I decided this year that I would cut back on doing Sprint Triathlons and concentrate more on longer distance tri's. The cost for a Sprint just doesn't justify the hour workout on race day. I will still do one if there is a friendly wager or a group thing.
Having said that, this past Saturday I went to the Escape From Ft DeSoto Triathlon as a supporter, partial coach and spectator. This was the first triathlon in about 15 years that I attended not as a participant. I knew it would feel weird and it most definitely did. More on that later. I got to the race much later than I would have had I been competing. Wasn't me racing. I felt no pressure and knew that today I just had to hang around and yell things....and yell I did. I still felt the urge to walk in to the bike transition area. Of course just to check on the up and coming BRA triathletes to make sure they have their stuff all in order. The right shoes in the right place. The proper racking of the bike. The right bottle of fluids for the bike ride.
I walked to the swim start. The water was glass. Again I had that urge just to jump in for a quick swim. Nope couldn't do it. Just offered a few words of advice to the UAC's. That water will probably get choppy once the swim starts. A bumped in to a friend of mine that was competing. He asked why I did not have a swim cap on. He also thought I was injured. I told him I was just there to cheer. Again I had the urge to take my shorts off and get in my wave group and swim when the horn sounded. Anyone got the pack of smokes?
I ran down to the bike transition after yelling at the BRA's Tri Team as they all exited the water. I again offered some words of wisdom and encouragement to the UAC's. I also used this time to watch the different techniques used to mount and dismount the bikes. I have never been one to keep my shoes attached to the pedals before the bike start. I may try that this year. With practice first of course. Once all the BRA UAC's were off their bikes, I headed over to the finish line.
I have been at this location many times. I would have to say that for the first time I was actually looking at the faces of the athletes and really appreciated my sport for what it is and the challenge it gives. I watched people off all ages, shapes, sizes and colors give what appeared to be their best for this one day. I watched as people would cheer each other on that last 100 yards before the finish. I also found myself looking at the calves of the runners going by to guess where I would have finished. The calves? The sport of triathlon makes you write your age down on your calf. That way when you are getting passed, you can either speed up to your age group or slow down because the person is not in your age group.
All in all, I had a great time just watching the race. I would say there was no pressure but there actually was. Until next time.....St A's. I will not be a spectator then.