The Night Before
The Issaquah Triathlon really began for me the night before the event. As I was getting everything together for the race I decided to take the bike out for a two mile ride with two decent climbs to make sure it was in working order. When I crested the second hill my rear derailleur got caught up in my spokes and twisted up bending the metal and snapping the hanger. It was at 6:45pm the night before the race and I did not have a working bike. I ran home with the bike (rear wheel would not move) and called the nearest bike shop (Gregg’s Cycles in Green Lake.) They said they didn’t have the hanger and that there was no chance they could get it in but to try REI (my bike is an REI brand Trionfo.) I called REI and told them the predicament (race in about 12 hours) and they said to hurry in and there was a chance they could fix it.
I got to the Downtown Seattle REI around 7:15pm knowing they closed at 9pm but hoping there was some way they could work on it. Here’s a picture of the rear derailleur after they removed it from the bike. As you can see in the top of the picture it’s fairly bent when it should be straight.
Two hours and fifteen minutes later (thirty minutes after closing) I was heading out with a brand new rear derailleur, new derailleur hanger, new chain, and a tuned bike all for an amazing price. My hat goes off to all the people who worked on my bike and made it possible for me to enjoy the Issaquah Triathlon. I will forever go there for repairs and anything else I need to support them. I know I sound like I’m on a soapbox here but I’ve truly never had service this amazing before and am still in awe that they worked late to make my first triathlon possible.
The 2013 Issaquah Triathlon
I showed up at 6am for packet pickup since there was no way I was going to drive to Issaquah the night before. The transition area was set up really nice with enough space on the racks to easily fit everyone’s bikes. The people running the show were great and there were no pre-race issues. I made sure to give the bike a quick ride to make sure the derailleurs were working as they should then racked up.
The swim was easily my favorite part of the race. There’s something about blue skys, an open lake, and swimming that I love. My swim time was pretty good too (5:59) which was 11/50 for my age group so that was nice to see as well.
Transition 1 (Swim to Bike)
Transition 1 was a pain… and almost as long as my swim! In practice I generally had trouble getting my leg out of the suit but in the race the hardest part was getting my hand out! After that trouble everything was pretty much a breeze.
The bike leg was probably the most interesting sections. The course was semi-blocked off and included a few miles of no pass zones which seemed to piss off the more experienced triathletes. There were only a few hills which made for some fun experiences (30mph+ downhills and slow uphills.) The cars were all very respectful and I never felt in danger which was my main concern going into it.
Transition 2 (Bike to Run)
Probably the easiest transition in the history of racing… just set the bike on the rack, swap shoes, and run away! I will have to get easy tie laces for my shoes for the next triathlon as the longest part was double knotting the shoes.
The run was as expected… difficult. I’ve practiced brick training (cycling then running) but never in the capacity that this was. Something about fifteen miles with hills then a three mile run was different than riding a trainer then running half a mile. It felt great running through the end and finishing my first triathlon.
Total Time: 1:28:27
Age Group: 31/50
The After Party
The after party was way better than expected… and far better than any one I’ve been to before. They had brats grilling which they were handing out FOR FREE. Apparently I should have joined the triathlon community a lot sooner than I did. Franz Bread was there handing out free loafs of bread too! Saved me $4 as I don’t need to pick up delicious bread for the next week! Overall I’d say this was an amazing first triathlon (I met a ton of people who were doing this for their first as well) and would highly recommend it. I can easily say that I’m hooked and already looking for the next one (looking at you Tri and Tri Again!) Again, I just want to say my sincere thanks to the awesome people at REI in Seattle for rushing me through, staying late, and making sure I was able to race.
Congrats on your first triathlon, Brian! So awesome!!
Thanks! I had a blast and am already using your site to find the next one!