Saturday, June 25, 2011

Some Love for the Little Races

Thanks for letting me vent on the last post, and thanks for all the very thoughtful and interesting replies. That was some good ol' fashioned virtual conversation, there. I hearts the internets.

Anyway, since I was Little Miss Pissypants in my last post regarding Ironman Wall Street (borrowed that term from a friend--I think it fits pretty well!), I thought I'd take a second to give some love to the little races. Local tris are really, for me, the spirit of triathlon. The ones where you can just drive right up and park next to transition...where nervous newbies rack mountain bikes...where the RD is walking around with you to make sure everything's a go. Aside from being significantly cheaper, these races just have a feel-good vibe about them that is, in my humble opinion, everything that tri should be about. I love love love that my teammate, TriCajun, puts on a local race in Louisiana, and really wish I could get down there. This is the first year in quite a few I haven't been able to make WIBA, which is another example of the spirit of triathlon wrapped up in the most fun weekend you'll have with friends. The spirit is still out there, my friends. Don't lose hope yet.

That being said, there's a few fabulous races here that I'm planning on doing. Rick puts on some great races at NCN and even has the coolest policy ever: volunteer for a race, and earn a free race entry. He even has a race transfer policy that is pretty much awesome: if you get hurt or sick, you can do another one of his races ANYTIME. So last year, right about this time, I had my almost-a-stress-fracture-holy-crap-now-what?! situation and I had to back out of the Huntington Triathlon. I was super bummed, but I knew that at least I could transfer my race entry to another NCN race. I was planning on cheering on the EvoKids anyway, so Rick said, hey, how about you volunteer and earn another race? Bonus! So I'll be cashing in on both of those races this year! I will be doing the Huntington Sprint and the Lorain Tri--probably the Olympic, but we'll see how things go.

(Side note: My hamstring issues are slightly better, but still not great, so I'm trying to take it easy. Lifetime should be quite interesting, seeing as I haven't ran more than 5 miles since the marathon! All in favor of rolling the dice raise your hands!)

Another super awesome top-notch race is the Greater Cleveland Triathlon. This race pretty much is everything I heart about triathlon. A kid's race, a sprint, and an olympic in a beautiful beach east of C-Town with a very hometown, newbie-friendly vibe. Plus, the RD Mickey is one of the coolest guys ever. The run is an out-and-back so you can see all your buddies, which is always fun. I did the sprint last year and am hoping to do it again this year, but it's the day of Matt and my 7th anniversary (awwww!) so I'm not exactly sure what our plans are. Nonetheless, it's a FABULOUS local race and another example of what the sport should be about.

This August is also my 10th anniversary of doing my first tri. I can now say I've been in this sport a decade. What started as almost a dare between two college buds became quite a lifestyle change that led to me dropping about 35 pounds, getting healthy, and meeting some of the coolest people in the universe. Although I may not be crazy about all the directions the sport is going, I give a standing ovation to the local races and all the triathletes out there giving it their all, no matter what they ride, what shoes they are wearing, or what compression socks they might have.

So even if you're doing a big huge race, be sure to give the local guys and girls some love. Volunteer. Race. Cheer. Bring your kids and show them what a triathlon's all about. Spread the tri-love. I look forward to being in this sport for at least 18 more decades and hope you will, too.


Janet Edwards said...

I have a lot of love for the little races. Huge props locally to the many RDs that are really going above and beyond!

Mickey & GCT obviously rock and NCN rocks for your noted reasons. I also have mad respect for Champ and HFP. I love doing these local races, paying less and seeing all my local buds there!

Cass said...

Love this post! I love the atmosphere at the local races.