Today was the inaugural race of the Gallup Triathlon held, obviously, in Beautiful Gallup New Mexico at an average elevation of 6,800 feet; can you say oxygen deprivation? There was a surprisingly large crowd, 143 participants, for this race considering it is the first year and it is in a relatively remote area and, well, there aren’t whole heck of a lot of triathletes in our sparsely populated neck of the woods.
I had received recon from fellow Outlaw Karen “Warpath” Williams that the bike course was going to be rough roads with heavy traffic and shoulders with gravel and glass…ugh! This being the case I decided to leave the pretty boy Lucero and ZIPP 808’s at home and take good old Red, my trusty Trek E-9, and his training wheels, a set of Bontrager Race Lites with Kevlar clinchers filled with Stan’s, out to the race instead.
The GEEKGRL, Mini-Me and I woke at 4:45 am, ate breakfast, packed our gear and headed over to the race course. We were the first to arrive but transition was marked by number so there was little racking advantage though we each did get the sweat spot at the end of our respective racks right in the runway through transition. The race was due to start at 7:00 am sharp but didn’t begin until about 7:40 because EMS failed to tell the RD that their shift change was at 7:00 am so we all had to wait around for the new shift to come on duty and then drag their butts over to the race course. Still, I must say the men and women of the Gallup PD and EMS did a FANTASTIC job making sure all athletes were safe.
The event kicked of with a very brief 375 yard swim in a beautiful new state of the art aquatic center. We were seeded by our estimated swim time. I guessed mine would be about 6:50 so I was sporting the number 27 and, of course, was the 27th person to take off. The RD told us that there was to be no passing mid-lane, only at the walls because we were sharing lanes going up and back in each lane. Well, I hit the water and took off swimming quite strong. After about 125 yards the guy who started behind me started slapping my feet so at the wall I let him pass and then followed on. The pass took too much out of him because I was on his feet within 10 yards so I passed him back at the next wall. I then ran into more feet and when I looked up like I was sighting in open water I saw a pile-up of three ladies with the lead swimmer slowing dramatically. The problem was she would not let anyone pass at the wall. I was practically doggie paddling now and three walls went by and nobody would let us pass. I thought, “screw it, if they want to DQ me…fine!” I sighted once more and saw nobody at all was coming down the lane headed in the opposite direction toward us and I pushed hard off the wall, put my head down and hammered past all three swimmers in about 15 yards…finally I was able to start swimming again! Despite that 75 yard slow down I was still able to clear the pool in 6:35.
I hit T1 and popped on my cycling gear and headed out in 1:02, a little slow, to take my chances on the bike course with Old Red. Now get this…the RD and her husband didn’t only SWEEP transition…yes, with brooms, they also stayed out past midnight SWEEPING the bike course! Mind you, not all of it but still they were out there for hours sweeping the freakin bike course! The bike course was kind of hilly with a couple decent climbs and a couple fast down hill runs and I was sticking to my usual strategy of trying to spin up the hills and hammer the flats and downs. Surprisingly I found myself catching a few people while I was headed uphill…small people! Ah, what the hell…I passed them too. I drank my full bottle of Nuun and took one Accell Gel and arrived back into T2 in a time of 39 minutes and change…not exactly fast but given the altitude and the climbing…it was enough to earn me the 5th fastest bike split of the day. Way to go Old Red!
I trundled through T2 in about 1:00, another slightly slow transition but I was feeling good, and headed out on the run. Mercifully this run began with a down hill unlike the evil DeuceMan, which began with 4.5 miles of uphill running. Now I also received recon from fellow Outlaw Hartly “Silver Bullet” Wess that the run course had a real steep hill on it…Ok, I’m ready. After running for about .7 of a mile I spied a short but steep little hill ahead and thought, “Well, it’s kind of steep but it’s very short, no problemo.” Then I notices that the couple of people ahead of me took an abrupt left turn right before the hill and I thought, “Hartly must have been mistaken about the hill.” When I took the left turn I was confronted with this looong hill…ugh. It slowed me to a 12:43 per mile pace by the time I reached the top. Thankfully the remainder of the run was downhill or flat!
I turned in a run time of 25 minutes and change for a total time of 1:13+. It turns out my effort was good enough to get me 1st place Clyde, there was no split between the youngster Cydes and the old-boys like Bigun and I. Well, I was pretty pleased with topping the whipper-snappers but was even more happy to discover that I was #8 overall male…Whooo-hooo, broke into that top 10% for the brethren!
IT was a great day, a great race and great company. The GEEKGRL also won the Athena Division and Mini-Me pulled off a second place finish in the youngsters category, 15 – 18. The Outlaws pulled down a lot of hardware. I think we had 10 in attendance and 8 of us walked to the podium.
Next up…the Tri-Raider sprint at Buffalo Springs Lake…I’m commin’ to getcha!