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Oud Gastel: 1/3 of a race report for a 1/3 triathlon

June 28, 2011

On Friday evening after Bram got off of work, we road our rode bikes to Central Station with backpacks filled with wetsuits, bike shoes, powerbars, and tri suits (fancy spandex). We took the train south to Roosendal, the town where we were staying for the night. We arrived late, and convinced the hotel to let us keep our bikes inside in a storage room so that they wouldn’t have to sit outside in the rain all night. Did I mention it has been raining lately? The forecast for Saturday’s triathlon was rain: lots of it. We got a decent night’s sleep and woke up the grey skies and steady rain. Awesome. We had breakfast, got ready, and rode about 7km to Oud Gastel, an even smaller town, which was hosting the triathlon. Many events were taking place: a relay, a 1/8, 1/4, and the 1/3. The 1/3 distances are: 1300m swim, 60K (~40miles) bike, and 13k (~8 miles) run. I haven’t been training much lately with all of the transition in life, so I was looking at this as a training race, not putting too much pressure on it and hoping to get a good work out in. For Bram, this was his first tri and the only he would do before our half triathlon at the end of July.

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One of the first things I noticed was that, at least at this race, it was heavily dominated by men. In DC, there are a great number of women that compete and the DC Tri Club (club I was part of in DC) seems to have close to half of its members as women. I counted about 7 women in the race I was in, but it turns out about 17 (out of ~180) were women. That is pretty low. We brought our bikes and shoes to transition after checking in and got ready to get in the water. No different waves, everyone all together. My swim was pretty slow: 37 minutes or so and I had the fantastic honor of finishing last for the swim! Woo! After the swim, I grabbed my bike and was off!

The bike looked like it would be a good course. Farms, farms, and more farms. It seemed pretty flat and the mist/water from the rain added a nice contrast in color to the green vegetation that surrounded the bike course. I spotted a few cows (and could smell them, too!) and thought I’d enjoy the ride, although I was a tad cold. Then I heard a sound as if there was a leaf stuck in my front wheel, but I knew that wasn’t the case. I had heard the sound before. I looked down, and low and behold, 2.75 miles into the ride, I had a flat tire. I’m in last with a flat. The motorcycle support that had been following me asked if I was okay, which I was. I don’t know what he must have thought having this english-speaking woman in last place standing there trying to fix a flat. I hope he thought it was funny, I sure did. 10 minutes into trying to get my tire off to change the tube, my frozen hands and realization I had never used a co2 cartridge before made me call it a day. I walked over to the guys directing bike traffic and the leader of the pack passed me, and then many other bikers came around starting their second loop. A van came to pick me up and had a guy in it who had fallen after he lost control of his bike once it also got a flat.

Back at the finish/checkin area I realize that when people are finishing the bike course they are taking their bikes to another transition area where they have their sneakers. Somehow, Bram and I missed this part and our sneakers were with our wetsuits in transition 1. Damn! Luckily, I was able to run around and find our sneakers (which had been brought with the rest of our swim gear to the changing hall for pick up after the race). I grabbed Bram’s sneakers and put them in T2, so they were there when he arrived. If I wasn’t going to finish, I was going to make sure he could.

I stood around in the rain and was able to get some shots of Bram on the run. He had a pretty great time for his first triathlon. We, of course, enjoyed the freshly made stroppwaffels after the race! We fixed my tire, rode back to Roosendaal, put on some dry clothes, and headed back to Amsterdam. Take out Indonesian food (so good!) and a movie rental rounded out what was a long, but ultimately great day, despite some hiccups here and there.

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