Report by Te Koi Smith
There is just something to be said about your first race of the season. Everyone has to do it and it might be in March at a splash distance while you’re hoping for decent weather (which is anything over 50 degrees with minimal chance of showers or snow), or maybe you wait it out a while longer to finally hop in your wetsuit in late May or early June. If you’re not yet familiar with BBSC, now is a good time to still hop on the bandwagon while there is time before their races sell out.
The Rage Triathlon is a fantastic event where newbies, intermediate and tenured triathletes can all compete at the distance of their choice whether it be a Sprint, Olympic or Half distance, BBSC accommodates all.
The swim takes place in Lake Mead at Boulder Beach and the water this time of year is perfect. When I say “perfect”, I really do mean it. It’s probably low 60’s and the visibility is a good 15 feet. I swim in a full body wetsuit, and I wish I had a sleeveless for times like this. The swim course for the Sprint distance was your usual course with buoys on your left. There was one section when you are swimming out to the first buoy that you are swimming directly into the sun. There was nothing that BBSC could do about that except for start later in the day, so I just used the sun and the feet under the water as my markers until I ran into that buoy and then it was smooth sailing from there.
The transition is SO long! BBSC utilizes a main road that is at about a 1-2% grade and comes straight out of the water and the divide transition into different sections such as “Open, Sprint, Olympic & Half”. Everybody has to go the same distance, but depending on what distance you are doing, you have either have a longer run into T1 from the swim or a shorter distance to the bike or vice versa.
While preparing for this race, somebody told me that while the bike course is not crazy hilly, it’s not flat, but just a gear changer; that really is the best way of putting it. Think of big and short, long and steep rollers spread throughout and everything in between. One second your in your big gear and the next your in a smaller ring climbing up a different hill. The road is a nice, smooth road with no potholes or anything of the sort.
Coming into T2 at this particular time some of the volunteers (who there were many of), seemed to be working on the kinks of their position in the race and guiding the bikers into transition. I was ahead of many, so I can only assume that I was one of the only ones that had the misfortune of missing the turn because on my right side, the road was coned off for vehicles, and no volunteer was telling me to turn right into a different road. As I turned around I explained quickly that they should open up the cones so the bikers know where to go.
T2 is all downhill. Remember that hill you ran up? Well now you get to run down it! The transition area is very wide and allows enough traffic for people doing all distances, which is a nice thing to have.
While coming down the hill out of T2 I accidently ran past the right turn I was supposed to do, again, because the volunteers were not directing people appropriately. I only over ran it by 5 feet or so, so it wasn’t a big deal.
I LOVED this run course. The first part of the run course coming out of T2 is nothing but somewhat packed dirt and it’s like that for about a half mile or so. I had heard that same thing from someone else about the run, so I was prepared to save a little energy so I could focus on the trail ahead of me. The run goes flat for about a quarter to half mile or so, and then starts to gradually go uphill. (Think 1-2 percent grade). What goes up must come down, right? You soon leave the dirt and are greeted by pavement. It is at that time, that I felt like I had my legs under me and I really opened it up and pushed hard, because by this time, you only have about 1.5 to 1 mile left in the run. This is great as it’s mostly downhill and at the last left turn you can see the finish line about 1200 meters away.
When you get to the finish line you are greeted by a dozen or so volunteers doing various things such as taking off your timing chip, offering a cool RAGE water bottle, to various fruits & bagels. My most favourite thing I received was a mini BBSC RAGE Triathlon towel drenched in ice water!!!
I really enjoyed this race and like many other BBSC races, will have it on my calendar for next year. As for bringing any family, I would bring my spouse, but would have a hard time bringing our 3 ½ year old for anything longer than an Olympic distance as it can get VERY hot in the afternoon. BBSC did have a tent set up with some food (and shade) for everyone to hang out in post race as well. It was very well done and fun was to be had by all. As I mentioned earlier, this is a great way to shake off your cobwebs from the winter time or to tune up for one last race before something like Ironman St. George. I’ll be back next year with my family, will you join BBSC and me?
Report by Michael Moody
Normally this race might be the first of the year for me... this year I started early doing two other sprint distance triathlons starting at the end of March. Weather was hit and miss for the first two, but BBSC got this one right.
I came into town on Friday and had the opportunity to go swim out in Lake Mead the day before the race. This was the first chance for me to use my wetsuit this year. I was simply amazed at how warm the water was (I swam in Sand Hollow in St. George the day before and it was freezing) and how clear the water was— visibility was amazing! Did I mention the views? As we were driving to the race location (Boulder Beach), I kept noticing how stunning the scenery was and how awesome it would be to race.
Race morning was Saturday and conditions were ideal! I race in the 30-34 age group and knew there were 25+ athletes in my age group. The excitement was in the air as everyone was preparing their transition areas and getting ready to go. As I was setting up my transition area, I noticed how long the transition was from the water to getting to the bikes... definitely one of the longer transitions. The swim started off with all men 39 and younger starting at the same time. Things went as planned, smooth swim other than a kick to the face where I lost my goggles momentarily. No harm done, got them back on and continued on. I am a slower swimmer, and wasn't entirely surprised when I finished my swim in 16 minutes and change. Other than the looong run to my bike, transition was fairly uneventful and I got started on the bike. The only thing I would change about the whole race is, I would like to see T1 & T2 sealed off so the public would not be allowed to walk up and down the transition area. No harm done, got through it just fine.
The bike course starts off uphill immediately and gave me a good idea of what was to come. Being as slow as I am on the swim, I had a lot of catching up to do on the bike. I had heard last year that their were some hills on the course, and I got to experience them. Lots and lots of rollers, with a few climbs in there as well. The road was great to ride on, and the weather was perfect! I only had 1 surprise on the bike—the bike seemed to be about 13.5 miles. Oh well, everyone does the same distance, so no big deal.
I came into T2 having no idea what position I was in. I had passed many people on the bike, and had only been passed by 1 or 2, but I knew I was behind. As I started on the run, my coach told me I was about a minute down. I had no idea what she was referring to. I had heard horror stories about the run. There were those who told me of the awful footing for the beginning and end of the run. I knew I needed to run fast. I started out and decided I would not look at my watch for a while. Concentrating on the terrain below, I managed through the rocky path & after a half mile, looked at my watch. My pace was a 6:22 min/mile and I felt pretty good! At about the 1 mile marker, there was a much needed aid station with water and gatorade. The temperatures were starting to get hot now! Now the run course was paved & flat—time to speed up! I kept a pretty good pace, averaging about a 6:30 minute mile. I had passed a fair amount of people on the run and when I got back to the aid station, I knew there wasn't much course left. Time to turn it on. I opened up and pushed as hard as I could. I saw 1 guy left with about a third of a mile left... I kept pushing & caught him with about a tenth of a mile left. I pulled ahead and crossed the finish line a few seconds ahead of him (turns out he was in my age group). I ended up finishing second (passed 5 people in my age group on the run).
Right after the finish line, there were plenty of drinks, cold towels (loved those), bagels and fruit. The awards were done a little after that-there were lots and lots of giveaways! It was fun to go back down to the water after the race and just soak it all in. Great race, great venue, great temperatures! I will definitely be back as the race quickly became one of my favorites. If anyone is wondering where to find a great race to kick off the season, this is a can't miss!
For more information about BBSC events go to: www.bbsctri.com