I always enjoy AA Sports organized events. Last year I competed in my first sprint (which turned out to be a Duathlon, thank you algae bloom) during the Wahine All Women’s events in August. The Blue Lake course is the same swim, bike and run set up as Wahine which was comforting for me!
AA Sports are always well-organized, well-staffed and the transition area is very secure. Their race expo is always fun and of course the finish line entertainment was MY favorite band on the PLANET: Hit Machine. They were a great motivation to hurry up so I could dance with my Best Running Friend when we crossed the finish line together.
For the swim portion of the sprint we started in waves at 8AM. I really liked that men went out first from each age group and then followed by women. It kept things moving, not overly crowded and made me feel less intimidated by all the feet and elbows I would otherwise try to avoid.
I do need to note that I felt incredibly out-of-place waiting to get into the water. Unlike 99% of the athletes, I chose (as did my race partner) not to wear a wetsuit. I should have worn one for practice, since I’ll be competing in my first Olympic Distance during Pacific Crest, but rentals aren’t cheap and I am.
Instead I loaned by bestie my tri suit and I stood shivering in a red two piece Nike suit. If you saw THAT crazy lady, well, that was ME. I DO NOT regret it however, it made transition faster and honestly the water was warmer than the air temp. A WIN WIN for me.
As for the swim course I love that I just have to count buoys as I swim. It divides the swim up, mentally, into fourths so you know if you are ¼, ½ or ¾ of the way done. If my goggles hadn’t failed to seal I would have had a far better swim experience. As it was I swam about two and a half minutes slower than my goal time because I ended up treading water multiple times to try & fix my goggles. At about the halfway point I said screw it and I just put them on my forehead and swam a combo of side stroke and a pretty blind breaststroke. But, I made it in and that’s all that matters. I looked like an angry wet cat when I got out of the water, though, I’m pretty sure. If you’ve seen an accidentally wet cat, you’ll know the look I speak of.
Onto the bike portion of the event, which is kind of my favorite. The bike course is flat and fast out and back with a little downhill/uphill right around mile 6. I was thrilled to do the same bike course again and take about 4 minutes off my time from last year’s event. The road is open to “local traffic only” and I’m not sure I saw one single car or truck that wasn’t affiliated with the event. The headwind on the out portion was a little rough, but man that tailwind coming back in is pretty darn awesome. Wheeeee!!!!!
During the cycling portion I felt incredibly safe, except for the one guy with a 54 on his right calf who passed me on the RIGHT as I was already passing a group of three on their left (where you are supposed to pass). Good darn thing I did a head check before I moved into the right lane or I would have turned right into him. Part of me wished I would have made a mental note of his race number, not his age, but I guess being passed (even on the right) by a 54-year-old man was also a little bit of a downer for me. I am a rule follower and might have filed a complaint, but I was too busy actually enjoying the gorgeous ride along the river to worry too much about it in the end. Trust me, the bike course is REALLY PRETTY.
As my race partner and I reached the transition area we heard our friends, Hit Machine, playing on stage so we yelled at them so they knew we were there (you know, because that is important for them to know, right?!) and took off on the run.
The run isn’t overly scenic, except for the last ¾ mile on the sidewalk by Blue Lake. But AA Sports always has great volunteers and TWO (not one) aid stations along the 5K course which is ALSO really nice. Traffic control is always top-notch and we didn’t have to stop except for to grab a quick swig of water.
And nothing beats the giant professional finish line and the really awesome medal we got for participating and finishing. I mean it’s a really beefy medal! I checked out the bling for Pacific Crest at the end of the month and THAT medal is the bomb diggity too, I could eat sushi on it, it’s so big. I’ll keep that in my mind as I am working my way through the swim/bike/run during that event. The race shirt this year is also fantastic. It is a Greenlayer shirt and it fit perfectly. Love the color too.
I also enjoyed the finish line beer from Deschutes Brewery, I’m not normally a beer gal but it sure tasted GOOD!! The ONLY thing I didn’t like, honestly it’s the ONLY thing, was the salad at the end. If I am being real (which I always am), after I swim/bike/run the last thing I want is a salad. (the salad was tasty though, it really was!) A big, giant, fatty, greasy dripping with ketchup and stuffed with pickles on a white bun made with high fructose corn syrup and make your fingers messy from all the dripping burger schmutz sounds a heck of a lot better.
I was happy to eat the VERY salty trail mix, but I needed something more than salad. I did eat some Trail Butter on a roll, but the Trail Butter was SO SO GOOD that I ended up just licking the Trail Butter off the bread and not eating the roll at all. I am not even kidding you. It. Was. THAT. Good.
AA Sports puts on really great events, whether they are multi-sport or not. They are NEVER overpriced, the value is GREAT and you always have a good time. I am looking forward to Pacific Crest at the end of the month and I know it’s going to be just as fun as Blue Lake and Wahine. Thanks guys, for allowing me to participate.