Sunday, June 16, 2013

High Cliffs Triathlon Race Review

What am i doing here?
First, i want to say, this is one of my favorite triathlons.  It's my third time doing this race and I loved kicking off another tri season with High Cliffs. It is a well executed, inexpensive race that provides our family a great little getaway.  Appleton is a little town with lots of affordable hotels, great golf courses and scenic with Lake Winnebago!

My husband had to work late Friday night so we were not able to get to packet pickup friday night.  Luckily, you are able to pick up your packet the same day.  Rolled into our hotel around 9:30 and in bed by 10:30 pm.   Woke up at 5:30 and headed off to the race with the fam.  Got to the race by 6:15 and quickly picked up my race packet and set up transition with no issues.  I got into the water for a quick warm up and waited for the race to start. They did the national anthem and then made a deal about it being the 2 month anniversary of Boston. < I appreciated that however I wish they would have mentioned something about the man that died at last year's race.  I could understand how that might freak people out but I thought just saying his name or a moment of silence would have been a nice tribute since they mentioned Boston.  >
Green Caps did Half Iron/ Yellow Sprint

It went.. slowly.  As much as i struggle to line up closer to the front, i really need to start b/c being in the back totally psyches me out.  Being around people freaking out doesn't work for me.  I really need to just be in the front and do what I know how to do.  SWIM!  The swim was a triangle (for both the sprint and half) and you could basically walk the first 100 meters. 

Ran up the hill, the wetsuit stripper stripped me off and I saw Scott/Josh right afterwards so I threw them my wetsuit.  It was a quick decision but thought "i always hate lugging my suit out of transition at the end of the race" so i pitched it to him and made the suit their problem.  I am not sure if that is legal but since there are no awards for slowest triathletes, i figured i was ok. T1 was smooth until i looked at my waterbottle and saw my straw was missing.  UGH!  i frantically looked around for it and finally found it (probably only 30 seconds later) but it felt like a long time  **tip: I put my helmet on my aerobars like a bowl so i could quickly flip it on my head.  this is how "the cool kids" do it but it was because i grabbed the helmet so fast, the strap caught the straw and pulled it out.... which lead to me looking for it.  need to pay more attention!**
Bike:  Unlike a traditional sprint, this bike is 22 miles.  I like the extra distance as it provides a challenge to me.  As before, you ascend very quickly up the high cliff.  (according to the map, it appears it is about a 175 feet ascent within the first mile... talk about getting your heart going!)  I pushed and got up it "ok" with some huffing and puffing.  After the big hill, there are only a few rollers through nice country roads.  The police are great making sure you are safe through the intersections and most of the roads are nicely paved.  Only one section with chip and seal.  It is amazing how that can slow you down if you aren't paying attention!  I tried to push as hard as i could on the ride, taking advantage of little downwards and straightaways.

T2:  Uneventful, no issues

Run: You start the run going up the high cliff another route and man, my legs felt like bricks.  I decided to run/walk... run 3 cones, walk one.  considering i was going so slow anyways, i don't think it mattered much and passed 4 people going up the hill. The hill was probably a half mile. Once you get up to the top, you run on the top of the bluff..  the terrain varies from shaded trail to running on rocky trails.  It is a nice change up from the road.  Passed another few people and knew I had to have a decent pace.  Once i hit the downhill, knew i only had a half mile so pushed as much as i could.  Passed two more people down the hill and told one of them he better beat me at the finish.  Saw the chute and sprinted as fast as i could.  He ended up coming in 30 seconds behind me but shared a high five at the finish.  Fam was there to greet me and I quickly got some water and post race food (hot turkey sandwiches, cookies and bagels).

After i finished, i asked Scott my time.. as I hoped to PR.  He told me 2:11 something.  (Let's backtrack for a moment:  on the ride down, we talked about me trying to PR.  We made a goal for 2:10 (which would have been an 8 min PR, same change as 2011 to 2012), however, somehow, both of us had in our heads that 2:10 was my 2012 time.   After i saw my results, i was so bummed that i THOUGHT i didn't PR and was slower than the year before by a minute.  I am normally not one to care but i tried hard on the bike and run and couldn't believe i was slower.. i thought i must have wasted a ton of time in transition.

Sulked a bit in my head only to realize 24 hours later that I did in fact PR... by 7 minutes.   Did a little happy dance and was proud of my accomplishment!  I should have figured it out since i was 1:00 min/mile faster on the run  and 1 MPH faster on the bike but I must have been too tired to put the dots together.  Either way... SCORE for a 7 min PR!  I love that this race has been my first tri for 3 seasons as i have been able to really compare my times.  It is the same course, same "yard stick" to measure.  This turtle is getting a little faster each year and having fun along the way!  Here's to a great tri season!

2013: 02:11:08

2012: 02:18:07.3

2011: 02:26:13.2


  1. Congratulations on the PR! Sounds like a fun race.

    1. Thanks! It is a well run race and perfect to kick of tri season

  2. Great race! I love small, affordable races and I will skip the big ones just to be a bunch of smaller races.
    It is always nice to see that you are improving with hard work!

    1. thanks. yes, there is only so much allure to big races. nice to change it up