Ridgefield, Connecticut; June 3, 2012 – TriRidgefield, Martin Park.
Preparing for the Connecticut triathlon reminded me that who you know, or where you are from, is sometime very important. Even in a triathlon.
Planning the Connecticut Triathlon
We had just finished lunch on New Years Day, 2012. I sat dumbfounded at the island in our kitchen. How could this be? Registration for the TriRidgefield sprint triathlon had just opened that morning. Now, in the early afternoon, registration for this race was full. I had counted on completing this triathlon in 2012.
I wrote to the race director, Evan. Had I understood the situation correctly? I surely had.
After exchanging e-mails over the next couple of hours, I was ‘gifted’ an opportunity to race in TriRidgefield 2012.
Why? Because of my superior negotiating skills? No, because Evan’s wife made him give me have a place in the race. As it turns out, she is a native of Minnesota, our home state.
Pictured below is a portion of the e-mail exchange that took place between Evan and me during the afternoon of New Years Day 2012.
Travel to the Connecticut Triathlon
Ridgefield is a 300-year old community of about 25,000 in the southwest corner of Connecticut, south of Danbury.
Since the race venue was a 1-1/2 hour drive from our Chicopee, Massachusetts house, we commuted to the race.
After arriving in Chicopee via Bradley International Airport in Hartford on Friday night, we drove from Chicopee to Ridgefield on Saturday afternoon to pick up the race packet, drive the bike course, and look around this historic town.
On the way back to Chicopee, we stopped for a lunch of fish and chips and seafood chowder at McGuire’s Ale House in Newton, Connecticut. Upon arriving home, we packed the car for an early departure the next morning and headed to bed early.
The next morning, we awoke at 3 am and left the house at 3:30 am to arrive at the transition area just after it opened at 5 am. 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 miles (800 m)
- Bike: 12.8 miles (20.6 km)
- Run: 3.1 miles (5 km)
The half-mile swim leg took place in Martin Lake. The water temperature at race time was in the upper 60s °F, comfortable – when wearing a wetsuit, that is.
We started on the left side of the beach, swam out to an orange buoy, made a right turn and swam parallel to shore toward a second buoy. After a second right turn at the next buoy, we swam back to the sandy shore.
The bike course headed west of the park on local streets cut through densely wooded, rolling hills. Near the mid-point of the course, where we began the return to the park, we were within one mile of the New York state line.
The course took us into the downtown area of Ridgefield. Following another left turn, we rode back to the park and into the transition area. Despite the rolling hills, the course was fast, with my average speed over 20 miles per hour (32 km per hour).
The run course initially followed the bike course west of the park. After a short distance, the run course split onto a side street to the left in a loop that eventually rejoined 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 of My Connecticut Triathlon
My ‘55-59’ age group for this race was impressive. Even with some respectable personal times, I finished eighth 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 Triathlon Be Without Volunteers?
Volunteers are critical to a safe and organized triathlon. You will find volunteers at many intersections on the bike course; they make sure racers navigate turns at a safe speed or even turn at the correct locations. Other volunteers occupy kayaks and paddle boards along the swim course. You will also find them passing out water and sports drinks at run course aid stations, guiding races at the transition area, and doing various things at the finish line. They are everywhere and highly valued by racers.
Let’s face it, triathlon is not the most exciting spectator event. However, triathlons are an easy place to make new friends.
Joy’s Role in Making This a Safe Race
Once again, Joy served as a volunteer. Her decision may have initially come from a feeling of gratitude for me being allowed into this race. However, in the end, she participated because there was a need and the opportunity to be part of the event and make new friends.
The race director stationed Joy at the exit of Martin Park, at the intersection of Great Pond Road and Highway 7. Her assignment was to direct incoming bikers to “stay to the right”. By doing so, they would avoid hitting the runners exiting the park on the same road.
She also had the critical job of preventing drivers of cars, and one determined RV operator, passing by the park on the highway, from colliding with bikers and runners.
Typical of many volunteers, she was so laser-focused on her assignment that she did not see me as I passed her on my way out of the park or back into it during the run.
- First triathlon for which I entered the race after registration had officially closed.
- First New England triathlon with my wetsuit and Trek bike.
- This triathlon took place on the first anniversary of my first triathlon.
Tell Us About Your Connecticut Triathlon
Have you done one or more triathlons in Connecticut? Which was your favorite one and why?
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