I wrote about my personal experience at the Dilettante Women’s Triathlon here. This post is a review of the race overall. Read on!
Most importantly: This is THE perfect race for a newbie! Trying a new sport, particularly one that involves fear of drowning, is intimidating. The Dilettante Women’s Tri made the experience much less intimidating by having a very small field, a short swim (1/4 mile for the sprint), and a generally relaxed vibe. I am so very grateful that I chose this tri, rather than a larger race, as my first.
Swim Course: As I mentioned, the sprint course with a 1/4 mile swim was very much appreciated. Sprint triathlons can have 1/2 mile swims, so it was nice to do something shorter for my first tri. Five Mile Lake (where the swim takes place) is warm and calm, which is great. The water is also terrifyingly brown, but I was surprised that the brown water did not bother me while I swam. (FYI, it’s brown because of minerals in the water, so no worries about contaminated water).
Bike Course: I was really scared when I found out that the bike course was on roads. This might seems silly to everyone else, but I grew up in a place with nearly-endless bike paths. To me, riding on roads is 1) scary, 2) dangerous, and 3) weird. I imagined getting trapped behind people, unable to pass because of car traffic. This was not the reality at all. The course had nice, comfy rolling hills. Some of the hills were slightly challenging without being too overwhelming, which was fun. There were cars, but they didn’t bother me with the exception of the guy who pulled next to me to swear at me. I did not get trapped behind anyone. I just pedaled happily along! For part of my ride, I could see Mount Rainier peaking over the trees.
Run Course: The actual run course was just fine…some rolling hills, but nothing too exciting. However, I had a great deal of confusion right after leaving the transition area. In reality, all I had to do was run down the driveway and out of the park. It sounds simple, but I hadn’t looked at the course map (I don’t know how to read maps), so I was really confused! There were arrows marking the way, but since I had followed those same arrows out on the bike course, I wasn’t confident that I was supposed to be following the arrows. I just kept shouting as I was running, “Is this the right way?” “Is this where I’m supposed to run???” I really think they should have the arrows marked with “bike” and “run” to clarify for those of us who are map-reading-challenged.
Aid Stations: There was one aid station on the run course. I was carrying Nuun, so didn’t need anything, but I think there were gels, water, and electrolytes. There were also cute kids, which I always appreciate at a race.
Organization: I was markedly confused about a few things, because the Dilettante Women’s Triathlon website had a sneaky little trick to it: if you hovered over the “Race Information” tab on the website, it revealed a drop-down menu and you could choose from “sprint course,” “olympic course,” or “packet pick-up.” These three options didn’t provide me with much information about the logistics of the race. The weekend before the race, a friend was chattering away about all sorts of other information, like a wave start. It turns out that she had gotten the information by CLICKING on the “Race Information” tab. I was not the only person confused by this; I told 3 other people who had no idea as well! As a newbie, I would have liked for things to be explicitly spelled out for me. For example, right before my wave’s swim start, the race director informed us of which way to go in and out of the transition area. I heard him and was grateful for the information, but I talked to people who missed this and almost ran out the wrong way. It seems that it might have been good to communicate this important information with signs or on the website as well. Overall, the race itself seemed organized well-enough, but sometimes I felt the actual communication to the participants could have been improved.
Post-race food: I gobbled up Dilettante truffles, bananas, and cheese chunks. I was definitely happy with the food selection, particularly the chocolates. (There were other food options as well, but I only remember the items that I chose to snack on).
Overall Vibe: This was probably my favorite thing about the race! Everyone was so nice! I didn’t feel out of place or stupid as a newbie. I talked to tons of strangers and had a great time.
Do you talk to strangers at races?
Disclosure: I received a free race entry to this race. All opinions are my own.