Groveland Grooves and Gears Triathlon

Groveland Gears and Grooves Triathlon: My 1st Three Sport Event

I bought a triathlon-suit sometime the fall before last off of Steep and Cheap. Like most Steep and Cheap purchases it was a complete impulse purchase because it was both so cheap and a little aspirational.  I enjoy running, but had not been biking more than a few miles to yoga/the odd yearly killer bike ride after which I couldn’t walk the next day. And swimming… by that you mean jumping in a swimming hole real quick, right?

And now I had this tri-suit, which meant I had to do a triathalon. I promptly added that one to the to do list (and closet) and moved on with my life… about until this spring when it was announced that Groveland, California – my California home – was going to try to put on a triathalon. After much thought and consideration, and finally just caving to buy an overpriced membership to a gym with a pool, I was committed. Fiscally committed at least. I’ll be damned if I let both a gym membership and tri-suit both go to waste.

Groveland Gears and Grooves Triathalon

I am the one in the bright aqua blue suit. A little difficult to see in these photos but hard to miss in person.

Groveland Gears and Grooves Triathlon – 6/6/2015

Start: Registration started down at Mary Laveroni Park, where the organizers would shuttle your gear (bike, shoes, etc) to the transition areas, and shuttle you inside of the Pine Mountain Lake (PML) gated subdivision if you didn’t have access. I think if there is ever a race again “inside the gate” of PML, the PML security should just offer to get everyone a very temporary visitor’s passes to help smooth this out a little bit. Especially for spectators.
Distance: This was approximately an olympic distance triathlon – 1 mile swim, 5 mile run, 22 mile bike. It is a little weird they didn’t attempt to make it closer to a traditional olympic distance (1 mile swim, 10k run, 40k bike), but I feel like the whole thing was built around the splendor of Groveland, so we did whatever distance we needed to to see that ;)

Groveland Triathlon Map

Map of the Triathalon. From my GPS watch it was a 1.29 miles swim, 5.38 mile run, and 22 mile bike. Admittedly the watch isn’t super accurate with the swim, plus I zig-zaged more than necessary being blind and confused on the swim. Garmin Map. 

The website for the Groveland Grooves and Gears Triathlon very adamantly wanted me to know that the Groveland Gears and Grooves Triathlon was “a three sport event,” and also“not a race.” I think that may be code for ‘we don’t want to get your expectations up/you can do it!’ Which kind of feels like a let down, for your first triathlon to not want to admit it is a triathlon… but no matter I am going to call it my first triathlon, albeit not timed, because it was.

We started out by swimming inside of Pine Mountain Lake from the Marina Beach, to the Dunn Court Beach area, then to the Lake Lodge. This swim was the most confusing part of the race, with minimal objects to sight off of and direct a straight line of swimming. Additionally, I found out that sighting off a far muted colored object without my glasses is pretty much a lost cause. I ended up trailing some people that I thought looked like they knew what they were doing… & luckily they did! Success.

The run route was painted on the road, which was a welcome surprise after that troublesome swim. The arrows took us around a classically hilly PML route, out onto Ferretti Rd, and then over to the airport/stable area. It was SUPER HOT. But there were aid stations! This wasn’t my strongest run ever (I knew I still had to save some for the bike), but definitely my strongest point in the tri, especially because this is my typical stomping grounds. Plus, Curtis got this sweet picture of me running in past a mini-horse at I came into the 2nd transition at the stables.

Pine Mountain Stables - Pony Cheer Squad

I am glad Curtis decided this picture was needed. PONIES!

From the stables it was a only a hilly 22 mile bike to the Rim of the World and then back to Groveland. Thankfully there were more aid stations and some very nice traffic control by Forest Service staff at Rim of the World to make sure no crazy tourists took us out. By this point my was calf cramping more than anticipated, but the pretty ride kept it enjoyable. Also, I was almost done, so something to look forward to!

Biking Highway 120 from Rim of World to Groveland

On my way to Groveland from Rim of the World. See, very pretty.

This triathlon, but “not a race,” ended at Mary Laveroni Park. I am still not sure if I needed to bike around that cone or not to complete the course… but I did! Triathlon completed.

Overall, the Groveland Triathlon was pretty hard core for not being a race. Actually, it was more like an adventure than a race: Don’t get lost in the lake, blindly follow the arrows, then bike all the hills. I am happy with it for a first triathlon, very low stress and nothing but good vibes from Groveland. Plus, after a cold Indigeny Cider I got to go home, which is a pretty big win for one tired newly minted triathlete. I will see you next year Groveland Triathlon… but could you all get some bright colored buoys for the lake in the mean time?