Saturday, in little known parts of the world, aka Burns, TN, I took my first triathlon beat down of the year at the Iron Nugget Sprint.  The pictures are all from the year before when I spectated because, as you will see, there was no time for fun and games.

This race is really pretty awesome.  It’s in Montgomery Bell State Park, well organized, beautiful, friendly, and loaded with hills.  I’m not sure it’s ideal for a first time triathlete, but it’s definitely fair.

On a whim, I signed up the night before then got to the site an hour before race the 8:00 race time and found myself in a long line for bib pick-up.  While this was a bit of a bummer, I was very excited to see so many racers because I’d love to see this series grow.

My late registration meant I had to go into a second line with about 8 other people and wait for the race director to assign us a bib number.  Somewhere around 8:10 I finally landed bib 350.  The following is a series of events that happened from that point until the start of the race at 8:30.  (I’d like to preface this by saying it’s all my fault for not signing up and arriving sooner).  Below is the huge hill out of the swim to T1, which I speak of often.

Look at this grade!
Look at this grade!

– I got body marked and climbed the huge hill from the check-in to transition for the second time (I forgot my ID the first time).

– I swiftly unloaded my bike, gear, and ran everything into transition where I scrambled to find an open slot to rack my bike.  After about 5 minutes of panic, I found what seemed to be the only open slot and hung my bike.

– Put in my contacts and the right one was backward.

– Slid into my tri-top, laid shoes on a colorful beach towel, grabbed swim cap, sprayed anti-fog on my goggles, then realized I forgot my bike and helmet stickers, along with my bib on the registration table while I got body marked.

– Ran down huge hill to retrieve bike stickers and bib.  Ran up huge hill to affix stickers bike and bib to belt.

– Ran down huge hill barefoot with wetsuit.  Stopped near bottom of hill to put on wetsuit and heard “2 minutes till start” of my age group.

– Hopped up and down trying to get into wetsuit on slight decline.  Realized I put my right leg into my right arm sleeve.  Struggled to get right leg out of wetsuit, turned everything back outside in and began again.

– Somehow managed to get into wetsuit legs and run to beach.  “30 seconds till start!”

– Pulled wetsuit over shoulders and nice young lady to retrieve my swim cap from the back pocket of my tri-suit.  Put on swim cap and goggles while nice young lady zipped my wetsuit.  Waded into water and under the rope where my age groupers waited.  Saw friend Eric and said hi as gun sounded.

Anyone who knows me knows this is the exact opposite of how I should start a swim.  I’m “panic central” in the water and need some serious wake up time.

The swim was 750 yards, one loop around a beautiful little lake course.  The water felt nice and I did everything in my power to start slow.  I haven’t been swimming much, so while the distance didn’t scare me, I knew it was long enough for problems.

My effort to start slow did not go well, and by the first buoy my heart was clamoring to get out of my chest, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to fall into breaststroke for a while.  Which I did until the next buoy, then picked it up again . . . slowly.  But clearly not slow enough.  By midway up the backside of the box I was cursing my lack of training and back in breast stroke.  It was about the halfway point and I even decided it might be a good time to peek at my watch, which said 7 minutes.

It’s funny how seven minutes can feel like a lifetime, and the next 9 minutes felt even longer.

Normally I’d swim until my hand hits the sand, but I stood up as soon as I could.  “Standing” is a relative term here because I was kind of dizzy and almost fell down.  The good news was, I had to run up that hill (the fourth time) again.  Needless to say I walked with my wetsuit hanging from my waist.  It was an awful transition, but I had no choice.

The first 5 miles of the bike were torture.  The swim bit me hard and I wasn’t ready for the hills.  It was a tough but fair bike course.  The fastest split average was 21.4 mph for the hilly 17 miles.  My average was 18, and considering the horrid start, I actually started waking up toward the end of the ride.

The run was tough, too but I felt pretty good by then and ran a 24:42 on a super hilly roll.  It was a steady, consistent pace that I felt I could keep for a long time, but any faster would have been too much.  The fastest split was about 19 minutes, so I felt good about my effort.

This race was a huge wake up call and I’m glad I got my ass out of bed for it.  Rev3 Knoxville is still on my radar, but I haven’t signed up.  Maybe I’ll do it the night before.

This is BS!
This is the spot I tried to put on my wetsuit.




Iron Nugget Spring – Dickson Endurance