I just finished the Bozeman Triathlon, Olympic distance. It’s my first triathlon ever and my B event prior to Ironman 70.3 Arizona in October. It went better than expected, I finished 4th in my age group and 23rd overall:
Here’s my brief race report:
The race took place at Glen Lake Rotary Park in Bozeman, which includes a gravel pit turned into a pond. The weather was pretty overcast, with storms on the forecast in the afternoon; temperature was about 55°F, and water 62°F according to the race director. Prior to this I had only done a handful of open water swims (albeit in colder water, so the water temperature was actually pleasant), but I hadn’t done the full Olympic distance continuously, so I went in not feeling super confident that I could actually finish. The swim consisted of two laps with a short run on the beach to get back to the start for the second lap. During warmup I noticed that the water was so murky, as soon as I got waist deep I could no longer see my feet, which I think actually helped me; I didn’t feel any anxiety being in open water. I took on a Maurten caf gel during the race briefing, 15 minutes before the start.
I seeded myself in the slowest group since I didn’t have a good idea of what my pace would be; I was in no rush and just walked into the water after everyone else got in. However, once I started swimming I quickly caught up with the rest of the group and got to experience that old Clif Bar commercial first hand. After that, I overtook a few folks and just tried to get out of the way as much as I could. About halfway through the first lap, I started feeling some muscle burn in my arms and shoulders and I started to worry I may not have it in me to do two laps. Thankfully, after a while I settled into a rhythm; I tried to focus just on the next buoy, and then it was smooth sailing from there. I ended up with a finish time of 39:46 and 1,633 m in total (including the walk on the beach between laps), for a pace of 2:26/100m. Looking at the GPS track, I think I did a decent job of sighting, I only went slightly off-track once.
I had very little practice with transitions, so I took my time in T1 to make sure I didn’t forget anything, plus I felt very wobbly after the swim (sidenote: that happens to me after every open water swim, does that ever go away?). I took on a regular Maurten gel before leaving, ended up taking 6:05 there. Biggest lesson: I’m never wearing socks again. The time it took me to put them on wet feet felt eternal.
The bike route went through some of Bozeman’s backroads, along farms and very fancy houses. Beautiful ride, with two laps, rolling hills through Montana grasslands, one slightly steep ascent, and very little wind. Overall it was pretty uneventful; I felt pretty strong the entire way. I think I could have gone a little harder; I was shooting for around 0.85 IF, ended up at 0.79, and finished in 1:16:39. Nutrition was a bottle of Gatorade endurance, although I didn’t finish it. Honestly, I loved the bike leg, I wish it would have gone on longer.
T2 was faster, 2:37, but still took my time and didn’t rush it. Racked the bike, switched shoes, got my belt on, took on a regular Maurten gel with some water, and left.
I did the run at a comfortable pace; the Stryd app recommended I did it at 244 W, but I don’t think it takes into account the swim and the bike, plus I didn’t want to risk an injury, so I aimed for no more than 230 W (which is what it recommends for half-marathon pace), and ended up at 220 W average power. I’m a little annoyed the route was slightly short of 10K, at that pace (5:42/km) it would have probably been a PR for me. I had one more Maurten caf gel with some water at the aid station before starting the second lap. In any case, finished in 53:02, for a total time of 2:58:09. Almost as soon as I picked up my things from transition, the thunderstorm that was forecast started rolling through, so I left soon after.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results, especially for my first race, and more importantly, I loved every minute of it. Can’t wait to do this again in October, I’m officially hooked.