Triathlon Across the USA: State #7 – Connecticut

Triathlon Across the USA: State #7 – Connecticut
Sometimes, who you know, or where you are from, is most important.  Even in triathlon.  This was an important lesson from the Connecticut triathlon. Ridgefield, Connecticut, April 28, 2012 – TriRidgefield, Martin Park. New Years Day, 2012 – There I sat at the island in our kitchen with a dumb-founded look.  How could this be?  Registration for TriRidgefield had opened only that morning.  Now in the early afternoon, registration for this race had already filled.   I had really planned to complete this triathlon in 2012. I wrote to the race director to make sure that I understood the situation correctly.  Indeed, I had understood correctly.  After exchanging e-mails over the next couple of hours, I was ‘gifted’ an opportunity to participate in TriRidgefield 2012. Why? Because of my superior negotiating skills?  No, because the race director’s wife made him let me have a place in the triathlon.  As it turned out, she is also a native Minnesotan. Shown below is a portion of e-mail exchange that took place during the afternoon of New Years Day 2012.
e-mail exchange related to the TriRidgefield sprint triathlon

New Years Day 2012 e-mail exchange that led to the opportunity to participate in the very popular TriRidgefield sprint triathlon.

 

Travel to the Connecticut Triathlon

Ridgefield is in the southwest corner of Connecticut, south of Danbury.  In fact, at one point on the bike course, we were within one mile of the New York state line. Since the race venue was a 1-1/2 hour drive from our Chicopee, Massachusetts house, we decided to commute to the race.  Arriving in Chicopee (via Bradley International Airport in Hartford) on Friday night, we drove from Chicopee to Ridgefield on Saturday afternoon to pickup the race packet and drive the bike course. We stopped for lunch (fish and chips and seafood chowder) at McGuire’s Ale House in Newton, Connecticut on the way back to Chicopee.  After arriving back home, we packed the car for an early departure on Sunday morning and headed to bed early. On Sunday morning, we awoke at 3am and left the house at 3:30am so that we would arrive at the transition area just after it opened at 5am.  The payoff? I arrived early enough to get a transition spot on the outside of a bike rack.  

6th TriRidgefield Sprint Triathlon

2012 was the 6th running of the TriRidgefield Sprint Triathlon. Distances for the individual legs of this USAT-sanctioned sprint triathlon were:
  • Swim: 0.5 mile (800 m)
  • Bike: 12.8 mile (20.6 km)
  • Run: 3.1 mile (5 km)
transition area at TriRidgefield

Transition area beginning to fill long after I had setup my space. We arrived at the transition area just after it opened at 5am.

 

Swim

The half mile swim leg took place in Martin Lake.   The water temperature at race time was in the upper 60’s F, quite comfortable when wearing a wetsuit. We started on the left side of the beach, swam out to an orange buoy, then swam parallel to shore toward a second buoy, turned and swam back to shore.
Lake Martin near Ridgefield Connecticut

The TriRidgefield triathlon started with a half mile swim in Martin Lake. Swimmers started from the left of the fence and finished on the right side of the fence.

 

Bike

The bike course consisted of a continuous series of rolling hills following local streets.   Even with the rolling hills, the course was generally quite fast with my average speed over 20 miles per hour (32 km per hour).  

Run

The run course consisted of a loop that led out of the park, along a path of local roads, and eventually back to the road leading into the park.  As with bike course, the course was full of hills making it a challenging run, at least for me.  

Results

My ‘55-59’ Age Group for this race was an impressive group.  Even with some quite respectable personal times, I ended up 8th of eighteen in my age group. This was just one of the many times that I would find my former, and even some recent, views about age and athletic performance to be total nonsense.  

What Would It Be Like Without Volunteers?

Volunteers are critical to a safe and organized triathlon.  For example, volunteers are found at many intersections on a bike course to make sure that racers navigate turns at a safe speed or even turn at the correct locations.    Other volunteers can be found on the swim course in kayaks and paddle boards, at run course aid stations, at the transition area, at the finish line, and at various other places. Once again, Joy served as a volunteer.   Her decision may have been initially motivated by a feeling of gratitude for me being allowed into this race.  However, in the end, she participated because there was a need and opportunity to be part of the event and make new friends.  Let’s face it, triathlon is not the most exciting spectator sport.  On the other hand, it is easy to make new friends at these events. Joy was stationed at the exit of Martin Park at the intersection of Great Pond Road and Highway 7.  In this assignment, her job was to guide incoming bikers to “stay to the right” to avoid hitting the runners exiting the park on the same road. Typical of many volunteers, she was so involved in her assignment that she did not see me pass her on either the way out of or way into the park on run.
TriRidgefield finisher medal

Finisher medal with TriRidgefield triathlon logo.

 

Race First’s

  • First triathlon for which I was granted entry to the race after registration had officially closed.
  • First New England triathlon with wetsuit and Trek bike
  • This triathlon took place on the first anniversary of my first one
 

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