Can you believe that triathlon season is already here? This weekend I kicked off the 2018 race season with my favorite early season race, the Ice Breaker Triathlon.
This race is well organized, fun, and fast. I love using this race as a gage for where I am at coming into race season. This race is perfect for beginners with its local vibe, pool swim, and early season race date. If you are looking to get your feet wet with your first triathlon or have a great test race to see where you are at coming off the offseason then this race is perfect for you!
For me this race was all about testing where I am at now, and where to focus my training moving forward. This race did not disappoint, I learned a ton and had a blast!
Did I mention, I also won my age group and took 5th overall female? That was an amazing surprise. I was actually feeling a little nervous going into this race. My focus has been on biking the past few months, with consistent strength training mixed in. I have only been running about once a week with the pup and I haven’t swam in over 9months. I knew I would have the bike leg down, but I really didn’t know how the other two would go. I decided to just go, have fun, and use this race as a gage for where I am at right now.
Pre Race Details
Packet Pick Up
One thing I really like about this race is how easy Race Tri makes packet pick up. They have partnered up with Edible Arrangments as a sponsor allowing you to pick up your race packet at the store location closest to you. They also run packet pick up both Thursday and Friday, and if you really can’t get your packet ahead of time they allow race day packet pick up as well. It’s so nice not to have the stress of getting to a remote location during, a specific time window, else risking not being able to run the race!
Another great thing about this race is the on location parking. There are two lots associated with the Fitness Center where the race is held, as well as abundant street parking. Even if you arrive late you won’t have to take a major hike from where you parked to get to transition.
Ice Breaker has a nice late start time of 10am, this is necessary for temps to warm up this time of year but it also makes it a relaxed race morning for new triathletes, as well as a family-friendly start time for spectators. I had a great start to my race morning with a relaxing cup of coffee, foam rolling, and my favorite pre-race breakfast of Arepas! If you haven’t tired arepas grab my arepa recipe here and test them out before a long weekend workout.
The race is well run with great volunteers, plenty of rack space for your bikes, and a hilarious announcer. Be warned, he will read your registration comments at the pre-race meeting, so put something awesome in there!
The swim is one of the things that really makes this a great first-time triathlon. It is a staggered start pool swim of only 300 meters. Racers are broken up into heats based on estimated swim time, then sent off one at a time on a 5-second interval. For those who are unsure about the water, this is great news! No mass start or open water swim to worry about. Did you know that you can even walk the shallows if you want to? Yup, per USAT rules you can even walk parts of this swim if you so desire, just remember how much work those legs are going to be doing later in the race!
Having the staggered start made the swim start very relaxing, I settled into my pace, passed a few people on the way, and even though it wasn’t my fastest time I felt fine with it. Amazing how much your body remembers technique, even if you haven’t been training.
The bike course is a two loop course which is pretty awesome for negative splitting on the bike. The important thing to know ahead of time is that you will start off with a few small climbs, then finish the loop with a long descent, spend your energy appropriately.
Tips for the bike course: practice hills ahead of race day, maintain a quick cadence on those climbs. Tuck into aero on the decent and gain all the free speed that you can, just remember you will be turning right at the bottom of that hill, handle those turns with care.
I felt great on the bike leg of the course this year. I hammered it as hard and came away with the second fastest female bike split. I noticed that it took almost the entire first loop for my legs to warm up, and was then able to really pick up speed on the second loop. With such a fast course it would probably be wise to warm up well in advance of the race.
Cardiovascularly I felt great on the bike and was able to yell words of encouragement to most of the racers I passed. One thing I really enjoy about a loop course is how it keeps everyone together, you get to see other athletes on the course that you wouldn’t see at all on a single loop course. I love that comradery and the chance to encourage my fellow athletes!
The run shares a good portion of the course with the bike, again this is nice for keeping participants in the same area, and is also great for spectators! The run course climbs those same little hills as the bike. Before flattening out then descending back to the finish line.
Tips for the run course: use your energy wisely, keep your cadence high on those hills, walk if you are expending too much energy. Take advantage of that decent once again to pick up on speed that was lost climbing those hills.
My run went well on race day, I definitely lost some time on those hills, but I kept my quick feet and felt good about how I tackled them. What killed me on the run was a stitch in my side that lasted almost the entire 5K. I was able to focus in on deep nasal breathing to activate my parasympathetic nervous system, lower my heart rate, and keep the pace going. While it wasn’t my fastest run I was very pleased with my ability to stay calm and come up with a solution to my side ache issue that allowed me to finish the race without walking.
This year the Ice Breaker added a nice new tradition “Beat The Race Director” If you crossed the finish line before the race director you won a custom “I beat the race director shirt.” This added a fun addition of comedy and competition.
Who doesn’t want to know about the race swag? Race Tri does a good job with soft, gender specific T-shirts that you will actually wear. They also had a cool new concept this year with puzzle piece finisher medals. Each race in their race series is a piece to the puzzle when you collect them all you create one huge medal! I think this is a really cool concept that has me excited to run the next race in April at the Salem Spring Sprint. They also have awesome 1st 2nd and 3rd place medals for the podium finishers in each category.
2018 Race Season
This race was such a blast! It has me fired up and ready to take on the 2018 triathlon season! Next up is the Salem Spring Sprint in April, followed by Utah Lake Olympic in May, Then the Toughman Utah Half (there is an Olympic and Sprint distance as well) in June, and Herriman Black Ridge Olympic (and sprint) in August
If you haven’t already signed up for one of these races be sure to use DISCOUNT CODE: ToroRT10 to save 10% on your entry and come race with me!