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RAGE Triathlon part II

Wow! Even wearing a wetsuit, the water felt so cold my feet ached. Soon the horn sounded, and off they went. I paused a few seconds to let the crowd thin. I don’t need to be flailing around in a school of piranha.
The swim is guaranteed my weakest discipline. I’ve been training, but my legs float uselessly behind like a paraplegic’s. I could use a trainer. However, Roger and I decided we were competing not to win or beat anyone, but to finish.
The first of three buoys, and I wonder if I can finish the swim. Through my foggy goggles an army of seals gap me, and fewer swimmers surround me.
“Help!” a guy near me yells. A kayak quickly appears to help. Rounding the first buoy we turn toward the second and into the rising sun. Can’t see the thing at all. I backstroke a dozen times, getting a bit of rest. Back to business.
I see the ‘bounce house’ half donut goal onshore. Stroke stroke stroke breathe. Now I’m in a groove, smoothly moving through the water. Pass a guy, then another.
The results show six minutes, eight seconds in transition to the bike. Almost the slowest in my class. A lot of time wasted, of all things, putting on flip flops and removing the wetsuit.
Biking, all right. I should shine here. I pedal up to the highway, and three women, six guys- lots of people- pass me. Remember who you’re racing.
They write your discipline and age on your left calf. I thought nothing of it. Yet as I ride, I catch a woman and I see her leg. That woman is thirty-nine. I pedal past. The next guy is forty-three. What a motivator! The bike section consists of seven hills up and two down, turning back for two up and seven down. There are so many entrants at different skill levels, that the race consists of much passing. I know the run lurks, but pedal hard anyway. I’ll walk if I must. Being a racer, I outbrake three people at the transition stop. But I’m racing against myself.
Much to my surprise, the run goes well, except falling in the dirt. I run smooth and strong to the end, even sprinting in the last eighth of a mile, passing three people before the finish line. But I’m racing against myself.

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