I tried a tri!
by Amber Odekirk
October 2007

If you would have told me a couple years ago that I would be competing in a triathlon I would have laughed at you and told you how crazy you were. I never in a million years ever thought that I would have anything to do with a triathlon, but here I am today telling my story.

It all started last year when Smiley took me to see the Danskin triathlon. We unofficially volunteered cheering on the participants and Smiley helped a few cyclists with bicycle mechanical issues. As we were leaving we noticed a cyclist running her bike down the road with about a mile left of the bike leg. Smiley rode up to her to find out what happened and what he could do to help. He found out that her rear derailleur had broken as well as her chain. Smiley decided that it wasn't fair to make her run all that way with her bike right before she had to move on to the running leg of the race so he rode behind her bike and pushed her across the bike finish. By the time we got home and I got to absorb the whole experience I decided that I was going to do the Danskin next year. Just seeing how supportive and friendly everyone at the event was convinced me that it would be worth it.

And so the training began.....

Keep in mind that I am still a newby in the cycling world with just over a year of actual road riding experience and thanks to Smiley I am becoming a faster and better cyclist. About 3 months before the Danskin I started my training. I didn't follow a set specific training regime, I more or less just tried to get a good workout every day. I would do 40 mile training rides some days, 15 mile sprint rides other days, distance running, and of course some swimming. Swimming is definitely my weakest event especially in open water, so needless to say I didn't enjoy it as much and therefore didn't train it very diligently. I definitely suggest getting in the open water at least a few times in your wetsuit before the event so there are no surprises on race day. As we all know open water is a lot different than a pool. Visibility is poor, the temperature is colder, and there are waves, so get in there and get comfortable with it and you should have no problems. I actually swam with a much more experienced swimmer to get some pointers and technique tips that made me feel much more acclimated to the open water (thanks Trish!). I would also suggest practicing transitions because that is a part of your race time as well. Besides becoming physically and mentally prepared I made sure I had all the equipment I needed for the race. I had my bike tuned up the week of the race by our skilled mechanics here at R&E Cycles, made sure I got a good pair of running shoes, a good wetsuit, goggles and I was ready. The race went surprisingly well despite the cold rainy weather. Before I knew it I was crossing the finish line and hugging my soggy loved ones who came to support me. I finished the triathlon in 1 hour 31 minutes (a lot faster than I thought I would) placing me 14th out of the 76 people in my age group. In the biking leg my bike rode like a dream, I averaged 20mph and finished 46th out of 3,500 competitors...I LOVE MY RODRIGUEZ!!! It was a very fun and fulfilling experience. A big thank you to all of the volunteers and supporters that cheered everyone to the finish and congratulations to all the competitors for a job well done!