Lititz, PA bills itself as the “Coolest Small Town in America”. It received that honor back in 2013. Since my sister, niece are the coolest triathlon team we figured this race would be a good fit for us. Julie would be our swimmer, I would bike, and Kim would anchor the team with her run.
Completing a triathlon is on my bucket list but, so far I have only finished them as a member of a relay team. Next year I may actually try to complete this race myself. The run is 300 meters, the bike is 15.8 and the run is a 5K. Since I am not much of a swimmer this distance might be good for me. If you are looking for a first triathlon this might be a great race to check out. There isn’t a huge field, and the atmosphere was very friendly.
Location: Lititz, PA
Timing: Chip timed
Course: Pool, road, road
Size: Medium (about 125 competitors)
Pre Race: Lititz is only about 45 minutes from where I live so Kim and Julie came down the night before. They arrived at our house the same time we came back from our vacation in South Carolina. We were all exhausted but we needed to prepare for the race so we ate Chipotle burrittos and Fractured Prune donuts. I am pretty sure that is the recommended pre-race dinner according to Runner’s World magazine.
Kim and Julie surprised me with our wonderful team t-shirts:
Race Day: Turns out the Chipotle diet is not the best choice for the night before a race. Two of us were gastro-suffering the next morning. I think this is starting to become a theme for me.
We arrived at 0700 for our 8:27:45 second start time. There was a ton of parking and it was only a very short walk to the registration table and the transition areas. It took us 5 minutes to check-in, get marked with our race number and procure our timing chip. Once we were all checked in, we put my bike in the transition area and headed to the restrooms.
We were busy wandering around and missed the start of the pre-race briefing. Luckily we didn’t miss anything critical.
Swim: Julie was our champion swimmer. They provided the swimmers with a very exact start time. Julie was 8:27.45 or something like that. The swim took place in the outdoor rec center pool . A new swimmer started every 10-15 seconds to give individuals some space. The swimmer had to go across the pool and back in one lane then switch to the next lane. Repeat. You had to go back and forth until you got to the end of the pool.
There was definitely some congestion in the pool, especially if you wanted to pass. I imagine there were a few head-on collisions (although I didn’t see any). The faster swimmers went first which probably helped the melee. I also saw a few people lose their timing chips (a race volunteer gave them back when you existed the pool). There was a little lip when you exited the pool and one poor gentleman tripped as he tried to run from the pool to the bike area.
I missed most of this because I was suffering from my chicken fajita burrito. I did get to see Julie hop in the pool and swim the first lap before heading to the bike area.
Bike: I have never claimed to be much of a cyclist. I don’t have a fast triathlon style bike. I ride my hybrid. I am not a big fan of going fast downhill (I believe that is a result of a rollerblading accident a long time ago). Bottom line: I am not very good at biking. That being said, every triathlon team needs a cyclist and I meet that criteria.
I liked the course MUCH better than the one I rode in the Ft Ritchie Duathlon. There were rolling hills and a few steeper climbs (by my limited standards). The scenery was mainly farms and corn, but there were some beautiful views along the way. The course is open to traffic, but I don’t think too many cars passed me during my 16 mile jaunt.
The course was marked very well and I still almost made a wrong turn. One of the other riders saw my confusion and pointed me in the right direction.
The volunteers out on the course did a superb job stopping traffic. I have to thank the gentleman that started to hop in front of a pickup truck (it looked like Santa Claus was driving) that wasn’t stopping for me to cross. That isn’t an exaggeration. This guy yelled at the truck to stop three times and after the third time started to move in front of the truck. That finally got the driver’s attention. Thank you keeping me and the rest of the other riders safe. It must have been a long hot day for those volunteers and they deserve some praise.
I did come across one intersection that didn’t have any volunteers and traffic that wasn’t stopping for riders. I did have to stop and wait which wasn’t a big problem for me but it could have been for really good cyclists.
Run: I didn’t get to see much of the course, but my sister described it as hilly and hot.
Below are the official results. We were 9 out of 11 which is better than 11 out of 11. I believe our weakest event was the bicycle. I suck, but we had fun and I would do it again. Maybe next year the three of us will try to complete the whole race.
|RELAY – MIXED||9 of 11|
Post-Race: They had the usual finish line fare: bagels, Gatorade, water, bananas, oranges and granola bars. They had a tent with a few laptops setup so you could check your results almost instantly.
After the race we went to the Knight and Day Diner. I only mention this because we ran into a husband and wife, who were race volunteers, eating breakfast. Volunteers who were out on the bike course stopping traffic. It turned out to be the gentleman who was prepared to hop in front of Santa and his pickup truck. In retrospect I should have paid for their breakfast. If you read this, thanks again and I owe you a breakfast next year.
In an unrelated note, the breakfast at Knight and Day was terrific, but they are missing the NJ staple, Taylor Ham.
Goodies: The technical t-shirt.