Rookie’s triathlon starts with a bang (literally)

Colleen with her gear all set for her first triathlon. (Or so she thought.)

Colleen with her gear all set for her first triathlon. (Or so she thought.)

Colleen and I were getting body-marked for Saturday’s super sprint triathlon when we heard what sounded like a shotgun blast.

“What the heck was that?” she asked.

“Maybe somebody was fooling around with the starter’s pistol,” I suggested.

“Sounds like somebody blew a tire,” a crew member said.

We shrugged, wondering which hyper-competitive nut had pushed the envelope on his air pressure. It wasn’t until half an hour later, after we’d returned from the first-timer’s meeting, that we discovered it was Colleen’s bike that had detonated.

Talk about a flashback. It was two summers ago, in her first Iron Kid event, that a derailed bike chain led then 9-year-old Colleen to push her bike over a mile before she even got to the run segment. Now here she was at her first “real” triathlon with a flat tire – and we hadn’t thought to bring a spare.

Thank goodness for the guys at the Human Motor Works tent, who just happened to have a bike tube that fit Colleen's bike.

Thank goodness for the guys at the Human Motor Works tent, who just happened to have a bike tube that fit Colleen’s bike.

Before we even had a chance to digest this development, though, a crew member wheeled her bike over to the Human Motor Works tent. Luckily the guys there had a tube to fit Colleen’s secondhand Huffy Tempo. Their cross-examination of Ben, who’d wandered over to see what happened, uncovered the problem: When he’d inflated our tires that morning, he’d been operating under the impression that Colleen’s tubes held roughly 90 pounds per square inch, the same as our road bikes.

Turns out the bike we’d picked up for her earlier in the week had tubes designed to hold only half that amount.

Relieved that Colleen’s rookie triathlon wasn’t ruined before it even started, we finished our preparations and headed over to the pool.

The 300-meter swim was to be done “snake style,” up and down each of the six lanes, with swimmers going into the water every 10-15 seconds. Ben joined the line at about the halfway point, while Colleen and I got at the very end.

She was the only kid in the race, and I planned to stick with her the whole way. It seemed like a reasonable strategy to start last. If that’s where we wound up finishing, at least we could say nobody passed us. Besides, for Colleen, simply finishing was the whole point. As long as we got done before the course closed, time wasn’t a factor.

I’m going to let Colleen describe how the race went from her perspective in her usual Friday post.

But I will say that she did finish, she wasn’t last (I was), and in addition to some fun family memories, we came away from this event with two new nicknames.

Colleen’s is Shotgun, which she plans to paint on her bike.

And Ben, who finished an hour ahead of us despite not bothering to do any training, will forever  be known as “Mr. 90 PSI” by the bike shop guys at Human Motor Works, who affectionately greeted him by his new moniker when we stopped by the store after the race.

Finished at last! (We didn't realize until we got home we hadn't taken any pics of Ben; that's what happens when we don't have any spare family members at a triathlon, I guess Both Bob and Rowan had to work. We were especially grateful to Ben for getting everything loaded by the time we crossed the finish line!)

Finished at last! (We didn’t realize until we got home we hadn’t taken any pics of Ben; that’s what happens when we don’t have any spare family members at a triathlon, I guess — both Bob and Rowan had to work. We were especially grateful to Ben for getting everything loaded by the time we crossed the finish line!)

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11 Responses to Rookie’s triathlon starts with a bang (literally)

  1. bgddyjim says:

    Congrats on finishing… All three of you.

    • tischcaylor says:

      Thanks — though I’m sure you’re wincing about our continuing bike maintenance horror stories. 🙂

      • bgddyjim says:

        Nah, we all learn somehow. I know you just picked the bike up and it’s rare that someone would check the numbers on the side of a road tire… After all, it’s a road tire. This seems it would be a fairly common rookie mistake.

        It’s all for the better in fact… Nobody got hurt, Coleen wasn’t on the bike when the tire blew, and you now know that you always check the pressure numbers before you inflate the tires of a new bike. I love the painless lessons.

  2. Way to go Shotgun! Looking forward to your post! 🙂

  3. my1sttrirace says:

    That’s awesome. Fantastic job!

  4. Jack Blair says:

    Well done guys – keep up the good work and keep writing about it!

  5. good for both of you. It sounds like you had fun and learned a few lessons.

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