Another great race put on by Kids Triathlon, Inc. This race was a little better attended compared with last year’s NTKT, with ~750 racers. There were about 350 juniors, which is where our two race. We weren’t aware of this until closer to race time, but the girls were placed in the experienced wave, similar to the X-class wave that this company offers in Houston. The experienced wave went first, which was perfect because they didn’t have the BMX/Mountain bike traffic to contend with on the bike course. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see first-timers out there working hard on whatever bike they are riding, but it is safer for everyone involved to separate the racers who are averaging 19 miles per hour (for example, a 9 YEAR OLD BOY who took junior overall and was a BEAST!) from those who are averaging 6-8 miles per hour. Evie had a good bike, averaging nearly 14 mph, and Addie’s bike suffered due to being in a gear too low for the course and having trouble getting out of it (11.5 mph).
I’ve said it before, but until you witness the organization and love for youth triathlon that Kids Triathlon, Inc. offers it’s racers, you haven’t raced a real kids triathlon! The packet pickup occurs the day before the race to help streamline the race day activities. The goodies from the packet included a coupon good for a lunch, a water bottle, timing chip, swim cap, instructions, t-shirt, ice pack, and various pamphlets. They always have a race expo, where various vendors and sponsors are set up. We were super excited to see “Clif Kid” set up offering their snack bars. These are a new obsession for my whole crew and they had flavor options that we don’t have available in Conway. Also offered was yogurt, kids triathlon supplies, kids biking outfits from a manufacturer that I hadn’t yet seen (Endura–really nice stuff!) and some kids road bikes. These triathlons work in conjunction with charity, the Pinky Swear Foundation and offer a raffle for some really neat goodies. Although we have yet to win, we always bring money for the raffle. Usually, the best prizes include 2 $300 bike shop gift certificates or bikes (I want to say last year they were Felts!), trampolines, and various gift certificates to local businesses. The pre-race expo this year also offered professional face painting, inflatables, and of course, a dance party.
Bike check-in can occur the night before or the day of, although night before is recommended by the race. We did that, and always feel like the bikes will be ok, as they offer security all night long for the transition area. Actual transition gets set up the morning of. This was the first race we had ever been to last year in which we were surprised to find that we would not be allowed into transition to check tires or offer any help. The kids are completely on their own here, which I enjoy.
The girls were with 60 other experienced triathletes in their wave and numbered according to times. After that, they went in waves of 50 by age, youngest to oldest.
The wave of 60 was all out on the bike course before the first young wave was entering transition. Our oldest was in and out of transition fast after the 100 yard swim (50 yard pool, snake swim). If I was to be absolutely critical, I would say that the swim is not spectator friendly. There is no good place to watch or take pictures. We watch from afar and then head to transition. Evie had a good bike, but Adelaide was obviously having gear issues. We have been working with her on shifting, but it was obvious we are not there yet for shifting independently. The bike was on an inefficient gear from the get go.
The run was about normal for both girls. We still have a lackluster run, averaging between 9:30-11 min mile paces. Evie starts running club soon and will be doing that. Addie may be joining her. Our swim fitness practice started and the girls are averaging 3000 yards a week at practice. Evie was in the advanced lane doing 5000 yards but moved down to the easier lane in order to swim with Addie. Evie finished with a time that took over 4 minutes off of her 1st place finish time last year, and took 2nd place. Addie couldn’t overcome the bike issues and placed 8th with a time that was nearly 4 minutes slower than last year’s time. Both divisions had nearly 30 girls in them. Another minor gripe: finisher’s medals and t-shirts nearly identical to last year’s. We like variety as the girls have collected them all. But this company has awesome, thick ribboned medals!
One of the things new this year was the partnership with Clif bars. They gave boxes that increased in size as the podium spots went up, with Evie’s box housing 25 Clif Kid bars! That will keep them going for awhile!
Next up: US Open Triathlon. This race is a combined Olympic/sprint/super sprint & Kids race. We learned from last year that staying in the host hotel is probably the way to go, as the race starts and ends in their parking lot. It is an open water swim on a DIFFICULT course with the potential for cold temperatures, as it takes place in late October. Last year, Evie took 1st and Addie was too young, but this year they are both racing. A lot of our tri friends will be there, so it is bound to be a good time!
Speaking of tri friends, here are several that we seem to follow all over the place:
Upper left: Layne Bale (2nd place 11yo male), Upper Middle: Bryce Baca (1st place 13 yo female), Upper right: Ulrika Brameus (overall SR women’s winner!), Lower Left: My girls watch Bryce Baca come into the finish chute, Middle right: Lexi Harkrider (3rd place 11yo female), my girls, and Layne Bale, Lower right: My girls with Bryce Baca
Definitely some displays of good sportsmanship between these tri friends and others today!