My second Aquabike was on the 18th of June, at Maumee Bay State Park, in Oregon, Ohio. The race was put on by HFP Racing. I have done the Olympic distance triathlon a couple of times and my son did the mini-triathlon there, last year. The course did not change from last year, so we did not drive up the day before to drive the course. We stayed at home and drove up the morning of the race. We planned on leaving between 4:15 and 4:30, so Andrea and I got up at 3am, and woke Logan up at 3:45am. It is a little over an hour drive up to the state park from our house.
I had started watching the forecast five days out, and it was bad, then good, and then bad again. When I went to bed on Saturday night it was calling for 18 mph winds and thunderstorms from 5am to 9 am. Needless to say, I checked the weather forecast as soon as I got up. Unfortunately, it was not looking any better. We were going no matter what, though. The car was mostly packed the night before, and I just had to throw the last couple bags in and leave. I did have three bananas and three cups of coffee before leaving.
We arrived at the park about 5:15am. We got a good parking spot close to transition, on an end next to a large patch of grass. The weather forecast was looking better. The chance of thunderstorms had dropped down to a 35 percent chance, but with 18 mph winds. We got the bikes out of the trunk and started putting them back together. As the sun came up, we headed over to packet pickup. After packet pick up, Logan and I took our bikes and gear to transition.
This race is important to us for a couple reasons. Last year, Logan raced his first non-youth race there, the mini-triathlon a super sprint for all ages. This year would be Logan’s first sprint distance. I did not set his transition area or inspect it. I just asked him are you set, and he replied yes. He’s been doing this long enough to be responsible for himself. We tried to count all his triathlons last fall, we were not sure if he had done 10 or 12. I didn’t even realize that he had done so many. Anyway, with both our transitions set up, it was time for body markings and timing chips. We went back to the car to relax, and I ate my homemade sourdough bread and peanut butter.
About 7:15 am, we started putting on wetsuits and getting our swim gear ready to walk down to the beach. This was going to be Logan’s first time racing in a wetsuit, so I really wanted to get in the water and try things out. I also found out Saturday, when I got home from work, that I had washed and dried my favorite pair of goggles. Of course, I had just given Logan my backup pair, earlier in the week after he lost his last pair. Down at the beach, we walked into the water, which was good and flat, and not as cold as I thought it would be. The warmup swim was good for the two of us. The goggles felt good on my face and did not leak. After the warmup, we looked around and found several of our friends who would also be racing that day. Two doing the sprint, one the duathlon and two the duathlon relay.
As with the other HFP races, the mini-triathlon goes first, then the sprint triathlon and then the Olympic distance goes last. I was able to watch Logan and our friend Mladen take off for the sprint, but I missed Nathan’s start. Logan had a good swim, he was out of the water in 11 minutes, this meant I got to watch him come out of the water. I started at 8:05am, the start was not crowded and the swimmers were all spread out. It was nice to see I had a swim that I was not going to have people swimming crisscross in front of me. As far as the rest of the swim, it was not as good. I was having a hard time getting into a rhythm in the water. I was not happy, but I was not going to quit. I was so relieved when the second lap was over. The swim took me 28 minutes and 47 seconds, a full 4 minutes longer than the week before. I have to work hard on my open water swimming before August.
The distance from the water to the transition is not bad at Maumee, and it is fairly flat. The Garmin had it at 52 feet but it is a little longer than that. This race did not have wetsuit strippers like the last Aquabike. Normally I am good at getting the wetsuit off fast, I am not sure what happened this time. I could not get the suit off very fast. After getting the wetsuit off, I got my cycling shoes on and grabbed the bike. Once to the mount line, I was on and off on the bike.
They changed the bike course last year due to construction and left it the same this year. It is a square with two arms coming off of it. This means you have to do four 180 degree turns on the bike. The first and third 180 degrees are not too bad, but the second and fourth are tight, causing me go off the road into the gravel to make the turn. Logan said that he had the same issue. The roads are in really good shape for this far north, there are not a lot of potholes in the roads, and they have been maintained really well. The course is flat and simple to follow, but the wind the other hand, was not good for riding. The winds were coming from the southwest at about 14 to 15 mph, which meant half the time I was riding into a headwind or head cross wind, and the other half of the time I was riding with a tail wind or cross tail wind. I made up a lot of time on others on the bike, as usual. I averaged 22.9 mph on the bike for a time of 1 hour 3 minutes and 43 seconds, about 15 seconds slower than last year when I did the Olympic distance triathlon.
I finished the Olympic distance aquabike in 1 hour 35 seconds and 42 seconds. This was good enough for first place for the aquabike. Not as fast as I wanted to do it in, but I am happy for several reasons: 1. I got to race with my son, and on Father’s Day 2. I had a good time with my wife and son before and after the race. 3. I got to race with many of my friends again.