On September 21, several Wild Card teammates, friends, and family competed in Tri the Illini sprint triathlon on the University campus. This is a fun event that is uniquely accessible to first-time or casual triathletes with a cycling background. It starts with a short 300 meter swim in a pool that never gets deeper than 4'-6". The "I'm afraid I will drown" excuse doesn't hold water. Next is a 14.5 mile ride over familiar south campus roads that summits the imposing Yankee Ridge in both directions. It finishes with a fast 5k run with almost zero elevation on campus. Not only do the distance ratios heavily favor cycling, the bike course is distinctly more challenging that the swim and run. The 15 mph westerly wind (blowing mostly out on course) sweetened the pot even more for the powerful and aerodynamic cyclists.
There were 461 individual racers and 20 relay teams. Here's how we did:
(The placements are overall/overall minus collegiate and relay teams/age group. Click links to see individual graphs and split rankings.)
Some notable storylines:
- Ryan and Thomas both turned in sub-20 minute 5k runs, a threshold that arguably separates the men from the boys.
- Ryan, Scott, Thomas, and Ron qualified for the 2015 USAT Age Group National Championships based on top 10% finishes in their age groups. (Congrats gents, and keep an eye on your inboxes!)
- Scott trailed Ryan by just 3.2 seconds over an hour plus (doh!)
- Ron was the top Wild Card swimmer (surprise!)
- Kate raced on a 3-speed townie with fenders! She won't upgrade the ride, but maybe Tyler can get her some aerobars and an aero helmet for her birthday. A new wheelset wouldn't hurt.
- Joel put up a 24.7 mph bike split in the windy conditions, which was only bested by 2 collegiate racers (and no age-groupers).
It was a thrill to be a part of the Wild Card turnout. Can we do even better next year?