A group from my Tri Team did the Lake Arrowhead Triathlon. It takes
place in the mountains outside Los Angeles at 5000 feet altitude which
means there is slighty less oxygen, many more hills, and much better
scenery than most of our local races. Some of us rented a mountain
cabin for the weekend; it was the best way to do the race.
There are many different things triathletes do to prepare the night
before a race: do a light workout, eat a special meal... We watched
the premiere of High School Musical 2. Before you judge us too
harshly, keep in mind that this behemoth is stuffing our paychecks.
And you know, when you watch it with a group it really is kinda fun.
In terms of organization, this is probably the easiest race I have ever done. We parked in a garage about 50 yards from the transition area. Super easy to get to. It's a small race and everything felt very low-key with little external stress. (I had generate all my own stress). The one problem was that there was a really long line for the men's room before the rcae. They had no porta-potties and relied on the bathrooms in the shopping village. I usually go at least 2 or 3 times before a race, and this was not working out. Fortunately, I found a super secret bathroom at the far end of the village which I had all to myself.
This is the first Tri I've done without a wetsuit. It was a 600-yard swim in a pretty warm lake, but I just felt sort of naked. We were swimming directly into the early morning sun and were blind most of the time. There were a few power-boaters out there creating some pretty choppy water at times. The swim wasn't fun, but at least it was short.
The bike seemed like the longest 10 miles I've ever ridden. It was nothing but hills and sharp curves. If I wasn't climbing up, I was riding my brakes all the way down the other side. There were a few hairpin turns at the bottom of hills and on more than one occasion I had to skid before making the turn. But the ride was nothing if not interesting. I much prefer tree-lined curved than straight open desert.
The run had a few hills as well, but nothing bad during the 3 miles. I have always preached that you should be good to the volunteers, and it paid off on the run: I went past some young female volunteers doing the generic "great job runner" cheer. I started clapping and said "great job volunteers!" One of them then said "great job runner STUD". That's right, I was called a stud. Sucking up works.
The finish area had one of the best spreads I have ever seen. Oreos. Pretzels. Vanilla Wafers. I'm sure they had some fruit some place but who cares, right?
Leah, our mean running coach who makes us do painful drills, placed
3rd in her age group. Amazing; she rocks. But even that accomplishment
was eclipsed by another victory; Ben won the award for Best Road
Rash. Yes, they actually brought him up to the stage for everyone to
see his bruises. He crashed less than 1/2 mile into the bike ride on
the first turn of the first hill. He just climbed back on the bike and
finished the race without further incident. Ben was feeling sore for
the next few days, especially when he laughed. Those ribs didn't
stand a chance.
Robert, Ben, Leah and I did a SECOND triathlon the next day. We went
to nearby Lake Gregory, where the first event was Paddle Boats. I teamed
up with Ben and our boat had a bad clutch; it would slip if you tried
to pedal too quickly. That wasn't too much of an issue considering
that Ben was missing a pedal completely. The fun factor was pretty low.
The next leg was swimming across the lake. Aside from some slime, it
was pleasant enough.
The third leg was the Water Slide. I didn't understand this at all.
There were two parallel slides. They started at the same place. They
finished at the same place. Yet one was a fun wet ride and the other
was a demonic nightmare. I could barely stay on my raft and I couldn't
see a thing because of all the spray smacking my face. Super scary.
So that's the Lake Arrowhead Tri. Very low-key, beautiful scenery, a great get-away for Los Angelenos. Highly recommended. Just work on your bike hills before you get here.