Triathlon Across the USA: State #4 – Texas
A detour through Texas on the way to Massachusetts provided opportunity to spend time with friends and complete a sprint triathlon in Texas.
Katy, Texas, April 28, 2012 – No Label Triathlon, Morton Ranch Natatorium/No Label Brewing Company.
During this time, I was splitting my work weeks between Champlin, Minnesota and Chicopee, Massachusetts. We took the opportunity of traveling to Massachusetts to make a long detour through Katy (Houston), Texas to participate in the No Label Triathlon.
Why this triathlon? Two reasons. First, we were anxious to complete triathlons in as many states as reasonable this year considering that we also wanted to stay in Minnesota during June through August.
Secondly, following the guidelines for race selection laid out in the post about planning triathlons, we chose a location where we could combine the ‘business’ of the race with the ‘pleasure’ of meeting friends.
Travel to the Texas Triathlon
For this race, we had two sets of friends that we were able to be with in Katy. Diana, a long time family friend that had moved to Houston years earlier, was gracious enough to open her home for us to stay with her. Other friends, Alan and Carol from Fort Worth, Texas, were able to meet us in Katy for the weekend.
Joy and I left Minneapolis Thursday evening for Houston. My Trek SpeedConcept 7.5 bike was packed in a Thule RoundTrip Sport hard side bike case for it’s maiden flight as a piece of luggage. Alan and Carol met us at Houston International Airport and we traveled together in the rental car to Diana’s.
The next morning, I reassembled the bike and took a test ride to confirm that it was working as expected. Thanks to a lot of foam padding and several straps to secure everything in place, the bike arrived without a single scratch and worked like a charm.
We spent the rest of the day shopping and touring Houston. The latter included a visit to Baylor University where we spent about an hour watching a college track & field competition.
Later in the afternoon, we picked up the race packet at the No Label Brewing Company. We took a drive around the bike course, surveying it for any potholes, loose gravel, and other obstacles to avoid the next morning during the triathlon.
1st No Label Triathlon
Distances for the individual legs of this USAT-sanctioned sprint triathlon were:
- Swim: 0.17 mile (300 m)
- Bike: 14 mile (22.5 km)
- Run: 3.0 mile (4.8 km)
This was my first triathlon with two distinct transitions areas. For the No Label Triathlon, the transition areas were separated by 2-1/2 miles.
The first transition (called T1), which is between the swim and bike portions, took place in the parking lot outside the Morton Ranch High School Natatorium. The second transition (called T2), between the bike and run legs, occurred in a parking area at the No Label Brewing Company.
Another first for me was that the swim leg took place in an indoor pool. I had reported a seed time of 6:00 minutes for a 300 meter swim so started with a group of people that I thought were of similar speed. The guy in front of me was slower which made for what felt to be a relaxing swim. As it turned out, my time was still 6:00 minutes exactly.
Once out of the pool, we headed outside to the first transition area and our bikes.
The bike course was incredibly flat with only a slight headwind in one short section near the end. In fact, five years and nearly thirty triathlons later, I still believe that this was the flattest and fastest bike course that I have ridden.
Police controlled every major intersection and every turn. The only real obstacle was a caravan of two trucks, each towing a trailer carrying lawn care equipment. However, after following them at a reduced speed for a minute or so, I decided to pass them. Just as I was about to do so, they turned off the course to the right.
The bike leg ended at the second transition area at the No Label Brewing Company. After dismounting the bike, I ran barefooted from the dismount line to the bike rack. Why barefooted? I left my bike shoes clipped into the pedals.
Unfortunately, this 30 yard run was on crushed rocks, a surface that my soft, nearly callous-free feet are not accustomed to. I made it, though there were more than a few utterances of “ouch” and “ooh”.
I started out running faster than I probably should have. Thankfully, the GPS watch made me aware of this and I slowed a bit in order to complete the race with a credible time.
Overall, I ended up with a third place finish in my age group (55-59).
After the race, we relaxed together with a glass of cold No Label beer and some food.
Re-packing the bike and lounging around the pool occupied the rest of the morning and afternoon. That evening, we enjoyed one last dinner together at a local Mexican restaurant. Great fun!
Note: As I am finishing this post a little more than five years after the triathlon, Joy and I are once again in Houston. This time, the trip was to attend Diana’s daughter Christina’s wedding. More great fun!
- First triathlon for which I traveled by air with my Trek triathlon bike
- First triathlon during which we stayed with a friend
- First triathlon sponsored by a brewery
- First triathlon involving a pool swim
- First triathlon in which the T1 and T2 transition areas were in different locations, separated by 2.5 miles