Race Report: 33rd Transamerica Chicago Triathlon


I collected another piece of awesome bling at the 33rd Transamerica Chicago Triathlon know to be one of the largest triathlon’s in the world. Over 7000 competitors over 2 days of racing. It was an amazing experience made mo’ awesome by my son hanging with me and earning his “Spectathlete Badge” and hanging with 40+ members of Black Triathlete Association.


Summary – Best Triathlete Weekend EVA, one of my worst swims, best bike and run in an OLY EVER! Overall, one of my best overall performances. A Happy Camper All Around.


The FireMarshall drove Ms Diva to Chicago and go me there with enough time so that I could make the Friday Morning OWS Practice with #BTA.


That water was the coldest I have EVER swam in. OMG! I was so glad I bought a cold water swim cap and booties. It simply took your breath away.  I only did about 300 and got out. I decided I needed to get some ear plugs and maybe some arm sleeves just to make it more bearable. I found the earplugs but no arm sleeves. I was glad that I brought my PearlZumi Shrug that is fitted, so I decided to wear that on my arms.


Later, Friday evening, Ovetta organized a Pre-Race Dinner at another #BTA members house (FrankW) and it was a blast to meet so many of the people I interact with daily on the Black Triathletes Facebook Page. Just awesome people …at all different levels in the Triathlete journey. Good Times!

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Saturday, I just hung out with The FireMarshall and Trooper Steptoe. I had breakfast with a friend I hadn’t see in YEARS – KimT – and got to see her all grown up kids. I took the FM & TS to the expo and collected some freebies (yeah, they don’t want to haul that stuff home) and then went to lunch. I had the Trooper help me put on my race tattoo’s – he is a pro – and then decided to rack my bike the night before to claim my space and walk the transition area because it looked HUGE and transitions is not a strong suit of mine.

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That evening we went over to my West Point classmate, Walter Cunningham’s house for dinner. Another awesome time! Back to the hotel and I had no trouble getting to sleep. Up in the morning, ‘fo day…I don’t like it…no way. I pulled it together and started the approximately mile long walk from the hotel to transition. A quarter of the way there, I realized that I had forgotten my Garmin – meltdown – called The FireMarshall and had him meet me in front of hotel with it. I got back to transition with 7 mins left to get it all set up before they closed transition. Not a problem since laying it out ain’t the problem. It’s getting in an out  at T1/T2 and not piddling around – that’s pathetic.


SWIM: 1500m - 51:15
Now that was just AWFUL! Just like at when I started. I got in that water- FREEZING-the gun went off and I lost it. I just couldn’t get my breath. I started panting and was going nowhere slowly. To add insult to my misery, I could hear and see Ron and Jordan following along  - Jordan was encouraging (You got this, Mom!), Ron was about to shut the damn race down and have me pulled out. I spent about 400-500 doing some form of front stroke/doggie paddle/side stroke thing…and then something just clicked. I was treading water and I said to myself, “Get busy swimming or get busy quitting.” I’ve NEVER quit anything so I said, “Give me 5 stokes at a time.” Then I upped it to 10. Then I was in a grove and that last 1000 to the finish was just like in the pool.
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I was out of the water!!! It was over. Nothing I could do to change what had happened. I had overcome a bad start, adapted and overcame…now it was time to drop the hammer and see what I could do with the rest of the race. It was 450m from Swim Out to T1. I got nothing but a WOW! It took me damn near 10 min to get from the Swim Out to the Bike Out.


BIKE: 25 miles – 1:36:10 – avg 15:51mph
WOO HOO!!! Go Me! This is fastest bike average I have EVER done in a race. The course was fast and NOT as flat as everyone said. Lake Shore Drive had a few lumps, but compared to the Hills of Howard County, HUMPH. Piece of cake. It was great to see my family, Walter & Eric as I went under the 11th Street Pedestrian Bridge. Before I knew it, I was back at Transition and it was time to run!!
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RUN: 6.2 miles – 1:32:31 – 14:56 pace
You may think that is slow as frozen molasses, but for me – WINNING! Fastest 10k after swim/bike in a race EVER! I plodded along with the first 3 miles under 14min and the last 3 miles not so much. I felt great, pushed and knew I was doing well – FOR ME! I was ecstatic. When you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands and smile pretty for the camera!
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I came across the finish line feeling VICTORIOUS!! I had overcome in the water and left it out there on the bike & run. YES I CAN and YES I DID!! My finish was 4:17:08 and 17 of that was a pathetic transitions. I was 8/13 in Athena 40+ and if you put all the Athena’s together in one group I would have been 16/26. I am happy with that!
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I may not be as fast as most – yet; I may, for now, still be hugging the bottom of my age group; but I sure do make this Tri business LOOK DAMN GOOD!!!