down. I jogged into the finish,
soaking wet with sweat and wanting to get
some pain killers of some sort in my system
as soon as possible to dull the throbbing
pain in my mouth. Lack of sleep
and the tooth pain had a lot to do with it
but I'm not going to make any excuses.
It just wasn't my best race of the year.
finished the race...
I didn't finish last...
I finished with both
Those are all good things
and they all add up to a successful race in
Thanks for reading.
I hope you enjoyed reading my account of the
2008 River Cities Triathlon as much as I
enjoyed writing (and living) it.
Best of luck on YOUR life journey!!!!
May you reach all your goals and achieve all your dreams!