Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tri as we might

FPFJ and Chris cheering Owen on during his swim.

little bikes, little legs, great results

April marks the beginning of Term 3 at school, the beginning of cold, blustery, dusty weather and....TRIATHLON SEASON!  A handful of families at school started training in January for O's "Does Practice Make Perfect?" Science Fair experiment (for which he's competing in the ISAZ science fair this year) which measured training/practice results for running, swimming and spelling.  Since we were all in a good routine with exercising (and TJ's schedule was cleared up, ahem, more on that later) we all carried on with the training with the idea competing in the annual triathlon event.  We participated last year but decided to up the ante and add some distance and a few more races.  TJ and I both did the sprint distance (the longest they offer), O did the intermediate distance, and FPFJ did the 'fun' distance. We joined forces for a sprint relay with FPFJ as coach on wet socks and bike helmet duty.

I'm so proud of everyone who rallied (some 300 participants this year!), especially our friends who swim very well but still insist that they are "not swimmers."  After assembling a rag-tag jumble of unwieldy and half-working bicycles and swapping triathlon-suitable sports apparel we made our way through a few months of trail riding, jogging (me), running, and swimming at the Olympic pool, triathlon day came at last!

Team Jennings with Coach PFPJ won the family category for the sprint distance, clocking in at a respectable 57 minutes. (woo-hoo!) The victory was credited to O, who ran the 4km in under 20 min.  He finished strong, proudly passing people in the last 100 meters.  Good thing he finished so quickly, b/c he had to rush off to do his individual race!  He improved his individual time over last year despite that the had just run for Team J and despite that his chain came off his thousand-pound bike in the middle of the race!  PFPJ had a great 'first' race experience and swam 50m breastroke and then surprised us all with 50m of backstroke alongside his friends little Isaac (the youngest finisher!) and big Isaac (who grew up here but is moving to NYC next week, boo hoo).  He finished first in the Under 8 group (we won't reveal how many were in the U8 group...)
TJ on the Rockhopper - overdue for a new bike and WAY overdue for new tubes on this one!
TJ and I were both happy to have participated, met our personal goals, etc.  He's ready to sign up for another race and hopes that for the next one he'll actually be able to feel his legs for the run.... don't ask, let's just say a big Thank You to muscle memory.  Just yesterday we tried to go for a ride in Chamba Valley but were put off in the first km by a double puncture.  TJ pulled out a 2cm shard of metal (not a "piece", an evil-looking pointy shard) that was in there from a pucture last week.  The bike tube with 5 patches somehow served him through 24km on race day. (There still aren't any replacement tubes, so we added 2 new patches yesterday!)

The race is a fun one, with Zambia-only challenges: a stretch of road that is actually 90% potholes and 10% tarmac), a stretch on a single-track path alongside a busy street, silty sand on tight corners and the simple fact that we share the entire race route with people on their every-day way to work and home with their bikes loaded down with gigantic bags of charcoal, 2m long stacks of wood on their heads, babies on their backs, etc.  The bike route is the best and requires more mental energy than physical energy --you'll end up in market stall, a field of 2m tall grasses or upside down under a truck if your attention wanders! Last year in trying to drive the bike route I pulled the front bumper off the landcruiser after I missed a turn.

O can still beat us both in the 4k distance, by the way....his face gets a tiny bit red but otherwise this distance is a cake-walk for him.  Way to go, people!

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