We both woke up relatively easily and started to get ready. I put my tri top and tri shorts on while Mike was in the bathroom and then we switched. Since we had already racked our bikes the night before all we had to bring with us was our transition bags, wetsuits, bag full of water bottles and two gallon jugs of cold water.
We checked out of the hotel and made the 10 minute or so drive to Seneca Lake State Park where the transition area was staged for the race. Since we pre-purchased parking passes we were able to get into the park quicker than those who hadn't.
Where our day would start
First up was getting body marked, which didn't take much time at all. Then we went into the transition area and we were reunited with our bikes. They were a little wet from sitting there over night, but not too bad. I didn't have my phone/camera with me while we were setting up but I basically had all my cyling gear, running gear and lots of water bottles and nutrition with me.
Mike and I finished setting up and then I went to the bathroom in the transition area port-a-potty. Mike decided to leave the transition area and then that's when I saw Amber and Greg. After I got Mike's attention we were all together and Mike and I started to get our wetsuits on. We had decided last minute that we would wear them after all (the lake temperature was above 70 degrees but still wetsuit legal).
This series is funny, Mike tried to put his wetsuit on OVER his shorts
Ready to do this thing!
After the wetsuits were on, we all walked over to the start of the swim. There was a moment of silence for a Mini-Mussel race participant who had crashed into the back of an SUV on the bike course and had unfortunately passed away from his injuries the day before. In the 10 years of Musselman it was the first death (Yes, it was and still is sad but no it did not rattle us at all).
My swim leg was to go off at 7:07am and Mike's was to go off at 7:12am. After a few last minute encouraging words, and a sign, from Amber and Greg we walked over to the swim corral.
There were funnier photos before this one, ha!
Mike is ready to swim!
Mike LOVES Grumpy Cat, so this was perfect
The first wave went off at 7:00am and then my wave (third), started to get ready to enter the water. Mike and I exchanged a quick kiss and said good luck to each other, we knew we would see each other one more time on the course, and then we went our separate ways.
I walked into the water and it was pretty rocky. The start was at a beach in the park and then we walked out a few hundred yards to the start buoys. I saw my friend, Solveig, who had accompanied me on my 60 mile ride on the course a few weeks ago and wished her luck. I lined up right at the front of the pack and made small talk with people around me. We couldn't really hear the announcer and joked that all of a sudden we would be starting.
Then we heard him counting down, "9, 8, 7..." and we knew it was time. When the horn sounded I hit my regular watch, and then I hit it again because I thought it hadn't started so my watch said 1 second, ha.
I think I started out a little wide in the beginning but quickly got closer to the buoys. The 1.2 mile course takes you out into the deep water of the lake and then you turn left and then another left toward a canal.
I just focused on smooth strokes and breathed as much as I could. Pretty soon after the first buoy I started to pass green caps (second wave). I even passed a few orange caps (self-selected elites). I knew I wasn't first but I was pretty close to the front.
I made the second turn and we were swimming right into the sun. I saw a ton of swimmers and I could just make out a buoy in the far distance. When I got to that buoy I knew that I didn't have much more to go since it was the first buoy for the sprint distance. I started to pick off even more green caps, and a few of them got in my way, and saw people standing and cheering on the sidelines.
Another funny sign
When we entered the canal, it was hot and there was a lot more seaweed to swim through. I knew I didn't have much longer to go and I kept on focusing on the finish, for the swim anyway. After getting "stuck" in the seaweed a few times and swimming by some boats, I saw the buoys for the swim exit.
1.2 miles down, 69.1 to go
I swam as far as I could up the ramp where the swim exit was and stood up. I smiled as soon as I saw Amber and Greg and Amber screamed, "you did it!" I started to get my wetsuit off as I ran into transition.
I took it slowly going into transition since the grass was wet, Mike told me that he slipped a little bit, and then found my transition area. I got my wetsuit off quickly (Mike struggled a bit with this) and then I saw Amber off to the side. She told me I was the 12th yellow cap! Then she said that Mike was coming out of the water.
I was able to get my cycling shoes, GPS watch and helmet on quickly and since all of my water and nutrition was already on the bike, I didn't wait to see him. I knew I would see him, briefly, on the course.
I grabbed my bike and ran out of there. I was about to embark on the next 56 miles of my day.
Swim Leg (1.2 Miles) - Jamie: 32:18, Mike: 28:49
Transition 1 - Jamie: 2:19, Mike: 2:38