By Cicely Wallis
This sprint distance race kicks off our team’s triathlon season which includes a new name, new members, and a new sleek, black kit! This was my 4th time to compete in this race. Located in Biloxi, MS, it is one of the only local triathlons in my area, and I always look forward to the event put on by one of our team sponsors, Run-N-Tri. Another plus is that all the race proceeds benefit the Run-N-Tri Company Student-Athlete Scholarship which awards local student-athletes with money towards their education. Win-Win!
The sound of thunder woke me race morning, but a 6 a.m. Facebook post from the Run-N-Tri Company verified that the race was on schedule, so I made my way to the Tradition Village through heavy rain. Kudos to the race directors and event staff and volunteers for getting the course and transition area together in such terrible weather! To my surprise there were lots of athletes buzzing around the transition area in raincoats and galoshes--some even put on their wetsuits a little early! We definitely have a group of hardcore athletes to brave those conditions! Due to safety concerns, the race start was delayed 30 minutes to allow the weather to clear and it did. Here we go. Race time.
I was really looking forward to racing hard, but the conditions forced me to make the decision early, along with many other triathletes, that I would take it slow and try to be as careful as possible on the wet roads. Today was NOT a PR day. :-)
The ⅓ mile lake swim was smooth and well-marked with big orange buoys that made it easy to stay on course. It was wetsuit legal, but I decided to only wear my swim skin--in hindsight, I should’ve spent some more time wearing my wetsuit to practice taking it off, but race morning I just didn’t feel like struggling with it. When I came out of the water, I was cheered by lots of smiling spectators that helped carry me up the hill and into transition.
Transition 1 was rocky for me. Another thing to work on…
On to the 17-mile bike. This is where I got a little excited. I could see other athletes leaving on their bikes and the adrenaline started to flow. All thoughts of taking the bike easily and cautiously suddenly left my mind. I just wanted to go fast. Thank goodness there were lots of volunteers and officers to keep athletes on course and to remind them to slow down. My front wheel slid a little on the first turn out on to the course and it reminded me that today was not the day to take risks on the bike. The course had rolling hills and was an easy to follow out-and-back loop. All the cyclists were courteous and definitely following the race directors advice and putting safety first.
Transition 2 was a little better, except that I had to struggle with the garbage bag that I put my shoes and socks in to keep them dry from all of the rain earlier. I also realized as I was putting on my running shoes that:
1. I brought my new shoes??? What was I thinking? Part of the run is off-road and it was raining! Oh well!
2. I didn’t change to my speed laces!!! Ugh. Oh well, get the shoes tied and you have another thing to work on…
The after party didn’t disappoint with great food from one of my favorite restaurants, Newk’s, and great company from some of the coolest triathletes on the coast in my opinion! The awards were really cool, colorful custom-made alligators that I was proud to be a recipient of. The team represented well and took the top 5 overall slots with many others placing in their age groups and winning the fastest splits for the swim, bike, and run!
Overall, Traditions Triathlon is a great early season race that I highly recommend - perfect venue, affordable, well directed and supported, great awards and fun after party. Hope to see you next year!
Thank you to Run-n-Tri for your hard work and for supporting the Sister CHAIN Tri Team, as well as the volunteers and cheerleaders that make the day for all the athletes.
Thank you to our sponsors that believe in our commitment and dedication to the multisport community, ProCycle and Triathlon, Santa Rosa Island Triathlon, Tropical Smoothie Cafe - Pensacola, Run-N-Tri, Bieneville Orthopaedic Specialists, Mindi Straw Custom Embroidery.
1 – Katya Karpitskaya (1st Overall Female)
2 – Cicely Wallis (1st 35-39 AG)
3 – Amy Stanfield (1st Masters)
4 – Christine Bosau (1st Grandmasters)
5 – Candice Taylor (2nd 35-39 AG)
8 – Rebecca Wein (1st 40-44 AG)
26 – Palmer Waechter (1st 13-19 AG)