Race Report: Big Rock Sprint Triathlon

Saturday was my second triathlon! Here, let me tell you all about it.

The Good

  • I got to share the experience with wonderful people!  My husband and two of my close friends also participated, and it was their first triathlon. The husband of one of those friends was there too, and I made sure he knew that Support Spouses are the unsung but much-appreciated heroes of multi-sport. My Irondad and stepmom came out and cheered us on and took pictures and video. It was so great being there with all these people I love.

Triathlete husband, Irondad, and me!
Photo credit: Andrea Bonham

  • The course was nice! The water temperature in the lake was pleasant, there were pretty wildflowers growing throughout the recreation area, and there was a paved path to run on.
  • I made a good decision, asking for late check out at the hotel so we could go back to shower and change after the race. I felt so much more human going out to lunch minus all the sweat, sunscreen and cold wet clothing!

The Bad

  • The weather. It was hard to enjoy the scenery because we couldn’t see it – the whole morning was ridiculously foggy. It was also kind of cold, windy, and drizzly on the bike (this didn’t bother me, but Alex was cursing me, thinking “She SAID it was going to be pretty!”).

Triathletes in the mist!
Photo credit: Scott Evans

  • The race was pretty disorganized. There weren’t enough buoys or kayakers on the swim course, especially considering the visibility issues. The volunteers were all kids who didn’t know what was going on or where anything was. The transition area was not arranged by number (which I know is just how it is sometimes, but I’m not a fan). The run was on the honor system – there was no volunteer or timing mat at the sprint turnaround point, just a small sign.
  • The religious element. Nowhere in the advertising for this did I see anything about it being a Christian event, yet I stood there uncomfortably while they said a pre-race prayer over the PA, and we are now the not-so-proud owners of Big Rock Triathlon t-shirts with bible verses printed across the front. Not cool.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come…” (???)
(Best comment from one of our friends: “Pretty sure He got DQed after trying to walk on the swimming stage.”)

Now on to the race itself!

The Swim

It was a Stephen King horrorshow of mist and fog. Triathletes would head out into the water, get about 10 feet away, and completely disappear.


Photo credit: Scott Evans

My girlfriends and I were in the very last wave, and I know I’m not a particularly strong swimmer. I worried that everyone would just take off and I wouldn’t be able to see anyone or know which way to go… so I threw everything I know about proper swimming technique out the window. I kept my head above water almost the entire time, and did my bizarre breast-stroke doggie-paddle frog-kick swim as fast as I could. It worked! I followed the half-mile course and finished in 19:01.

The Bike

I survived! The 20k course took me 47:53, which is just ok (averaged about 15mph). I know I can ride faster, especially with some hill training and some more practice with clipless pedals). My loaner bike was light and fast, but I am still getting used to the different geometry of it, and the clips still terrify me. I mounted and dismounted very slowly and carefully (but didn’t fall!), and I walked a little bit on the big hill at the end because I was going so slow I was afraid I might fall over, clipped in. All in all, I’m ok with my bike leg.


Photo credit: Mike Radogna

The Run

Ugh. Not my best 5k. Lots of walking – my calves were cramping and the cardio endurance just wasn’t there. 37:32.

Overall… I’m so glad I did this one. I’m proud of myself and my loved ones for completing it, and it was a good wake-up call that I have some work to do before my longer triathlons this season.  Onward!


Photo credit: Scott Evans

8 thoughts on “Race Report: Big Rock Sprint Triathlon

    • Heh, thanks!

      Yeah, we got this email after the race:

      “we apologize for the difficult foggy swim and applaud your toughness to persevere in your effort to complete the swim

      in hindsight we should have canceled the swim and replaced it with a short run (duathlon)”


  1. I was in that swim, too. We probably didn’t see each other! 😉 The swimmers were like a flock of blind sheep being herded by frantic border collie kayakers trying not to lose anyone! Pretty much chaos!

    • Hey, congrats! 🙂

      Good description! My favorite part was when the kayakers would yell “WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY!”, and all of us would stop and look around all confused… only to eventually figure out that they weren’t talking to any of us, but someone else who’d veered off course.

  2. Thank you so much for including us, Gina! It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m so proud of myself. I can’t wait to do it again!

    • Silly girl, you can’t thank me, I do not control triathlon. 😀 I’m so, so so glad you came, and I love that you’ve got the bug too. I wish we were doing the same event that one weekend in June, but at least let’s do some training together!

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