Experience Triathlon Sprint Tri (Pleasant Prairie, Wisc.)

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Last week, triathletes in Chicago were hoping to get wet prior to the swim cancellation due to Lake Michigan water conditions.  This week, just north of the Wisconsin border in Pleasant Prairie, they were trying their best to stay dry!

The inaugural Experience Triathlon Sprint is the newest addition to racing at this fabulous venue.  The sold out event was capped at 180 racers to “test the waters” according to Race Director Joe LoPresto.  Looped courses easily get congested with too many participants; so, I hope they keep it small for 2020!  Packet pickup was Saturday afternoon (or Sunday morning) prior to the race and included an opportunity for a pre-swim in Lake Andrea and a pre-course talk with Joe.

As racking was first come first serve (as are most Experience Triathlon events), it was important to get to the venue early Sunday morning.  It was pitch dark and raining steadily at 5 am when most arrived to clamor for an optimal spot in transition. The lake opened at 6 for a pre-swim and I quickly discovered how important it was to have a spare pair of clear goggles as the only ones I had brought were mirrored and it was impossible to see anything with the heavy cloud cover.

By 6:30, there was just enough light to see for the start of the self seeded two loop 750 meter swim.  While I prefer time trial starts over mass starts, I do wish there had been more “divisions”. The only groupings were 10 minutes and 12 and over.  I was hoping for a 16 minute swim and kept getting swum over by faster athletes who should have been ahead of me in line on the beach.

Happy with my swim split, I ran to transition and found everything soaked and the rain pelting down.  Since fracturing my pelvis when I crashed during a wet 2015 event, I fear cycling in the rain. So, I was surprised when I noticed I was averaging 18.5 mph on the fast, super flat and well supported 2 loop bike course.  There were plenty of volunteers telling us to slow down at particularly sharp turns that included a reverse roundabout at 88th and Bain Station.

Entering T2, I found our rack partially collapsed due to the wet pavement.  Undeterred, I slathered vaseline on my feet (a trick I learned to prevent blisters in such soggy conditions) and sloshed onto the out and back run. Although, not particularly challenging it seemed forever to the turnaround!  It was awesome to get a high-five from Great Lakes Zoot Teammate Stacey Saef who was about a mile and a half ahead of me one the run.

The finish was a bit anti-climatic given the struggles of the day.  Athletes were greeted by their medal and a bottle of water. We were asked to quickly clear transition, so the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Central Regional Qualifier could get under way at 9 am  It was an exciting event to stick around for after the race as the ladies from DI-III schools took to a similar course the age group athletes had just warmed up for them!

I can’t wait for the 2020 Experience Triathlon Pleasant Prairie Sprint which under better conditions should be one of the fastest courses in the area!

 

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