The Swim Segment of Marla's Triathlon
The Swim Segment of Marla's Triathlon

Triathlon: Going the Extra Mile (literally)

It’s been a couple weeks, but I wanted to share a brief (wow it kinda got long) follow up to our biking adventure. After 38 miles of riding, a wipeout and adding additional miles to a triathlon we had quite the adventure.

Getting There

We had a blast riding our bikes just under 38 miles to Marla’s triathlon. First thing in the morning we were questioning the weather as it was looking like rain, but aside from some early sprinkles it stayed nice and clear so we were able to chug along, mile after sunny mile, and enjoy the extended ride.

Right around mile 20 we decided to stop off on the shore of the river that we were riding along and have a nice relaxing lunch. So we sat on the water’s edge, eating as a couple jet skis whizzed back and forth along the opposite shoreline.

After finishing up our Primal sandwiches and a handful of cherries we were back on our way. Somewhere around the mid-20’s (miles) we hit our first non-trail segment. We were both shocked by how much of our trip was able to be managed completely on trails and it wasn’t until we hit our first bit of road riding that I realized how similar trail riding is to highway driving. Although there’s numerous benefits of riding a bike over driving (scenery, fresh air, exercise, etc, etc) it’s funny how they can both cause you to forget exactly where you are. Like driving on a highway we both totally lost touch with the fact that we were riding through city after city, neighborhood after neighborhood. On the trail we were completely segregated with fellow riders and runners, just like on a highway packed with cars. Nevertheless I’ll take trail riding over a highway any day.

Don’t You Bug Me

So we plugged along, a few miles on the street and then back to a nearby trail to continue on our peaceful trail ride.

Our nice, steady clip continued until somewhere around the 30 mile marker when I had an encounter with a nuisance. It’s funny how you can be chugging along, minding your own business and something so evil, so sinister can come along and completely throw you off. Literally.

So we’re pedaling away, me and my bike at Marla’s left rear, with the edge of my front wheel slightly across the invisible threshold of the back of her rear wheel and about 3-4 inches to the left. This is how we typically ride in smaller areas, me at the rear in my “supervisory” position, her at the front, setting our pace.

And that’s when it happened. Suddenly Marla turns around to see what she later said looked like me having a seizure and then….BOOM, I was on the ground.

Scraped up, bleeding from the knee and foot, sitting in the dirt, embarrassed. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve many times cynically contemplated, “how do people fall off of their bikes?!”

But here’s a little lesson for you fellow riders. If you’re riding 38 miles and you hit mile 30 and feel a bug land on your bottom lip, even if it feels like a wasp that’s slowly digging it’s stinger deeper and deeper into your soft tissue, stick to the pfft pfft of trying to blow it off and don’t think about even slightly jarring your head to the left to knock it off because as soon as you do, your front wheel will ever so slightly turn to the right, catching the wheel of the rider at your side, leaving you momentarily airborne with a nice road rash as your prize.

Not that I know from experience or anything :P

Broken…Pride

So that was embarrassing, but the riders about a minute behind us saw me eat dirt, stopped and let me rinse the wounds with their water (we were completely out at this point), which was really nice. We didn’t have any bandages so I first wrapped my knee, which took the bulk of the blow, with Marla’s sweat towel, but right as we were about to continue on our way another kind fellow came riding up and offered his first aid kit. The mid-sized bandaids weren’t ideal, but we made due and continued on to a local gas station for some hydrogen peroxide to later clean the wounds.

We took the final 8 or so miles a bit slower as blood dripped down my right leg all the while my left leg did the bulk of the work. After completing the trail and 3.5 miles on a 2 lane highway, which was just slightly unnerving at times, we were finally at our destination.

I can only imagine the front desk attendant at the hotel when we walked up. “Look at those dirty hippies checking in to our fine establishment on their bikes.” :P

After cleaning up the leg and applying slightly better bandages, we headed out with some friends for dinner and then called it a night so we could be up bright and early for Marla’s triathlon.

That’s It?! I’m Gonna Do More

So the next morning we got up early and headed over to the starting line for Marla’s tri. It was 6:15am, we both had about 3 hours of sleep (tough to fall asleep that much earlier than normal), but nevertheless Marla was excited and ready to do this thing. The tri commenced, she hopped in the water and promptly began…to pass everyone.

The swim portion of this triathlon was in a pool (Marla’s not a big fan of swimming in lakes), so lap after lap, zig zagging up the pool, Marla passed person after person. In every lane she passed one to two people and quickly was out of the pool and on to her bike, earning fourth place in her age range (as we found out later).

The biking portion was a breeze. People were concerned that after riding 38 miles on Saturday she’d be fatigued, but that was far from true as she flew through the biking, passing even more people and coming in first in her age division in this segment.

Due to the pool portion, this tri runs cyclically, so we didn’t know exactly how well she was doing in real time, but it was pretty apparent that she was crashing through it with ease.

After flying in on the bike she jumped off, tossed her helmet and started the run. And I waited. And waited. Marla’s pretty quick at long distances, definitely faster than me, but it seemed to take slightly longer than I had anticipated based on her normal times. At this point though I simply chalked that up to being a tri as opposed to just a run. But then there she was, nearly fully sprinting around the final bend. I have no idea how she managed it, but at that moment she looked like someone on a mission, not someone who was finishing a tri.

But she was ticked off.

Extra Credit

As she trots over to the snack tent to get an orange I see her shaking her head and then I realize she’s actually slightly angry.

It turns out that after making such great time on the bike she no longer had anyone ahead of her. So she put her head down and ran like normal, following the arrows and continuing down the course until she met the finish line. But not in the way she had hoped. She was still on the wrong side of the finish line, which was technically the starting line for the run. She had made a wrong turn.

Apparently there were still faint arrows on the ground from a previous event that, in the heat of the race, seemed to be for her event and lead her astray.

After we got home we calculated that she ran an additional 1.5 or so miles than everyone else. Unfortunately this meant that she placed last in the run portion of the tri, but amazingly enough she still placed 10th overall. And calculating out her per mile average for the run, subtracting the extra distance, it’s nearly guaranteed that she would have placed top 3 and possibly number 1.

She was frustrated, but at the same time I think it’s kind of hilarious. The normal tri simply wasn’t enough for her, she had to add a little bit to make it more of a challenge :)

Exhaustion

I was shocked, but Marla showed no signs of exhaustion. In 2 days she rode 38 miles, had around 3 hours of sleep, raced in a triathlon and was still ready to do more. Me, I was exhausted from the little bit of sleep and, I realized after being on my feet for the entire race, standing on a quite swollen foot.

I had thought that the bulk of the damage to my leg was simply on the surface. Having a knee that looked like grated cheese and would randomly start dripping blood out of the soaked bandage wasn’t all that fun, but in the scope of things it wasn’t that big of a deal. But after her race was complete I realized just how swollen my foot was. The visible damage was mostly centered on the knee, but the internal was solely in the foot.

We were slated to bike home shortly after picking up lunch, but since it wasn’t quite the best idea at this point we hitched a ride back with my parents who were already there cheering Marla on.

There was a part of me that felt like I was admitting defeat by not riding back, and I was a bit disappointed because we were both extremely excited to complete the journey on our bikes, but at the same time my parents were already there and had expressed their willingness to drive us many times. I didn’t plan on taking them up on it, but it turned out to be the best decision.

So now just about 2 and a half weeks later my foot is finally down to it’s normal size and after gently running a bit yesterday I think I’m ready for our softball league. I’m definitely plenty excited to push through any issues…as long as my foot fits in my shoe ;)

The Takeaway

If I can impart any sort of message from our little adventure, it’s this.

Make your own adventures. At times it may seem like things just don’t seem to work out as you planned, but at times the unexpected turn of events lead to better stories than you could have ever crafted on your own.

Sure, Marla would have loved to say that she placed in the top 3 of her tri and I would have much preferred to not have had a swollen sausage at the end of my leg for the last couple weeks, but both of those experiences were part of the adventure and truly events like those are part of what makes a complete life.

So what adventures have you been up to lately? Share your story in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Donna Chazanov says:

    Wowowow! I am impressed!. Big hugs to both of you and a kiss to your booboo! Hope that foot is better by now.

  2. Hey, is that a smiley head cap?