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Sanford and Sun RR - lead bike, unicorn, in the weeds
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Never done a race report. Figured I'd write this before getting thoroughly humbled at Steelhead. Very long, for those into that.

My 11 year old has done a bunch of kid tris, but wanted to do an "adult" super sprint. My hometown of Midland had one at the 3D Sanford and Sun race last weekend, so we signed up and stayed with my folks.

The race is 200/ 10k/ 1 mile. My original plan was to race near him, at least during the swim and open-road bike. He's an okay swimmer and has road experience, but I wanted to be sure. He told me to just race my own race and wait for him at the finish - good kid!

I assumed most of the studs would be in the sprint or Olympic, so I felt pressure to win the super sprint. I'd never won a tri, but this seemed like a good opportunity. At the beach start I felt over-dressed in my Team USA kit from sprint worlds last year (not Olympic - those are the real fast dudes). My son asked me to wear it though, and it was only the second time I'd raced in it.

I somehow left my goggles at home - was lucky to be able to borrow a pair from the other guy wearing a Team USA kit (he took 3rd in the real sprint).

Swim - 200 (m? Y?) two right turns and out.

Despite what Kenny from 3D said at the pre-race meeting, I know dolphin diving is faster than swimming. I dove most of the way to the first buoy. I assumed I'd dropped everyone, but I was surprised to find a woman at my elbow. She passed me as we made the first turn and I couldn't even hold her feet. She only put 10 seconds on me, but that was mostly because I'm 6'4" and dolphin-dove about a third of the swim.

I caught her at the transition entrance. Found out later she was a recent Michigan State swimmer and member of our fast local swimming family, so that was a-ok.

I have done dozens of successful flying mounts. This time however I somehow slipped and ended up running my bike into a little grove of wetlands-type plants. Not my finest moment...

I hammered the bike and had no one in sight by the time I came back to T2. It was very cool being the first into transition. Much to my surprise, there was even a lead biker! I told her I was just the super sprint - assumed there was some mistake. But no, she took me out and back and I just ran hard and followed. I hope to experience that in a longer race some day. I was almost to the finish when I saw the next athletes.

Crossing the line first with my parents and younger son watching was awesome, super sprint or not.

My son had a good race - made it through the swim unscathed, solid T1 and bike. He even stopped to help another kid put his chain back on. Very proud of him! He blew up a little on the run, but that is good experience.

In KQ threads I often see people making reference to KQers being that guy that dominates local races. We don't really have that guy in Lansing (or the ones that do don't race long course), but I saw one of those mystical unicorns at this race. Guy won the Olympic comfortably with a 2:01. Apparently went 1:59 last year. Multiple KQ guy. That's the beast folks speak of!

Now off to Steelhead for a more accurate picture of my place in the universe.

Aaron Bales
Lansing Triathlon Team
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