Evan’s First “Real” Triathlon–Xterra Illinois Wilds

Evan did his first “real” triathlon yesterday. He’s done the Hyvee Kids triathlons a few times, but those are so short it’s barely worth the time to drive there, set up, and wait around. They are cute for kids who want to try out a triathlon, but for someone like Evan who has experience in racing in swimming, cycling, and running, they are too short. He’s been wanting to do an Xterra for a long time. Some Xterras are way longer than others, but luckily the one that is closest to us, near Peoria, is one of the shorter ones. Chris talked to the race directors last weekend and they were fine with Evan doing it even though he’s only 11.

Before the swim:

In the water waiting to start. The lake was an old quarry and it got deep really fast. They are all treading water here. Chris’s white cap is right in front of the red buoy and Evan is wearing a yellow cap a bit to the left.

The start!

Chris was in the front right away with two women.

Evan settled in just fine. I was worried about the swim because he’d never done an open-water swim before, but he was fine.

Evan is headed past one of the buoys here. The swim was an 800.

This is the best triathlon to watch, because the swim is in a narrow L-shaped lake and they swim down & back. They weren’t ever far from shore. Chris coming back on the swim:

Chris was second out of the water, after a girl.

Evan finished mid-pack on the swim.

They had people pulling swimmers out of the water because the shore was so steep, but Evan didn’t really need help.

Evan took a long time in transition because putting clothes & shoes on your wet body is tough.

He sucked down a gel because I told him to but he said he didn’t need it next time.

Chris came roaring through about 1/4 of the way into the bike with a 4-minute lead.

He never had anyone close the gap.

Evan’s weakest event was the bike. He was very slow…we’re not sure if he was tired from the swim, cautious because he had a hard fall on this same course last week, or saving energy for the run. He says he just hates that course. It was 15 miles of mountain biking.

He still did fine though! He was probably about 3/4 of the way back in the pack after the bike.

He is finishing up lap 1 here.

We didn’t get pics of Evan on lap 2 because we headed back to the finish line to watch Chris come in. He won by 13 minutes.

A bit later Evan finished up on the bike.

His second transition was pretty fast. He slipped his shoes on and was ready to go.

Chris ran the four-mile trail run with him.

Evan is about done with the run here. He’s looking pretty tired!

Running for the line:

Done! Almost 3 hours is a long time!

It was so hot.

Evan took his shirt & shoes off & went back into the lake to cool off.

The awards were pretty fast. Chris got a cool fox carved out of wood for his award (it’s called Xterra Illinois Wilds so they always have wildlife awards). Evan got third in his age group but they only gave awards to top two.

Meanwhile Campbell sat in the shade of her stroller and played on her LeapPad. I was thinking we’d be selling the stroller soon because we don’t use it much, but it’s nice at races for her to have a place to sit and a canopy.

I thought Evan would be really tired after the race but after a few drinks and some lunch, he was good as new. Crazy as ever actually. I love knowing that he can put out a strong effort for three hours in the heat and be fine…he’s such a strong worker. Heat tolerance is something I do not have (nor does his sister).

Could you have done (or did you do?) a full triathlon when you were 11? I certainly could not have! I think I could finish one today, but I would not enjoy myself at all.

Mountain Bike Race I

Evan had his first MTB race of the season on Sunday. He got 3rd in 14 & under (he’s 10).

We hiked to the top of the bluff to find a spot we could watch the racers pass three times.

I noticed that MTB aid stations are sorta unique (tomato juice & celery were there too). I am going about fueling during workouts ALL WRONG.

Campbell tried to pick every dandelion. She wanted to give Evan a bouquet after his race (like she got at the recital) but he wasn’t super excited about that.

Have you ever seen an aid station like THAT? I don’t know if it was for the racers or the volunteers! Or both!

Friendliest Crowd?

A few weeks ago, after a mountain bike race, Chris and I were chatting about which group of racers is the friendliest among the running/cycling/swimming crowd. The reason we started talking about it is the mountain bike crowd is always SO friendly, not only at our local club races but at the ones we’ve traveled to. The offroad triathlons are all amazingly friendly and supportive, as well.

Warning: I am about to stereotype and generalize. I know there are friendly crowds at all types of events and unfriendly crowds at others, but overall, here’s our list of the individual endurance events we have experience with:

Most Friendly Participants/Crowd
1. Mountain Bike Races
2. Offroad Triathlons/Duathlons
3. Cyclocross Races
4. Running Races (road/trail/cross country seem similar)
5. Swim Meets
6. Road Cycling Races
7. Road Triathlons
Least Friendly Participants/Crowd

The attitude around the off-road events is just completely different. You can feel it in the transition/staging area. The road triathletes are SO SERIOUS. Yesterday’s race made me realize that the kids’ races are the about the same ranking as far as the friendly non-nutso parent continuum.

I’m sure some of you will chime in with examples of events near the bottom of my list which were very friendly, and we’ve experienced those too. But overall, that is our list of events that are consistently friendlier than others.

What do you think? Which running/cycling/swimming events are the friendliest?