I don't remember many details about that first race- the bike course is beautiful and I remember just being so happy out there, and I remember how glad I was to have finished. And I learned - the only 2 pieces of "gear" that I consider absolutely essential are a neoprene strap for my chip (the hospital bracelets some races use cut into my ankle) and a race belt (no more pinning my number onto my shirt and pulling it on after the swim). And, I wanted to do it again! And faster!
Today, I did the Enka Tri for the 3rd time, and it's still one of my favorites. The course is still beautiful, and Glory Hound and Set-Up do a great job. In fact, this year I joined Glory Hound's "registration team" because they do so many of my favorite events.
I haven't been training as much this year as I had last year, so I really wanted to just enjoy it and not put too much pressure on myself. And I think I did that.
I usually don't remember the course clearly enough to write a good description, but lots of people were asking me about the bike course before the race started, so I'm going to try.
The water was warm but not hot, and the air was cold, so I was kind of freezing before the start. I spent the last few nervous minutes chatting with some great gals from Greenville. The lake is beautiful and clean. It was a bit foggy and hard to see the far-off buoys, but there were lots of kayaks to keep us mostly on course. I managed not to get kicked much and stay pretty straight, and I was only slightly slower than last year.
The course description says "rolling hills." Let's just say that's a relative term. If you're used to riding in western NC, or even in Greenville, it's not extreme at all. But there are definitely some challenging climbs and if you're from somewhere flat you might want to find a few bridges. There are basically 5 big hills that I remember, with the worst ones being close to the lake (ie at the very beginning and towards the end). I pushed hard on the hills and descended as fast as I could make myself and ended up basically the identical bike split to last year.
The run is mostly relatively flat and shaded on the path around the lake... except for the same big hill as at the beginning of the bike course. At about the 1 mile point, the route goes off the path and up the hill for a loop in the neighborhood before returning to the trail. That hill is super tough running or on a bike, but it doesn't last forever. Again, just a little slower than last year.
So overall, I was about 1:30 slower than last year and I really enjoyed myself. And I was 2nd in my age group!