Guntersville, AL, is a 5-6 hour trek to northern Alabama to the quaint lakeside town of Guntersville. Team Magic events are very organized and well executed races, this one did not disappoint. The event staff does a great job with communication, instructions, and race day execution.
This year, the event included an ENDURANCE distance event (as well as the sprint distance) – which was comprised of a 1 mile swim, 32 mile bike, and 8 mile run. When I signed up for the endurance distance I forgot to consider how hot August can be. But, we were pleasantly surprised on race day with weather that was more reflective of late spring – with a hint of cool morning air and temperatures in the mid 70’s/low 80’s.
Triathlon can be a very grueling sport, but the “sport of cheerleading” is not for the the weak! It is a full day of being “on-point” making sure you are in all the right locations. Katie and Liz's day started with unloading all the essentials – tents, bikes, charis, coolers, camera, snacks, sunscreen, towels… then off to find the perfect location to cheer and photograph your fellow team mates! They were spot on for this race – they had all the necessary accoutrements and fulfilled their duties. They perfectly placed themselves on the bike course along the causeway taking pictures and then shifted to various parts of the run course. Both of them were filled with smiles and encouragement. And of course a shout out to the rest of the WGCTT that cheered for those of us that did the longer event!
…probably a little too much summer fun and limited training. But hey, we were here to be together as a team and have fun, right?
As the sun rose we got our first look at the water conditions - the north wind brought some chop and current to the lake. The course set up is a basic triangle - 850 yds and repeat for a 1 mile swim. It was a real-deal swim – took some skill staying on course and sighting.
Just like the swim the bike was 2 loops, each 16 miles. The name of the race “Mountain Lakes” originally gave me the idea this would be a hilly course. But race pamphlet information described it as “flat and fast” - there were definelty areas of flat and fast but their were also segments of rolling hills and out of the saddle climbs. I really thought the wind was northerly but was surprised during the ride. There was no rhyme or reason for the winds and found it hard to get comfortable in aero.
Now the 8 mile run. I had a hard time grasping 8 miles for the last segment of the race. In my head it was an odd distance for a triathlon and I quiclkly realized my legs were shot from the windy/hilly ride. In similar fashion as the swim and bike, the run was 2 loops plus a short out and back to the finish line. Not an easy run – those same pesky rolling hills, but very thankful for plenty of shade.
The WGCTT did extremely well in both the sprint and endurance races - every member took a place on the podium and both Cicely and Missy walked away as Southeast Regional age group champions in the sprint distance.
We all want to look our best on film and social media. But team mate Mary Trufant always insists on the “crazy photo” once we get the 'formal' shot. This takes more practice than you would expect. My first few crazy photos I looked meh, blah, boring. This was my chance to redeem myself – I was going all out for the crazy photo. Well, maybe I went a little TOO crazy?? Simple fix - photo shop your cat's head into the picture. Many more crazy photos were to be had – but I learned how to tame my inner “crazy.”
This is of course our team trip – no worrying about packing up and heading home – nope it’s about having fun and enjoying the day. The wind laid down soon after the race and the lake was pristine. The tent was up and provided shade while lounging in chairs with a full cooler of beverages. Later in the day we brought the party poolside at the hotel and then to dinner at CrawMamma’s.
This trip was a whole new experience for me and will be one of the most memorable. Often times I head to races with my own routine and leave soon after to get back to the “grind” of work and home life. Traveling with team-mates was a whole new experience – not only sharing the race course but sharing time together and getting to know each other personally. Looking forward to our next adventure.