My name is Chad Soileau and this is the account
of my swimming, biking and running the Twin Cities Triathlon in
Pineville Louisiana. The distances were 500m
open water swimming, 18 miles on the bike and 5K for the run. I set a goal to finish
this triathlon in an hour and forty five minutes. The swim was 300m
shorter than the Louisiana Triathlon but the bike and run were
almost exactly the same distances so I didn't see any reason why
1:45 wasn't unattainable.
Beth and I woke at 4AM to make the trip to
Pineville on Saturday morning. I actually woke at 2AM and tossed and
turned in excitement of the coming day. I prepared my gear the night
before so all I had to do was hop out of bed, throw on my swimming
clothes and hit the road. Race nutrition is still an issue with me
and although the meds that the doc gave me have really helped I
still am a little leery of what I eat pre-race. I ate a rice crispy
bar and half of a grapefruit along with a couple big glasses of
water. We loaded everything up and were out the door by 4:30AM.
As we drove north up highway 71, somewhere around
Bunkie, the sun started to peek over the horizon of the crawfish
fields. They seemed to stretch on and on as far as the eye can see. The
sunrise today brought back memories of my morning runs along the
levee in Baton Rouge preparing for the Mardi Gras Marathon. I guess
I'll have to admit that one of the greatest perks about my new
lifestyle is I have had the pleasure of seeing more sunrises in the
last year than I have in the previous 35 years of my life.
We arrived at the race site at 6:45AM. I picked
up my packet and with Beth's help, hauled all my gear to the
transition area. I was pleased to hear that the temperature in the
lake was 75 degrees which meant WETSUIT LEGAL! Any help in the swim
for me is a good thing and wearing my wetsuit, although it restricts
my breathing, is a good thing because of the great buoyancy it
I slowly unpacked my gear and arranged everything
in my transition area. I chuckled at the amount of gear that I had
laid out compared to some of the other 'minimalists' around me.
Beth called me a 'DIVA' because it seemed like I had 50% more
'stuff' than everyone else and a change of clothes for each event. I
figure you can't have enough 'stuff' and if someone forgot something
some see me and I probably brought it. Hey, I even managed to
remember to bring my earplugs this time.
I chatted with the other BR Tri members for a
little while before the race director announced a 15 minute warning
for the race start. I was in the first wave today and I wanted to
get a quick warm-up swim in to test the water. I slowly shuffled down
the boat ramp into the drink and dunked myself to start getting
accustomed to the cold. 15 seconds of uncomfortable coldness and I
was nice and warm as I swam 50 yards to the first buoy and back.
By the time I got back to the boat dock it was
time to start the race. The race director called out the last minute
instructions for the race and counted down from 10. GOOOOOOO! The Twin
Cities Triathlon was on.
The route to the first buoy was crowded and I was
in the thick of lots of bodies. I kept feeling a hand touch my foot
on the way to the first buoy. I'd try to move over to the right a
little and let the guy go around me but when I'd move right, he'd
move right. When I'd move left, he'd move left. I dunno if he
thought it would be a good idea to draft off me but little did he
know that I was a terrible swimmer. Just after we passed the first
buoy he made his move and I unfortunately clocked him with my foot.
I felt goggles so I know I must have hit him in the head. Sorry
buddy. I kept a good pace throughout the swim, breathing as easy as
I could and sticking with the freestyle crawl for almost the entire
distance. This is the first time that I did breaststroke not to rest
but to navigate. I found myself drifting off course a couple times
during the race but doing breaststroke for a few strokes seemed to
put me back on track. Swimming is never easy for me but I must say
that THIS swim was a non-event. I was calm and only slightly winded
when I exited the water after 11:45.23.
I spent at least three minutes in T1 removing my
wetsuit, putting on socks, bike shoes, bike shorts and my race
jersey. There was a steep hill coming out of T1 so I clippity
clopped in my bike shoes up the hill to the road. The bike course
starts with a big climb up a bridge over the Red River into
Alexandria. I stood up on the bike, got in a low gear and pounded up
the bridge. The crest of the bridge couldn't have come fast enough
because my legs felt like they were on fire. My speed exceeded 30mph
on the trip down the other side of the bridge as we turned off on
the service road towards ANOTHER hill in the form of an overpass. My
legs were still on fire from the bridge so I geared high and slowly
climbed the overpass at what seemed like 5mph. The bike course was
out and back so I would have to tackle both 'hills' again on the way
back to T2. The rest of the course was very flat. Once again during
this race I passed more people than passed me. I glanced down at my
watch every so often and I knew that my average had to be over 20
mph. I reached the turnaround at 9 miles and started the journey
back to transition. I struggled back over the overpass and picked up
as much speed as I could going towards the base of the bridge. I put
everything I had into going up the bridge, standing up on the pedals
and grunting like a madman to the crest. I picked up some speed on
the other side of the bridge and coasted into the dismount at T2. I gotta say that for the first time during the bike I actually
fast for pretty much all of the course. Maybe it was because I was
passing people left and right on the second half. Maybe it was
because my structured training on the bike thanks to Coach Will is
helping me improve. Feeling fast is good! Feeling fast put me back
in T2 with a 20.2 mph bike which is a PR for me.
With my legs still burning from my bout with the
bridge I shuffled into T2 and prepared for the run. I racked my
bike, slipped off my bike shoes and put on my running shoes and
headed out for the 5K run course.
I had wobbly legs for at least the first half
mile and my time suffered because of it. I glanced at my watch and
noticed that my pace was fluctuating between 8:50 and 9:30. I
finally got my legs at around the first mile marker and I increased
my pace considerably. The run course skirted the lake and ran
alongside a small airport runway and some of it was actually shaded.
It was also a nice distraction to watch the planes take off and land
what seemed like only a few hundred feet or so from the course. I
hit the turnaround point with around a 7:50 pace and held that for
pretty much the rest of the run.
I crossed the finish line at 1:36:13.40 and was
WELL under my goal time of 1:45:00. Overall, Twin Cities was a fun,
well organized race that I plan to do again next year. Beth drove
home while I slept most of the way. I needed my energy because this
weekend marked my first 'doubler'. I did T-Gator #2 the next day but
that, my friends, is the working of another report that I will be
I hope you enjoyed reading my race report of the
Twin Cities Triathlon as much as I enjoyed writing (and living) it.
Best of luck on YOUR life journey!
May you reach all your goals and achieve all your dreams!