The Nobleman Triathlon: View from the sidelines

The small but seasoned contingent of sprint entrants prepare for the start of the 750-meter swim. Ben is one of the only folks not in a wet suit or triathlon suit.

The small but seasoned contingent of sprint entrants prepare for the start of the 750-meter swim. Ben is one of the only folks not in a wet suit or triathlon suit.

This is the second weekend in a row I’ve spent on the sidelines of a race: the Nobleman Triathlon at Chain o’Lakes state park near Albion, Ind.

One of the top finishers in the Olympic distance race exits the water.

One of the top finishers in the Olympic distance race exits the water.

In all honesty, I would’ve had a tough time with this race, even if I was fully recovered from this hamstring strain that continues to bedevil me. This is a challenging course for beginners, with a 750-meter open-water swim and an extremely hilly 12-mile bike course. The trial run was fairly flat but a bit long for a sprint at 3.8 miles.

Equally intimidating was the fact that it was a small field of mostly veteran athletes. My son Ben usually beats me in a sprint triathlon by a good 20 minutes or so, but in this race he spent some time in last place before making up ground on the trail run.

But it’s a beautiful park – home to both the Huff 50K and the Indiana Trial 100 – and the atmosphere was casual and friendly, which is what we’ve come to expect from a Veep Races event. Ben was a bit disappointed there was no gourmet food truck — I suspect that detail was inadvertently left on the website from last year’s inaugural event — but there was plenty of food: Subway subs and watermelon, chips, cookies, etc.  He thought the shirt was cool and was pleased and surprised to come away with a pair of racing socks, which sport the logo of the Huff 50K.

I’d like to come back and try this one next year, which means I’m going to have to really work on my swimming and cycling. Ben said he’s like to give it another shot as well. Hopefully by then, the third year for this event, attendance will grow a bit. (Worst case, with at least some folks competing in an Olympic distance race, there might still be a few people out on the course so that I don’t feel like I’ve kept everyone waiting too long.)

Ben exits the transition in last place after a challenging ride on his vintage Schwinn road bike.

Ben exits the transition in last place after what may have been his most challenging cycling experience ever.

By the finish, he'd passed two runners who'd had a decent lead on him and came within 400 yards of a guy on a triathlon team.

By the finish, he’d passed two runners who’d had a decent lead on him and came within 400 yards of a guy on a triathlon team.

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