Despite the chill in the air and the ominous dark clouds to the west, it was just the kind of weather you hope for when you're about to punish your body. We pumped some air in the bike tires (and some learned how to shift gears for the first time) and laid out our running gear in the transition zone (a.k.a. the garage for males, inside the house for the female). The commissioner gave us some final directions (which evidently were not heard by all) and prayed fervently that we'd have a good time and that Lightfoot's liability insurance was paid up. Then my good wife, who gave up her Saturday morning ritual of sleeping in and being served breakfast in bed (OK, I made up that last part) to be our official timekeeper said "Go!"
The first leg was a swim of four laps around the Mountain Dew bottles that coach had anchored in his pond. Megan the ex-swim team member and Casey the lifeguard made it look easy with their smooth freestyle strokes. The rest of us doggie-paddled, floated, and even walked where it was shallow enough (though still moving our arms so others would think we were swimming). Since I had borrowed a nifty triathlon suit that worked for all the events, I was able to pass Ben and Megan in the transition to the bike. Only Casey was in front of me. I pumped the pedals as hard as could, hoping to catch him and slipstream behind him going into the wind. But he was pumping hard too, and evidently his hard pumping is faster than mine. It was an out-and-back course on County Road 1, so we all got to greet each other either coming or going. John G. rode along for encouragement to us and entertainment for himself. Those rolling hills that modern automobiles hardly notice are a bit more significant on a bike. Clair's wide mountain bike tires didn't serve him too well, and neither did the fact that Mike had his brake on the whole way. The Matteson men moved up some places on that leg, while Casey and Aaron didn't fare so well. I could hardly see Casey ahead of me by the last mile, and then when I pulled up to the house to transition to the run I asked, "How far ahead is Casey?" My question was met with some confusion as the timekeeper answered, "You're the first one here." Uh oh. That meant Casey took a wrong turn somewhere. Since there was only one turn on the whole course, it wasn't too difficult to figure out where. He added two extra miles to his bike ride, which left me all alone on the run. Aaron did the same thing, but even after the extra two miles, he wasn't sure where he was and so added some more for good measure. Wes made the biggest move on the run, perhaps realizing that he may have missed his true calling as a long distance runner.
Good times were had by all. Mike won the over 55 age division, and Megan dominated the female division. The real fun began with the post-race breakfast of champions (donuts and Jackie's s'more bars), and everyone's rehearsal of all the funny moments. Being the one of our group who is (only slightly) obsessive about keeping track of the numbers, I reprint here the official timekeeper's ledger for posterity:
Swim Bike Run Total
Jim 8:23 41:24 19:06 68:53
Bryce 10:07 42:00 19:14 71:21
Wes 9:08 44:44 17:44 71:36
Steve 10:11 42:20 19:52 72:23
Ben 8:16 44:56 21:08 74:20
Casey 7:15 48:57* 19:54 76:06**
Mike 12:15 48:31 22:42 83:28
Clair 10:19 51:55 23:18 85:32
Megan 6:57 53:23 27:26 87:46
Aaron 12:12 68:30* DNF DNF***
John DNF 46:21 DNF DNF****
* Wrong turn on the bike, added 2+ miles to the total.
** Undoubtedly would have been the fastest overall time if not for *, but as we often say in our house: "woulda, coulda, shoulda... didn't."
***After several extra miles on the bike, he jogged out to meet some of the others and turned around with them.
**** John fancies himself more of a mono-athlete and so only rode the bike.