Mill Creek Triathlon and the Big Oops

Saturday July 26th was my 4th in a series of Olympic distance triathlons this year.  While it was small in number, the race was no easier than any of the others.  After all, the swim, bike and run are basically the same with either 50 or 4000 other competitors on the course like I had in Chicago.  What’s more is most of the people I was racing with/against were my friends.

Sherrie and I made the 30 minute drive to Mill Creek just outside Marshall, Illinois.  As soon as I got to the transition area and ran into Stan Strohm, Troy Charters, Tony Williams, Ron Gillen, Robert Montani , Daniel Alexander and several others I know well, it was going to be a family affair. 

The swim started one at a time with a dive off the dock for a two loop 1500 meter swim.  The water was 77.3 degrees or just wetsuit legal so I figured the swim would be fairly easy.  I jumped in about 10 seconds after Troy, maybe 6th or 7th one to go.  I caught a couple of other swimmers around the first turn buoy and the first lap was very smooth.  Second lap one or two that I passed got me back including Troy who I set in a little behind to the swim exit.  Had a long hill to run up out of the lake to transition 1.  Made it through in short order, jumped on the bike and here is where the race fell apart. 

Soon as I jumped on we had to make a slight right turn.  I had my cycling shoes already clipped on the bike and secured with rubber bands so I could put them on while ridding.  Something I do all the time.  However this time it turned to disaster when the rubber band didn't break.  I reached down to break it as I made the slight turn I somehow crashed right into the pavement.   There is nothing like doing something stupid in front of a crowd.  Well I picked myself up, retrieved my cycling shoes that went flying in different directions and took back off.  Had a bit of blood on my white handlebar tape, but nothing to do about it then.  I rode out the park with Troy still in sight, but not for long.  Just didn't have any power on the bike and I watched him ride off.  This was going to be a long day.

The rest of the ride was a lonely, kind of disheartening affair.  Made it back to the second transition, did a nice flying dismount and out on the run.  The run itself is nice and flat two loops.  Good thing is I got to see everyone and throw encouragement to my friends as they went by.  If this race was about anything it was spending time with friends.  Good thing is I like these guys, and personally appreciate each of them.  No whining about a less than stellar race, just enjoy the company, the day and be content with what the day brought. 

Special thanks to Sherrie for going with me, volunteering and generally putting up with me.  Thanks also to the Page family for putting the race on and all their hard work.  
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