I love going to Texas. I was born there, and I love being called "girl" and I especially love the way that drivers in rural areas there pull over the shoulder so you can pass them on two lane highways. I've never seen other drivers do that. As soon as you cross the border back into New Mexico, nobody does it any more.
The only thing I don't like about Texas, and always forget about until I'm there, is the fire ants that bite and sting like hell if you stand in one place too long.
The Hoffman Memorial Triathlon is held at the City Aquatic center in Midland, Texas, and they could give lessons on how to put on a triathlon. I attended this one last year as a spectator, before I had ever done my first triathlon. One of the things that so great about this fast, flat sprint is that it's really well organized. For instance, they have a course that could easily become crowded, but have figured out how to do it so that it doesn't.
The 500 yard swim was a seeded start. Beginning at 7 am (I love an early event!!) the participants released into the pool every 30 seconds, slowest swimmers going first (at registration, you estimate your swim time per 100 yards) About halfway through the participant list, they let the pool clear out and then let the other half go. The pool tasted almost a bit salty, and I was wondering if perhaps they use an alternative to chlorine for disinfecting it.
Other than my goggles going completely insane (for most of the season, they haven't leaked, but today, they were leaky city. I had to stop 4 or 5 times to adjust them) I think I had a pretty good swim. Time: about 11 minutes.
I was one of the first swimmers in the water, (eek) so I got to get out onto the ~22K bike course which is by and large flat and smooth, with just the tiniest undulations. It went mainly up along side a small highway, and then turned and went under, coming back. All turns were manned with police and volunteers, which was pretty nice, and heavily marked with bright yellow arrows that had remained despite a very heavy thunderstorm the night before. Total time: about 48 minutes.
The run is out of transition and then around some walking/running paths. Although there were a lot of different paths converging and diverging, the path was unmistakeable, because all turns were clearly marked with the bright yellow arrows and cones that were placed across paths so that you didn't accidentally go down the wrong path. You did three loops around this area and then ran through the finish line, and there was a total of 4 opporunities to run past an aid station during the run - outstanding! My total time: About 38 minutes (ugh. I'm still apallingly slow, but get a little less slow over time)
When I ran through the finish line, they announced my number, and my name, and then put some Mardi Gras beads around my neck and handed me a water bottle. Yay!
Results: 2nd place, Athena (Husband placed 1st Clydesdale, and Mini-me finished.)
Funky smell rating: :-) No problems!
Extra credit: Really happy volunteers that are super-friendly and seem happy and eager to be up at 6 am, standing out in the sun for several hours)
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