Race Date: 04/08/17
I have been looking forward to the start of 2017 triathlon season for the past 6 months. It has been an incredible journey this past year for the WGCTT as we evolved from a vision to a full-blown team with great sponsors, fun team kits, and a compilation of exceptional female athletes from the Gulf Coast.
There was no better way to start 2017 with first official team triathlon than joining forces at the Tradition’s Triathlon in Biloxi, MS. This was a first go for me at this venue. I heard plenty of great feedback about the race – perfect venue in the Tradition’s community, well organized race staff and volunteers, safe course, and a great after party to top it off.
As always the first race of the season I ask myself – “do I remember how to do triathlon? Have I forgotten anything? Have I trained enough?” Surely I am not the only person to have these thoughts… ;)
Race morning was blessed with a chilly temperature of 45F – but thankfully wind was light and no rain. Trying not to forget anything, see paragraph above, I made sure to bring some of the cold weather essentials – gloves, arm warmers, wetsuit, and toe covers. The Tradition’s race venue was quickly coming to life with athletes and spectators strolling around bundled up and teeth chattering as they awaited use of the coveted port-o-lets.
Tradition’s Village has a beautiful lake…or pond, not really sure but the water fountain amidst it reminded me of Disney World. Despite the cool air temps the water was a toasty 70F+… AND no wildlife in the water which made this athlete very happy. Basically it is like swimming in a pool but you’re not able to see much beyond your hand or person ahead of you.
A quick struggle (or fight) with removing my wetsuit and it was onto the bike. 17 miles, out-and-back course, rolling hills, tree-lined country roads, minimal traffic -- couldn’t ask for better, save for segment of road which is a little rough.
No doubt the best part was the run – a combination of road race and an XTERRA/off-road challenge. I spent the first mile waiting to feel my feet as they still felt the early-morning chill - gotta love running on pins and needles. The off-road portion took you through sand, limestone, tree roots, weeds and wet trails. The best part was coming up on fellow teamies in their fancy kits as they were heading back to the finish line. Plenty of speedy athletes ahead of me but all I could do is smile with excitement and think to myself “the dream of the Women’s Gulf Coast Tri Team has come to life.”
The finish line is always an exciting place to be after the race – meeting up with teammates and triathlon geeks from all over the Gulf Coast. There was a huge spread of food and drinks from an array of race sponsors and everyone enjoyed what turned out to be a warm and sunny day.
Thank you to Run-n-Tri for your hard work and for supporting the WGCTT, as well as the volunteers and cheerleaders that make the day for all the athletes.
Female finishers across the line:
2 – Katya Karpitskaya (1st Masters)
3 – Leah Watters (1st 35-39 AG)
5 – Mary Trufant (1st Grandmasters)
7 – Cicely Wallis (3rd 35-39 AG)
13 – Liz Valdez (4th 40-44 AG)
14 – Mindi Straw (1st 50-54 AG)
17 – Sue George (1st 55-59 AG)
20 – Palmer Waechter (1st 13-19 AG)
Looking forward to what the remainder of the 2017 season holds for the team. Many, many thanks to the team sponsors who make this all possible!