Because we stayed very close to T1 near Kings Beach I was able to get up a little later at 4am. I had most things ready to go the day before so all I had to do was eat, drink some coffee and get dressed. It was a little crazy to put on a goose down coat, hat, gloves and uggs for a triathlon. The temperatures were in the low 30s. But it was calm and not raining so it looked like the race would go off at the full distance. There were rumors that the race would be softened to 1.2 mile swim, 15 mi bike and 26.2 mile run.
It was pretty crazy in transition and a little difficult to get around for athletes and spectators. I think this small beach area was too small for the number of competitors even with 20% of the field not showing up race morning. I didn't leave any food or liquid on my bike overnight, and I was glad since others had frozen bottles and bars. After loading up my bike I added hand warmers to my bike shoes so they would be nice and warm once I got to transition.
After finishing my prep work it was time to get into my wetsuit, and hand off my stuff to my family. I left my sandals on to walk to the start because the sand was so cold that it hurt my feet. Ironman Lake Tahoe was using the swim Smart Start instead of the mass start. I thought it worked really well. We lined up by predicted finish time and were funneled through the start arch. It went fairly fast but this beach is fairly shallow so it took a little while to wade out deep enough to start swimming.
The swim was by far my favorite part of the day, the water was in the low 60s so chilly but not cold. It was so clear and beautiful, I had a little contact from other swimmers but nothing compared to a mass start.
It was a little hard to sight the first lap given all the mist. It was hard to find the buoys but it was incredible to see so much in the water and the snow capped mountains. As usual the turns were a little slow and people decided to walk the turn to the start of the second lap in the water. I wanted to swim so a popped up to clear a little water out of my goggles then started swimming again. On the second lap the sun came out and the water was even more clear, it was surreal. I tried to take it all in and really enjoyed this swim more than any other race I have ever been in. I found some great feet to follow and was pulled in. I was pretty happy with my swim, no cramps and I felt like I kept it nice and easy. I got out of the water and my feet immediately started to hurt from the freezing sand as I headed towards T1.
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