USAT Rancho Seco Aquabike
Total Body Fitness (TBF) puts on several triathlons with aquabike, primarily in the Sacramento area, including the USAT Rancho Seco race at Rancho Seco Park on 14 June that I attended. The race was very well organized from packet pick-up the morning of the race to the post-race food. It also included a kid’s triathlon before the main race, and it was so fun watching them start the bike leg! Awards were given out as soon as the top finishers in each division were in, so no waiting around for an awards ceremonyJ The venue was awesome: beautiful park with warm lake for the swim, and bike out and back on local roads with easy rolling hills. My husband and I drove up on Friday, checked out the park, transition area, and swim finish, and then drove the bike course. We stayed in Galt about 20 miles from the park, although camping is available at the park. The weather had cooled down from highs in the 100s earlier in the week, and was predicted to be in the 80s on race day. The lake temperature was in the mid 70s!
Race morning we arrived at the park shortly after 6:30 for packet pick-up and so I could put my number on the bike, set up transition, and have plenty of time to take in the ambience plus warm up. The timing chip was on the bib number, so we had to wear them on the bike and to cross the finish line. For the aquabike, we had to rack our bikes and then run out of transition to cross the finish line. My wave was the last one and included women 35+, relays, Clydesdale, Athena, and aquabike. After a swim warm up, we moved over to the in-water start location. The announcer gave us a short countdown, and we were off! The course was marked by large white triangular buoys with round orange ones between for sighting. The finish was at a small sand beach and up a grassy slope to transition. Only a few bikes were left when I entered transition, as I expected, so off with the sleeveless wetsuit and on with the bike shoes, helmet, and race bib, and out of transition to start the bike ride. Getting out of the park involved crossing 5 speed bumps and several patches of closely spaced white buttons, but the road after that was in good shape with only one railroad track crossing. The rolling topography makes the bike course look hillier than it actually is, which was a little disconcerting. Sometimes I had to use power and cadence to tell whether it was up or down hill. We had what felt like a cross wind on the way out that seemed to vary from cross to head wind on the way back. The biggest “hill” was into the park. I enjoyed the bike ride, especially passing several people. (I also was passed by a few as well – not sure how they managed to be behind me.)
As I crossed the finish line, I heard the announcer say that I was the 3rd woman aquabike finisher (out of 11)!! Wow!! That was a welcome surprise. We received nice plaques for awards. Many thanks to my husband who drove me up and back for the race and took pictures (which are still on his phone with him in Iowa).