The race consisted of a 500 m swim, a 20 km bike, and a 5 km run. I'm really cold-natured when it comes to swimming, so I was a little worried about the 6:00am start time. To my relief, the water temperature felt very comfortable for the 15 minutes I was in it. Swimming has never been my favorite activity, despite being on my hometown's swim team for two years when I was a kid. The freestyle stroke zaps my energy very quickly, so I always end up reverting to breast stroke when I swim, and this triathlon was no exception. With an official swim time of 15:11, I came in 117th place out of 154 finishers. That's not great, but at least I was faster than a quarter of the other swimmers.
I wasn't very worried about the bike portion. After all, I have been cycling to school or work nearly every day for 23 years, so biking is second nature to me. Last time I competed in a triathlon I made the mistake of using my mountain bike. With their fat, cushy tires, mountain bikes just aren't made for speed on roads. This time, I opted to rent a road bike from a local bike shop. A scheduling mishap resulted in my not getting the bike until the night before the race. I only had time to ride it around my townhouse complex in the dark for about 20 minutes to familiarize myself with it. However, fate had a bigger problem in store for me during the bike portion of the race.
I have been a competitive runner for more than 15 years and regularly compete in races such as last year's XTERRA half marathon. My two most recent 5k race times from last year were 21:24 and 21:22, so I was very happy to finish the Fire Cracker Sprint Triathlon with a run time of 23:06 and rank of 42. That means I passed about 70 people during the running race - not too shabby if I say so myself.
I wore my Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch during the entire race. It was my first time wearing it swimming. Since it's not rated for use in the water, I put it under my swim cap (like this) with only minor discomfort. You can view my GPS track in the Google Earth snapshots above and embedded widget below or click here for Garmin's nifty player. More photos from the event are posted in my phanfare album.