Race Report: Tugaloo Olympic Triathlon

Thanks to everyone who helped me out with pictures and video for the banana Speedo video, I appreciate the kindness of strangers!

In one of the videos you can hear a kid go “Oh god it’s the guy with the bananas.” I asked her if that was her kid in the video? She says, “Yes, I’m so sorry, he’s never seen someone in a Speedo before – he kept calling you the banana man.” I said, “Don’t worry about it, that’s the thing about kids no filter.” I told my mom about it and she said, “Did you tell her that was you when you were younger?” Yes, that was totally me.

I talked to a guy earlier in the week leading up to the race who said this was his first triathlon. I gave him a bunch of advice to help him with his first race and what to do to prepare for racing in the rain/wet conditions because it was forecasted to rain at that point in the week (but it didn’t). The guy says “I heard lube is very important, I didn’t know what to use. I’d use PAM cooking spray.” Oh sweet summer child, bless your heart. I told him a few things he’d need besides glide so go to podium multisport or all3sports, whichever was closest. He came over and talked to me after the race and said the advice was a great help. He couldn’t wait for his next one. I’m glad I could do my part and get someone new into the sport.

I made my all3sports team shirt into a cut off after having a BBQ pork sandwich fall apart and land on my stomach at Riverbluff Triathlon three weeks earlier. I purposely cut the bottom shorter than they used to too to exaggerate the character’s wardrobe. No sleeves, although I saw tons of Google image results of crop tops with sleeves. I really wish I still had my dad’s old Spuds McKenzie shirt but it fell apart at the seams years ago—it would have been perfect.

I was almost late to the start of the race because of the log jam at the toll booth. They were having you pay for parking and then pick up your packet there. Even if you had picked up you packet from all3sports earlier in the week it wouldn’t have got you through that line any quicker. It added 49 minutes to my trip according to Waze. 

I had about 10 minutes to get from my car and to transition almost half mile away then to the race start. I’ll spare you the details about the deuce, but I went with what was the best option at the time albeit unconventional. I set up everything on my P5 before even taking it off the rack to save time.

Once I got out of the gravel parking  lot I hopped on the P5 and rode to transition which was kind of awkward carrying my gear bag because it threw off my already poor balance. It did help that I had to do shifting because it wasn’t a flat ride. It was 7:55 when I set up transition. I finished at 7:58 and ran over to the race start getting there at 8:00. I got spared a couple extra minutes because Jim Rainey knew people were running late, which gave me a chance to talk to some people.

So about the race itself:

I grabbed a different set of goggles than last time but the nose piece comes out of the socket bracket and I forgot that but it stayed in for the whole swim. The first 200 yards of the swim you could taste the muddy water. I tucked in on some guy’s hip and drafted most of the time. I have been doing that a lot this year because why do all the fucking work myself, everyone likes a free ride. Right before the swim finish there was this big floating PVC pipe. I guess it’s to separate the part you can swim in for park visitors. I had to roll my fat ass over top of it and swim the remaining 50 yards to the swim finish.

Early on in the bike, like at mile 2, a squirrel darted out in front of me and I ran him over. I swear we looked at each other for a brief moment and I telepathically told the squirrel “DON’T DO IT LITTLE BUDDY, YOU’RE NOT GONNA MAKE IT!” The guy riding behind me said it was twitching when he passed. I stopped back after the race and he was dead. Bike was okay though, I got it checked out on the way home.

The course was one of the hilliest I’ve done all year. Well fuck they’ve all been hilly outside of Miami. I kind of always zone out on the bike by picking a topic and using it as a writing prompt to tell a story. I can occupy myself for a whole Ironman if I had to, but today it was just 42k. The bike was a lot more comfortable on the P5 than the Schwinn. My power meter didn’t pick up unfortunately but it’s not like I cared too much at my power output because I wasn’t taking this race too seriously.

There was a couple of women in an Ford Explorer that honked and rolled their window down to cat call me as they passed. Something that sucked was traffic would get backed up ahead of me because they couldn’t pass the other triathletes. So that was kind of dangerous, especially with that Ingles grocery store 18 wheeler—that one made me pretty nervous. I almost missed a turn too because of a back up of cars at one intersection and it hid the sign to turn, I had to weave in between two cars to be able to get on the left hand side to make the turn. 

I was really popular with the ladies out there on the run course again. Not gonna lie, there were a few I thought were smokin’. There was another gay dude who told me I had a nice ass again too. There’s actually a really good picture of it taken in transition, I made it the cover of this race report. I bet it would look good in my online dating profile if I try again—I gave up on online dating because it had been a complete dumpster fire and a waste of my time. It’s another story for another day, well, several stories. I’ll give you one: I actually went on first dates with two different women that I went on first dates with in like 2015 and had no memory of it thanks to my TBI…they still knew though, my number was still on the one woman’s phone still, and that wasn’t even the strangest shit. Starting over sucks.

The run course was just as hilly as the bike course and weaved through Tugaloo State Park—it was one ugly fucking course on paper too. It was a whole bunch of loops and turnarounds.

Even though I haven’t taken these races very seriously for the past two I’ve probably had the best pacing I’ve ever done in 7 years without over-cooking my legs on the bike or running out of gas at the end. If I ever get my speed and power back I’d actually be a much more complete triathlete.

When I hit the last turn off the main road I found the last gear and hauled ass to the finish. Again, I don’t know what my time was and I really don’t care because it was all about having fun.

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