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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Martha’s Vineyard: Mayone’s Tri-Fest Weekend

Team Mayonnaise Relay Team - Diane, Sharon, Cathy
Last year when I first started triathlon training and went in search of the perfect race venues, I was disappointed there was no race where my vacation home is on Martha’s Vineyard.  All of sudden, the Vineyard Warrior race by a fellow triathlete and Vineyarder appeared; however, being it was an Olympic distance and my first season, I didn’t feel ready for the inaugural race.  I set my sights on it being my first Olympic distance race in 2012.   And, in January, my husband and I sent out a notice to recruit a fun group of friends to join us for the first (and hopefully annual) Mayone’s Tri-Fest Weekend.  With the addition of a Sprint and Olympic relay distance, it also opened up the opportunities for people to participate.
First, there were two.  Sharon, my sorority sister and bike relay partner, and her friend Laura drove up on Friday from Philadelphia to the Rhode Island fast ferry.  Then there were four.  My colleague Ursula and her husband Antoine drove up from Manhattan.  Then there were five.  My colleague and runner relay partner Diane did a triathlon of sorts to arrive Saturday morning with her overnight Philadelphia train to the Providence shuttle to the Rhode Island ferry (talk about endurance!).  With Mike and me, that made seven of us to form the inaugural “Team Mayonnaise”.
We spent Saturday familiarizing everyone with the course.  We got a taste (literally) of the choppy ocean water, the strong bike head wind, and watched the threatening weather forecast.  We fueled with our pasta dinner at the local Giordano’s restaurant, a favorite since 1930.  We were off to bed by 10pm for our 5am wake up.
Sunday morning we were all relieved to awake to no thunderstorms, relatively calm waters, and little wind.  As we got our briefing on the swim course at the well known Inkwell Beach, we learned that the rough wind and waters from the day before had taken the last swim buoy out to sea.  Other than the confusion surrounding the new swim course, the race seemed to start without a hitch. 
SWIM.  Mike and Laura went first during the Sprint waves.  Ursula and Antoine were next for the Olympic waves.  I was last for the Relay wave.  On one hand it’s nice going last knowing you can’t be passed – or tackled – by subsequent waves.  On the other hand, I feared being the last one out of the water given it’s not my strong event!  I sighted well for the first buoy, rounded it, and then actually passed someone from the previous wave, motivating me to keep swimming hard!  Before I knew it and not having read the current right, I had gone too far past the second buoy so I angled my swim and passed the third buoy.  While I had intended to angle my swim in more and exit farther down the beach, the current ended up washing me up on shore in sooner than planned (now I understood why so many people had been running for quite a distance on the beach).  But, our whole Mayone team – all of whom have struggled and come a long way in our swimming - not only survived but thrived in the swim (one mile for the Olympic and .4 mile for the Sprint).  Go us!
BIKE.  The bike course started down Beach Road for both distances.  With water on both sides, this is my favorite bike ride on the planet!  Once at Edgartown, the Olympic participants travelled mid-Island and back via Vineyard Haven, while the Sprint headed north back to Oak Bluffs.  It’s a great bike course indeed!  However, the course markings were less than perfect and we started observing confusion as some Olympic participants arrived from different directions.
RUN.  Mike was the first of our group to cross the finish line at 1:37:49, given his early Sprint wave.  At this point, we started observing runners coming from multiple directions and hearing about confusion on the course markings.  We knew Antoine was in the lead pack of Olympic racers but it was hard to tell who was a Sprint versus an Olympic participant at the finish line when he crossed at 2:00:07.  Next came Laura in with her Sprint finish at 2:27:35 and then Ursula in with her Olympic finish at 2:36:54.  We all cheered as Diane gave our relay team a really strong finish – my watch said 2:52:07. 
RESULTS.   Hmmmm.  Apparently there were timing chip issues.  We had to wait a full week for the final results, and in the end, the Race Director has admitted there is reason to doubt some results given we don’t really know if people followed the course correctly.  But in the end, we had good reason to pop a bottle of champagne.  Antoine won the whole race, his first triathlon victory!!!  Ursula came in second in her age category and Mike came in third in his!  I’m happy with my first Olympic distance open water swim accomplishment, and my relay team had a lot of fun.
Antoine wins the race!!!

Ursula captures 2nd in her Age Group!

Mike places 3rd in his Age Group!
Besides the significant race snafus, we had a fantastic weekend with our friends which is all the more reason I’m hoping for future, improved races.  On Sunday afternoon after the race, we took a walk down to the Edgartown harbor.  An absolutely beautiful, majestic, full rainbow appeared to the east as the sun set in the west and the rain showered us with love.  At one point a second, full rainbow started to appear above the first.  The locals were talking about it for a week and photos were prominently featured in the paper.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I’ve been going to Martha’s Vineyard for 20 years and my husband for 40 years.  It’s a truly magical place that continues to surprise you with its beauty.  There is no better place to swim, bike, and run.

1st Annual Mayone Vineyard Warriors Celebrate Their Success!

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