Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Farewell and Thank You to the Bath County Triathlon

me, Coach Jim, Sue, and Chris (overall winner!) of One-on-One Endurance

Last weekend was my 8th Bath County Triathlon! I've raced it EVERY year since 2010 except 2014 when I was recovering from surgery. Unfortunately, it seems this was the final year of this beloved race on Lake Moomaw in the Allegheny Highlands (near the iconic Homestead Resort).

It was a very small race this year with a combined 90 individuals and teams.

The race features a beautiful, clean lake and closed bike and run courses. But it's not without challenge in the form of significant hills.

I wanted to write this post to say thank you to the Bath County community. Without this race many of us would never have experienced this spectacular area, well off the beaten path. And the back roads make for a fun drive in a little yellow car!

Just a few things of note this day.

First of all, I broke the valve off my tube stem on my front tire when I was pumping it up race morning in transition. Boy did that sucker go flat fast! I posted about this on race day, but I shocked myself by how quickly, efficiently, and without swear words, that I got it swapped out. I guess I learned from those few times I practiced and seemed to do everything wrong. I'm not kidding, there was one time I practiced and I'm pretty sure it took me like 45 minutes and my hands were filthy at the end. I don't know how in the world I made it so complicated.

geez look how skinny my bike looks!

After I got set up, it began to rain. I discovered just how difficult it is to put a wetsuit on when you are already wet.

After 7 Bath County swims in the clockwise direction, we were informed we'd be swimming counter-clockwise. Whoa!!

The swim course had five markers: two orange balls, an inflatable doughnut, an inflatable duck, and a "no wake" pylon. It's all part of the charm. If we wanted cookie cutter races, we'd go to swim meets, right ;-)

Anyway, I took off in the frenzy at the front of the swim and hung on as best I could. I came out of the water in 5th, right behind eventual winner Jen Fleming.

I'm somewhere in there

After a 3rd best T1, I headed out on the still-wet bike course. where I traded leads with Becky Keller (eventual 2nd place) but ultimately clocked the fastest bike split of the women.

Bath is/was a very spectator-friendly race. This was the corner for watching the start/finish of the bike, then you walk 75 yards down the street to watch the start/finish of the run. 

Behind me you see "THE" hill - we start the run going up and finish coming down!

After a decent T2, I think I headed out on the run in first. Becky Keller passed me not long after, and at the turnaround I saw Jen Fleming coming FAST! She laid down a sub-19 minute 5K and passed Becky on the final downhill for the win!! I wish I could have seen that! [Full results here]

We hung out at the finish, and with the last competitor under the finish arch, the Bath County Triathlon was over.

Awards with Jen; Becky was not able to stay.

I've seen participation drop in quite a few events around me. I sometimes wonder if it's because people are just busier or overwhelmed trying to keep their heads above water in an increasingly challenging world.

Me - me, I cling to training and racing (and the turn buoy duck). I appreciate and need the time outside (and away from my computer) and the opportunity to experience new places. I don't need fancy vacations or fancy things, I prefer my fun served up by the mile, and frequently!

The little yellow car serves as a nice drying rack, among other things!

Post-race we went to the Bath County Pumped Storage Station. It's the largest in the world. I taught about it in the Intro to Green Engineering course last spring but had not been to it. It's two large vertically separated reservoirs in which water is pumped to the higher one during times of low energy demand, then the water is released and captured as hydroelectric energy during times of peak demand. That process happens over and over and over. It's a giant battery of sorts. We could only see the lower reservoir from afar (below), but it was still cool!

So that's the report! My next triathlon is USAT Age Group Nationals in August.

photo credits: Bryan Walsh