I wanted to complain but couldn’t. After months of little rain and 100+ degree temps, we finally got some wet stuff. Sure we’ve had a few little showers here and there but nothing to really get excited about and rain has not inhibited playing outside this summer, until this weekend.
7 am Saturday morning was the scheduled start for the Tri Arkansas Triathlon 1.5kS/ 39kB / 10kR, Tri Arkansas Aqua bike 1.5ks / 39kB, Tri Arkansas Long Course Duathlon 4.5kR / 39kB / 10kR and Tri Arkansas Open Water Swim 1.5K. Sunday would be the DeGray Lake Sprint Triathlon, celebrating its 15th year. All events were part of the DeGray Tri Fest Weekend. But Saturday morning we were blessed with rain…and lightning and thunder and more rain. No one can argue that drought stricken Arkansas didn’t need it but storm did put a halt to the festivities.
After first delaying the race, then taking out the swim portion and trimming the bike portion, Fred Philips of DLT Multisport made the call around 8:30 am: the race was called off for the day. In a fair move by the race director all entries would be rolled into the Sunday sprint race and sprint courses for the Aqua Bike, Duathlon and Open Water Swim would be added to the schedule. It wasn’t a perfect solution but it was probably the best way to handle the logistics of trying to switch all the volunteers, law enforcement, and traffic control to another day.
Sunday morning found us back at the DeGray Lake Spillway and this time, the weather was perfect for a triathlon. That is for a triathlon during an Arkansas August. Almost clear skies, temperatures in the 70′s at start and an occasional breeze.
We quickly got set up for the swim portion which took place at the boat ramp. Racers had a 500 yard swim course for the triathlon and aqua bike. The open water swimmers would do three laps giving them 1500 yards instead of the 1500 meters advertised. The duathletes would be starting with a run after the others started. Everyone seemed in good spirits probably due to the great conditions and at 8 am the first wave was off. Lisa took photos of the swimmers as they were leaving the water, and then headed up to the run area to get more photos. I had already left to find a suitable spot on the bike leg.
We saw a lot of different bikes in the race from the full on triathlon bikes to mountain and comfort bikes. The sprint race is a great way to get started in the sport. Short swim, short ride, short run and you’re done.
By the time most of the racers had gotten to the run temperatures had jumped up to the high 80′s and some were starting to feel it. The good news is that for both the bike and the run the finishes are downhill.
It was great to see racers from some of the local active teams like All In Multisport, CARVE and Team Jackass . Hamburgers and baked beans were available at the finish along with plenty of water. The awards ceremony was peppered with giveaways and although the temperature was beginning to creep upward, most racers seemed content to hang around a while. We’re already looking forward to the next big triathlon Sunday, September 9th at Beaver Lake in Conway. And if you are ready to Tri but haven’t signed up for one yet, you have until October 14th to get ready for Tri the Lake at Heber Springs.
We have more photos posted on our SmugMug page, as always, low resolution is free.