One of the things I like about the sport of triathlon is the ability to race in different parts of the world and this weekend I had a chance to do my first race in Texas: the Rockin R Toobin Triathlon just outside San Antonio.
If you’re going to be in San Antonio during May, you might just consider racing this triathlon. Here are my thoughts on the race.
About the Race
The race itself took place outside of San Antonio in a little town called Gruene, Texas. Since it was a sprint, the distances consisted of a 400 yard swim, a 13.3 mile bike ride, and a 3.3 mile run. All said there were 227 participants, putting it at one of the smaller races I’ve done.
I picked up my packet on Thursday evening at a triathlon store in San Antonio and besides having to navigate through all the roadies that were hanging out on the sidewalk it was pretty painless. I was able to choose our own swim cap (there were about five different colors available), which was a first for me. So that was nice.
4:30 is pretty early in the morning no matter how you think about it, especially when you don’t go to bed until midnight and then toss and turn for those few precious hours.
But the morning came soon enough and since the race site was about forty minutes away, we had decided to leave around 5:45 to get us there in time to set p a bit before the race start scheduled for 7:30. So I did my usual routine of taking a shower, getting plenty of liquid (this time in the form of a Vitamin Water), and had some bread with chocolate peanut butter and a banana.
I finally got to the race site in the city of Gruene, Texas but when I got there and started unpacking all out gear (including my rented bike), I heard the race director yelling:
“THE TRANSITION AREA WILL BE CLOSING IN TEN MINUTES!!!”
The race wasn’t going to start for another 40 minutes and here they were yelling that the transition area was going to close so soon? Well, needless to say, I ran over and got body marked and my timing chip, found some empty space on a bike rack and threw my stuff down before they kicked me out.
After I left the transition area, there was a pre-race meeting (which was way too long in my opinion) followed by everyone heading down to the river for the start of the swim.
This was my first ever river swim and to be honest I was a little nervous about it beforehand because the last couple of years the water had either been too low or too high and made for some less than ideal conditions, according to my brother who had done this race before.
But thankfully, the water conditions were perfect. The water temperature was a very comfortable 77 degrees meaning I didn’t need to pack my wetsuit (although I did see some racers wearing them.
Because it was a river swim, there was a current: downriver for the first 200 and then upriver for the beck half. Lucky, though, the river wasn’t flowing very fast at all and so it didn’t make hardly any difference. The swim start was a staggered time trial start since the river wasn’t wide enough to accommodate any kind of mass start anyway.
Ah, rolling hills. You’ve got to love them. I’ve realized that most races are going to have some sort of rolling hills. Even here in Texas, which is a pretty flat place overall, most of the races have rolling hills, according to my brother who races here, so in your triathlon training, you’re going to want to be sure and include hill training.
The bike course at the Rockin’ R Toobin triathlon wasn’t too hilly, though, and was actually a pretty fun ride overall, especially since I ended up passing more people than passed me! I did, however, really feel the change in not having aero bars, and I’m sure that slowed me down a bit. I didn’t bring by bike from home with me and so I ended up renting a bike at one of the local bike shops here in San Antonio. The bike was decent (a carbon-frame Trek Madone), but it was a road bike and didn’t come with aero bars. Which meant that for the race, I was higher than I wanted to be and could feel myself getting hit by the wind, especially on the way back after the turnaround.
I was most worried about the run on this race; not necessarily because of the course itself but because I was worried about how hot it would be during that final leg of the race. Most of my run training back home is at 5:00 in the morning when it hasn’t gotten hotter than 55 degrees, so I was a little nervous about running in 90 degree weather.
The weather up until the run had been fairly overcast which I appreciated, and it actually continued throughout most of the run. There was a steep incline right after transition and on that incline, I was able to pass a few people and then after passing a couple more around mile one, I didn’t see anyone else on the run until I crossed the finish line.
Without a doubt, this was one of the better post-triathlon race spreads that I’ve been to, and what’s better, it was not only open to the athletes, but to their family members as well. Too bad my kids weren’t there because I’m always trying to sneak them an orange or two after the races I do, and I wouldn’t have had to do that at the Rockin’ R Toobin’ triathlon.
In addition to the normal spread of fruit and water, there were Kilabasa sausage for everyone which were really good. I especially loved the jalapeño cheese sausages.
Yeah, I had two of them. Don’t judge.