Cayuga Lake Triathlon: A Year and Some Change

The Cayuga Lake Triathlon was my first “big” triathlon in 2013.  It excited me, terrified me, and in the end, changed me.  I was hooked. Training and racing for triathlons was definitely for me.

My goal race for 2014 was Syracuse 70.3 in June. A lovely benefit from my months and months of training for a half ironman, was feeling fairly well prepared to handle the sprint distance tri at Cayuga.  I was excited to go back a year later and see where my training had taken me.

Located in Taughannock Falls State Park, the Cayuga Lake Tri is one of the most beautiful tri courses I have ever been on for a race.  The course begins with the swim in Cayuga Lake, followed by a scenic bike ride with views of the lake, and finishing with a run along the lake shore that leads up to the highest falls in the northeast.

Swim: 15:56 (2014), 17:15 (2013)

3rd AG, 23rd Female

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I positioned myself near the front of the swim start, in hopes of getting out quickly and finding open water.  After the gun went off, I was immediately surrounded by kicking and splashing.  I quickly felt like I was boxed out.  What happened to my plan about being aggressive?  Instead of letting my failed plan and the crowds of swinging arms and kicking feet discourage me, I pushed on.  I tried to draft when I could, but before I knew it, no one was around. From the turn-around point to the swim finish, I swam alone.  I had no idea if this meant I was going the wrong way, in last place, or just at that awkward pace that no one was swimming.  It ended up being the latter.  All I knew was, I gave the swim what I could that day.  With that, I could be satisfied.

T1: 1:25 (2014) 1:34 (2013)

My transition from the swim to bike was less than desirable.  I had lots of trouble getting my wetsuit unzipped and spent way too long fumbling around with it.  I somehow managed to be faster than last year, but not by much.  I took a quick mental note to work on this for my next race.  Moving on!

Bike: 47:26 (2014) 52:15 (2013)

3rd AG, 22nd Female

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It’s hard not to be inspired on the Cayuga bike course. The views are absolutely beautiful!  The course starts out with a good climb and continues upward for most of the first half.  I tried not to let my (lack of) uphill speed get me down.  I stuck to my goal heart rate and cadence as best as I could.  Comparing last year’s race to this year, I had the biggest improvement on the bike.  My bike split was faster by over 5 minutes!  I’ll take it.  Oh, and thanks coach!

T2: 0:57 (2014) 1:08 (2013)

Bike back on the rack, shoes and number on, lets go!

Run: 23:30 (2014) 23:50 (2013)

2nd AG, 7th Female

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The out and back course takes place completely on grass and trail.  There is a slight elevation gain up to falls and then you head back towards the finish.  I wore my Saucony Kinvara trail shoes, in hopes of getting a little more grip on the grass and trail surfaces.  I definitely felt like these were a good choice.

With most of my athletic experience being in running, I really tried to push myself on the run.  Luckily, a good portion of the course is nicely shaded, which worked in my favor.  I was able to pass quite a few fellow competitors, and was often met with encouraging words from them…much appreciated as always!  As a side note, isn’t it incredible to see and hear how much athletes encourage each other at these events?

I went on to finish the race and was pleased with my overall performance.  I had met my goal of beating myself from last year.

Overall Results:

Total Time: 1:29:14 (2014) 1:36:02 (2013)

1st AG, 10th Female Overall

I would say this year has brought a lot of change.  Good change.

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A link to my POST from last year’s Cayuga Lake Triathlon

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