I was too excited for the race to just sit around the house waiting to leave. So I left early for the park and got there before many of the other athletes. Helping these three girls prepare for this race was a lot of fun. They each have great personalities and a huge personal drive to compete. For Brittney and Ashley this was not something new. Ashley did this race last year and Brittney has raced before. Madison, the youngest, was about to become a triathlete.
The day was picture perfect with the winds coming from the south making the surface of Lake Erie smooth as glass.
The beach was groomed and ready for the first nervous footsteps of the triathletes, experienced and first timers.
As the girls showed up we helped them get their bikes racked and gear laid out. I pumped up their tires and walked them through each stage of transition. I wanted to make sure they knew how the race would flow. Where to enter transition and where to exit.
A quick picture of the triathlete trio and we headed to the beach.
The girls would be the second to last wave to hit the water. We waited patiently with all the spectators as we watched the other waves start.
If the girls were nervous it didn't show. Sara and I were nervous but also excited to watch the race unfold. The girls lined up with their wave and hit the water.
I watched them swim for a bit and then headed over to transition. Sara would watch them exit the water, I would watch them get started on their bikes. Brittney was the first into transition, then Ashley and Madison weren't that far behind.
Now the waiting begins. 12 miles of biking. How long would they be out there. Would they push themselves like I asked. I prayed for a safe return and no problems. We watched as the men from the first waves started coming in. It was good to cheer for friend who were racing well.
Sara and I waited at the end of transition with the girls family. Each time a bike rolled into the park we strained to see if it was one of the girls. Brittney finally made it back to transition and was ready to tear up the run course. She was back in her element....the run. Like a triathlon rock star she ran out of transition while snapping on her race belt.
Madison was the next one in. She also made her way through transition with no problems. The little girl with a big heart was on the run.
But where was Ashley??? My nerves were getting the best of me as I scanned each rider who entered the park. "She should be in by now." I was heading over to the finish line when I saw her finally enter the park. Whew. They all made it back from the bike. Time to watch them finish this with a solid run.
As I was waiting for Brittney to finish her race, Ashley's mom came by to tell me that Ashley flatted on the bike. Her rear tire had absolutely no air in it. Ashley rode half the course on a flat tire. We never went over changing a tire. What could happen in a sprint? There was a rough, gravely spot on a trail that popped her tube. But Ashley forged ahead and did the best she could on the bike. She's not a quitter and headed out for her 3 mile run.
With all of the girls on the run course all we could do was wait some more. Brittney came in first with a blazing sprint to the finish line. She looked strong the entire run.
Next was Madison with her first triathlon finish.
Ashley made her way to the finish. She even gave me a smile with a half mile to go. She had such a great positive attitude during the entire race.
The race for these girls was all about pushing themselves and getting outside their comfort zone.
For Brittney it was about pushing herself harder on the bike than before.
For Madison....doing something you never thought possible for such a young woman.
For Ashley....Never give up. Keep a positive attitude. Take what the day gives you. Finish no matter what.
The final results were of no concern for us but I still want to brag about these girls.
Brittney won her 15-19 age group. She also placed 8th overall female.
Madison took second place in her 14 - under age group.
Ashley gets my first place award for her attitude. I know she will be back next year.
Congratulation girls. It was a pleasure helping you to the finish line.