HITS Naples Triathlon 2016

By: Jennifer Clark

After Red Dog 100 it was time to celebrate 2016 with a “traincation” to Naples Florida. Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice flat supported 112 mile ride with a nice little swim in the Gulf in January? I just retired and hadn’t ridden much since the last race.

The day before, the water was a bathtub, 72˚, no wind, awesome! That day,hardly! Red tide and red flags on the beach. Lightening, pouring rain. It started at 72 and dropped to 64 with crazy winds from all directions.

The swim was body surfing to shore ( fun!) and fighting to make forward progress the rest of the time. It was rough with big white caps( 2nd loop) that went well over the huge marker buoys. The bike was FLAT! 580 feet. The water on the roads was deep in places with lots of debris from trees. Cars and trucks couldn’t help but soak you. By mile 40 my left foot was killing me and my drivetrain sounded like it would fall apart due to so much sand being splashed and blown into it. I found about ½” of hard packed sand in the arch of my shoe that required a knife to dig out. I was sick with a chest cold and was hoping to maintain 160 watts without causing too much coughing.

Success! No drafting 20.5mph average and 1st woman overall .The next woman wouldn’t come in for more than 20 minutes.There were few spectators- it was horrible out! So-so support and organization; pretty area to ride once out of town finishing more than 30 miles from the start.