B is normally a reluctant runner, competing because his dad and I registered him for some race or another. But last night at core class, he spotted a flyer for a youth triathlon on June 8 and asked if he could sign up.
When we got home, we looked up the race online. It’s a kids’ event held in a neighborhood not too far from us. In his age group, the swim is 200 meters, the bike is 5.7 miles, and the run is 1.2 miles. I asked him to download all the rules and policies, read them, and decide whether he could meet all the requirements. Registering ten days out meant a hefty price tag ($55 plus a $10 one-day USAT permit) so I wanted to make sure he really wanted to commit to this race.
He’s capable at all three triathlon skills. Especially running. When he read that it’s only 1.2 miles, he scoffed. After all, he’s signed up for his second half-marathon this summer. But I wondered a bit about the swim. He’s a good open-water swimmer and spends many summer days at the lake, beach, and pool, but he’s never done swim team or raced in any kind of formal way. Plus, their instructions say that because the swim is eight lengths but their pool is only six lanes, swimmers would “go up and back on lanes two and three and snake the swim,” which sounded a bit confusing for a first-timer.
Another issue is the bike–he has a BMX bike that he rides allllll over the neighborhood, and he’s a competent cyclist. But it’s not exactly a triathlon-friendly road bike. It doesn’t seem to bother him, so I hope that his confidence in his riding skills trumps any sort of comparisons he might make when he gets out there.
I’ve always found the idea of triathlon transitions to be somewhat complicated, but I think that because it’s a kids’ race, they will have a lot of people around to help the kids manage everything. If not, well, he will get some experience figuring things out for himself, I guess!
I thought about volunteering–they still need help, and volunteers get a discount on registration–but in the end I decided to focus on supporting him on his first triathlon. One that he suggested on his own.