The tenth annual Islandman sprint triathlon was Saturday, June 28th. I’ve completed in all ten races, so you can believe when I say this: it’s really hard. Islandman consists of a 1/4 mile ocean swim, 12mi bike on a closed, pancake-flat course, and a flat 5K on the beach. So what makes this little sprint so hard for me?
SAND. Lots of it. Soft sand. Wet sand. Sand that will suck the shoes right off your feet. Sand that makes your feet slide right out from underneath you. Sand that lights up every weakness in your lower body.
Good morning, TMT. Get ready to suffer.
That’s the Avalon Fishing Pier. We are required to swim south of the pier, but transition is north of the pier. And if the current is running south, then we will swim south, making a REALLY LONG run through the sand to T1. I don’t have a lot of advantages over other triathletes. But one thing I can do well is get through surf and swim in the ocean. The rougher the ocean is, the better my advantage is. But my edge is completely wiped out when nearly everyone passes me on the run into transition. It’s so painful.
The bike course is three loops. It’s technical, with 30 turns. It’s also tight and crowded. I’ve only had two penalties in 10+ years of racing. One was at Islandman, trying to get around a shirtless 23 year-old dude who refused to let an old lady pass him. The other penalty was at Eagleman when I crossed the center line for 1.9 seconds to avoid the back half of a deer carcass. Forget the veritable peloton passing me on the bike, saying things like, “On your left! And there’s a lot of us!” No penalties for them. But I move to avoid entrails and I’m in the penalty tent. And that is reason #38 why I’ll never race Eagleman again. But I digress.
The run course starts after three loops and thirty turns. It’s hot and windy on the beach. We run through soft sand down to the water’s edge, south to loop around a barrel, north to loop around another barrel, and south to visit the first barrel again. We run on the harder sand along the water’s edge, unless it’s high tide. Then, it’s your choice to either run through the water or through the soft, dry sand. Oof. I usually finish the race, contemplate vomiting for a moment, then sprint up to transition to serve as a youth mentor for the Islandkids triathlon. My job is to yell at parents who won’t stay out of transition. That’s the easiest part of my day.
Due to rip currents and rough surf, this year’s race was changed to a duathlon. I was super psyched about this because it meant more running in the sand. I decided to run twice barefoot. I thought it would give me some serious Baywatch speed. And it did. I managed to find the AG podium with a third place.
I channeled my inner Pamela Anderson. I highly suggest it to everyone.
I finished AG 3rd. Mrs. Donovan finished second overall and Grumpy Sue Reich finished fifth overall. The Sea Bonster got third in the grand masters category and Snarky G. won the masters. The Rev won her age group. Friend Of The Team (FOTT) Marky B. finished fourth overall in the men’s race, and I pulled off this brilliant photobomb. It’s in the gallery.
We finished the morning at the Whitebrier with Circle Pizza and Parker’s Pinot Noir from Focus Wines. My legs would be so much happier if we could skip all that exercise and just go straight to the party.