Hyannis Sprint Tri I: Before the Start

Hyannis Tri Race RecapWell, the good news is my first triathlon is in the books!  I didn’t get eaten by a shark, I didn’t drown and I didn’t fall of my bike.  The bad news is I did come a little closer to one of those three things than I would have liked – but more on that later!

Since I know there are a few of you who are thinking about doing a triathlon, I’m planning on giving a detailed recap of race day in 2 parts (before the race and the actual race) and I’ll also do a separate post along the lines of “lessons learned and tips”, so if you have any specific questions on doing your first tri please feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

For this race packet pickup was offered on Friday afternoon or you could get your stuff Saturday morning before the race.  Pat and I opted to take a drive over on Friday afternoon to get an idea of how far it was and to sort of get a lay of the land.  We were both a bit nervous so it was helpful to get to take a look at everything before race morning!

We ran from the car to the registration tent between downpours and were quickly able to grab our stuff and take a quick look around.

Hyannis Tri Registration

Registration Tent in the Parking Lot

For a triathlon your packet includes not only a bib number, but a number for your bike and a swim cap.  (*Newbie Note: The color of your swim cap correlates to your swim wave start (for most races).  Pat and I both had green swim caps – from a quick look at the race information green was both “first timers” and “elites”…guess which we were.)

Hyannis Tri Bib

This is my hair on humidity. And rain. And wind. And misty grossness.

After scoping out the area we grabbed a bite to eat and headed home to gather and double check all our race stuff and get a good night’s sleep.  (And by “good night’s sleep” I mean four and a half hours since the hockey game did not want to cooperate and went to a double overtime.  Awesome.)

Race morning I rolled out of bed and I’m pretty sure the first words I said to Pat were, “Swim. Bike. Run. Nap.”  Four hours of sleep was not a good first time triathlete plan.

We arrived at the race start at 6am.  The first order of business was picking up our ankle timing chips.  (*Newbie Note: unlike a running race there is no chip on the back of your bib or for your shoe – duh, you don’t wear shoes for the swim!  But you will be given a timing chip with an ankle strap.)

Hyannis Tri Ankle Tag

Ankle Strap Pick Up

We entered the transition area and scouted out a good, easy to locate place to set up all of our stuff.

Hyannis Tri Transition Area

Transition Area

Since it was raining on and off instead of actually unpacking my stuff and setting it up on a small towel like I had planned, I opted to just sort of organize it in an “easy to find way” in my bag so that it wouldn’t end up too wet.

For the swim I had my wetsuit, goggles and swim cap and for the bike & run I had my helmet, sneakers, socks, sunglasses and my GPS watch.

Hyannis Tri My Transition Area

After we were set up we headed over to get “marked”.  (*Newbie Note: Your race # will be written on each arm and your age is written on the back of your calf.  IN PERMANENT MARKER.)

Hyannis Tri Marking

Getting Marked!

After we were all marked we had some time to kill until the pre-race meeting.

We killed time with multiple trips to the bathrooms.

You know, coffee + water + nerves = 10 bathroom trips.  (The nice thing was there were “real” bathrooms in the little beach clubhouse!)


Getting nervous pre-race!

As we got closer to the 7:15am meeting time we squirmed and shimmied into our wetsuits and made our way down to the beach.

At 7:15am the race director went over the swim course and water conditions, reviewed the race rules and wished everyone – especially the first timers – good luck!  The National Anthem was played and they began sending off the waves of swimmers!

Pat and I were in the last wave (the first timers wave) so we had another half an hour wait and then it was finally our turn…

 Up next – Swim, Bike & Run!

P.S. – Don’t forget to leave any first time triathlon questions!

29 thoughts on “Hyannis Sprint Tri I: Before the Start

  1. Oh my goodness! I’m getting nervous/anxious just reading this! Since the swim is my biggest tri fear, I really hope that almost drowning (or being eaten by a shark) wasn’t the “almost” incident. But then again, I don’t want you to fall off your bike either. Is there a fourth option?

  2. Hopefully in part 2 we don’t hear about your tango with a shark! I love the idea of a two part re-cap. My trip to New Brunswick was eventful. I started writing yesterday, have 2,000 words and have not even gotten to race morning yet!
    Two parts it is! I’m freaking exhausted.

    • Haha, yeah I did the same thing. I was writing my recap last night and by the time I got through the swim I was like, “man this is long…no one’s going to want to read something this long!” Two parts will hopefully work better!

  3. This sounds like an incredibly complicated pre-race situation. I always wondered how these work, though, so thank you for this educational two part special

  4. yay!! thank you for such a thought out post! I’m curious what you wore under your wetsuit, and how you worked bike shoes/socks and run shoes/socks. Also, how did the bike go? Did people pass you? Did you take in any nutrition while on the bike? Did you see anyone with a flat?

    • Perfect, I’ll add this stuff to my “Tips & Thoughts” post! I don’t have clip in pedals for my bike so I just used the same sneakers for the bike & run and yes, I did see 1 person with a flat! I was totally not prepared for if I had a flat (or any other bike issues) so I would have totally just been done at that point!

      I’ll answer all the rest in upcoming posts!

  5. Way to capture the anxious moments before the race…especially the 10 bathroom stops!

    One thing to add about the transition area…good job scoping out the “easy-to-find” location. It is surprisingly difficult to find your bike when you pop out of the water. Also, many races will have you assigned to a specific rack in transition based on your age group/bib number.

    • Yes, good point! I’ll add that in my “Tips” post! This race didn’t have assigned areas so we just made sure to know exactly where our bikes were (first row, third rack!).

  6. Can’t wait to see part 2 and read your tips. I’ve never considered doing a tri, but who knows…maybe that’s my next big challenge 🙂

    • It’s definitely a challenge, but I enjoyed adding in biking and swimming to my workouts! A sprint is definitely a do-able goal for anyone looking for a new challenge!

  7. I am so impressed that you did a tri. I am too much of a baby to do an ocean swim and long bike ride. Can’t wait to read all about the race.

  8. Pingback: Hyannis Sprint Tri: Swim, Bike, Run | Live, Run, Grow

  9. I have mad respect for you on finishing your first triathlon! Heading over to read Part 2 now 🙂 One question I have for this part… is there a reason they don’t give out the ankle straps with the packets? It seems like you have enough to do when you get there to set up and get prepped. Seems like so many additional steps and more things to think about, I don’t think I’d be able to process it all haha.

  10. Thanks so much for sharing all of this! For those of us who are toying with the idea of taking on a tri, this is SO helpful! It always helps to have an idea of exactly how things might go on race day before you take the plunge and sign up. 🙂

  11. Pingback: First Time Triathlete Tips From a First Time Triathlete | Live, Run, Grow

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