Kelly the Culinarian: 2016 Esprit de She Naperville Triathlon Race Recap

Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 Esprit de She Naperville Triathlon Race Recap

Six-word summary: A solid race in perfect weather.

Disclosure: I race for free with Esprit de She as part of their ambassador program, but the opinions are all mine.

This is my third Esprit de She triathlon (read about 2015 and 2014), and my fourth event with the group (read about my first year as an ambassador). The weather this year was by far the best of all the years I've attended. A new addition to my racing kit was the Zipp 808 wheels we bought a few months ago. I had never ridden on them but no time like the present, right? And throwing all race advice to the wind, I also decided to wear new daily contacts to this race instead of my regular lenses on the advice of my eye doctor. I'm positively living on the edge.

I woke up at 5, had breakfast and coffee and drove the half an hour over. By the time I got into transition, the rack for the first wave was already full. Those elite ladies don't mess around and told me I should find another rack. Whatever. I race elite to make my day shorter and less crowded, knowing full well I will be the last elite with consistency, so I racked my bike nearby, set up quickly and returned my stuff to my waiting sherpa/bike mechanic/photographer (thanks honey!).

I timed it pretty well and had just enough time to hit the port o pottie, walk down to the beach to warm up, then get into my wave. There were 11 people in my wave, and I realized listening to the National Anthem that I forgot my Garmin. Better to leave that at home than my goggles, but it was annoying to not have a gauge of how I was doing all day long. The swim was uneventful - I kept up for the first lap and was falling behind by the second turn buoy. No big deal, just keep swimming. I was the last elite out of the water and got a healthy round of applause from the waiting triathletes. My transition felt long because the people in the relay wave were waiting for their swimmers and I had to jostle to get my bike. It also took me forever to click into my pedal.

The bike was interesting in that on my first loop, I was completely alone. I saw no one, and felt like I was flying on the new wheels. I learned why you don't use 808s in wind - every gust felt like it might be my last. On the second loop, the relay and survivor waves hit the course and I had a slightly more difficult time navigating around other athletes. This race is roughly 25-35 percent first-time racers, and there aren't course marshals, so I would say there is a lot of rule-breaking cycling going on out there. I nearly hit a spectator on my way out of transition because they weren't paying attention crossing over the course.

When I hit T2, I knew I had pushed it on the bike as hard as I could. My legs were tingly, but I easily settled into a pace. I decided when I hit the 2-mile marker I'd try to push as hard as I could to the finish. This resulted in nearly bowling over more spectators, but also ensuring that I was spent when I crossed the finish line. I kept reminding myself to push harder because training wise, I should've been out riding a century or running like 15 miles, so I had to make this race count.

In all, I was roughly two minutes slower than last year. I lost time in transitions, my run was 30-seconds slower and my swim was also slightly slower. I gained speed in the bike portion, thanks to the Zipps, and can see that I need more time in the pool. It was a great tune up race, and gave me confidence for the season ahead.

Time: 1:23:03 for a sprint triathlon

Price: $80 if you registered early

Pros: Lots of swag (Moxie top, shorts and skirt), unique medal, really posh post-race party, beginner-friendly course, no need for a wetsuit

Cons: The bike course gets super clogged up because athletes don't follow the "bike right, pass left" rule, the swim requires several turns, transition doesn't appear to have enough room, the jerseys aren't as cute this year as previous year's

Would I do this race again? I'm reluctant to stop, since I'm a Founding Finisher, but also, it tends to conflict with my longer-distance training plans. We'll see what date it falls next year, and if they'll have me as an ambassador!


Unknown said...

I was a little less than 2 minutes slower than last year, too! Strange since the weather the year was not a monsoon :-)

On the final approach to the bike finish a woman swerved out in front of me and I yelled "WHOA! ON YOUR LEFT." Another participant told me in transition that she was proud I didn't let fly a bunch of curse words and complemented me on my bike handling.

It does have a lot of beginners who don't know what they're doing but I do like that it's so welcoming.

Amanda said...

Congrats on a great race! The swim for us mortals (age groupers) is really crowded too. I just couldn't get around anyone. And I agree on the bike etiquette. I wish more people knew the etiquette and rules of the bike or they were enforced a bit. And I actually really like the top!