–By Kathy Braginton
In it’s 33rd year running, the Clark Lake Triathlon, was boasted as being revitalized. Under new race management, I was anxious to see the changes Run Toledo would bring to the event.
Some of the fun the new offerings were race number tattoos and nice number decals for your bike and helmet. I’ve only seen these used at ½ iron distances or longer. On the downside though, everyone trying to apply the tattoos in transition on race day, is much more time consuming than a Sharpie! I also really liked the unique, wooden finishers medals.
The swim waves were modified this year to be based on ability, rather than age. There were 6 waves: Elite Men & Women, Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Clydesdale & Athena, and Beginner. The swim course itself was still the same: a counter-clockwise triangle. I liked the idea of the wave change and selected Wave 1 during the on-line race registration. My reasoning for the selection was not based on my speed on the swim, but rather my speed on the bike. I usually find myself in the last wave of a swim start based on age, so one of the advantages in being able to select wave 1 was less congestion on the bike course. In 2015, they changed the bike course to a 2 loop course due to rough sections of road and that is still the case in 2017. There were still quite a few pot holes and sections of rough road requiring you to stay alert, so position on the course was key. Otherwise, the bike course was rolling and fast! The run course was the same scenic route winding around portions of Clark Lake. However, what I previously found as an advantage during the bike leg would become the downside on the run. I found myself all alone for miles 2 and 3 making it tough to push the pace.
Clark Lake provides a great opportunity to race against some different, challenging competitors. I found myself 6th overall, 4th Master, and 2nd Age group. I’m always fascinated to see the average age of these though competitors when you find 4 of the top 6 all over the age of 40!