Park-To-Paradise Triathlon

On May 14, 2008, in Uncategorized, by Meghan

The Park-to-Paradise Triathlon is a true Montana-style event. There’s an 8 mile boating leg down the Yellowstone River, then an 18 mile biking leg up the road that parallels the Yellowstone River, and finally a 5+ mile running leg that finishes in Gardiner, MT, the northern outpost for Yellowstone National Park. You can race individually or in teams, but the majority of people are smart enough to do this as a relay event. I’m only kidding; the soloists are really smart, and really hard core.

This year, I was to ride the 18 mile bike leg as part of a relay team. Aside from this particular triathlon (which I’ve now participated in twice), I don’t know much about this kind of racing. What I know about triathlons I read about on Beth’s blog. So, before the race, I asked her to give me some pointers. Beth basically said, “Uh, Meghan, just ride hard.” Who knew it was that simple? I’m still kidding; she gave me lots of racing tips and a pre-race biking workout that served as a lesson in how to “ride hard.”

That’s really how my relay leg went; I just rode as hard as I could. Everyone was staggered about the course as a result of 3 starting waves, using different kinds of boats on the boating leg, and general speed/fitness differences. Basically, I started the race in a group of 4 people, and spent most of the race riding with this really cool local guy. He passed me on the downhills and I passed him on the uphills; we joked and bantered back and forth on each pass. I was happy to have someone nearby, since this was my first bike racing experience.

Overall, I had a great time, and here is what I learned about bike racing:
1. If you want to race fast, you have to train fast. This is simple logic applied from running, a field of which I have much more knowledge. I think my leg muscles were a little shocked by what I asked them to do.
2. Maintaining momentum is all about the smooth shifting. Sometimes I did not shift smoothly.
3. Aerobars, aerobars, aerobars. You ride much faster if you have these. I will never have these, though, and that’s fine.
4. I watched some reciprocating (and not legal) drafting/pulling going on among two people, and that benefited them a lot.
5. Wind makes biking hard, and there was a strong headwind!
6. While I don’t know that I see a vast future for myself in bike racing, I had a fabulous time and would love to do it again.

As an aside, my relay team, Team No Snow (In deference to the perpetually present winter that won’t go away and that dropped a bit of snow the night before the race.), put up a good fight. We finished second in our division, missing first by just a few seconds!


9 Responses to “Park-To-Paradise Triathlon”

  1. A says:

    oh, how FUN! What a great event! Way to rock those hills! Glad it didn’t snow during the race… ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Bob Gentile says:

    SOunds like a good time!

    and way to push hard!

  3. Danni says:

    Nice! Triathlons are fun but a lot of fussing with gear and such.

  4. Beth says:

    Great job Meghan! Gotta love my earth shattering advice huh? ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway – way to put yourself out there!! And I agree, there is nothing like a head wind on the bike to bring you to tears…or your knees…or both… ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. JeffO says:

    That tri sounds FUN!
    Nice report.
    Yeah , even though I love snow and blizzards, it’s impossible to scout out my 100K race course. So I guess I’m getting real impatient for Winter to finally go away.
    Hopefully we’ll still get to run SJS50. I hear they changed the course a little to avoid lightening, but I’m not sure how they did that.

  6. WynnMan says:

    well done young lady, well done. How wonderful has been the result!

    Do you still have snow in yer neck of the woods?

  7. WynnMan says:

    If you like Tri’s then you would surely love the Burrito Union 10hr triathlon. Set near beautiful Lake Superior in the town of Superior just across the way from Duluth. I am excited to give this one a go. Lake swim, trail run, bike.

  8. Backofpack says:

    The tri sounds like fun – and cool to try somethng new! I so think you could do the whole thing solo…

  9. Meghan says:

    Thanks for the triathlon props, ‘yall!

    Anne- Oh yes, how joyous that it didn’t snow during the race!

    Bob- I had fun!

    Danni- There is a lot of gear in triathlons! You can go to a running race alone, but to do these types of races you need help with all your gear!

    Beth- Your advice was quite helpful, thank you!

    JeffO- Tell me more about this course change so I don’t have to have nightmares! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wynn- Thanks and, uh, I think I would die in a 10 hour triathlon. I will check out that website, though.

    Michelle- I couldn’t! I’m boating inept! Well, I could do it but I would probably overturn my kayak and the icy snowmelt river water!

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