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The 3rd Annual Pine Barrens Sprint Distance Triathlon on 5/17/03 was 1/2 mile swim/ 24 mile bike/ 4 mile run.

Petra in a final tune-up in the Wissahickon just before The Pine Barrens Triathlon

I prepared my spot in the transition zone and then crossed the sandy beach to probe the water. The water was cold, in the sixties, but that did not necessarily mean that I would have to put on my neoprene suit. The swimming part would be short, only half a mile, but getting out of the suit would mean extra time in the transition zone.

After talking to a competitor, however, I decided in favor of my wetsuit. I did not regret the decision when I was in the lake waiting at least 10 minutes for the start signal. Only two guys were not wearing a wetsuit, and their lips were already blue.

We were started in waves, young men first, then women, and then the rest of the men. I did well in the swim, lost a few places in the transition zone, and got off to a good start on my bicycle.

The bicycle course of the Pine Barrens Triathlon is flat, and I was fighting the wind as I tried to pass the men in front of me. Despite the pedaling my feet became cold, and when I got off my bike and started running they felt like blocks of ice.
The transition from biking to running always requires some mental coping due to the loss in speed. One tries to feel fast as soon as possible. I also tried to imagine that my feet were warm and nimble. The thought that finally helped me was the realization that I had some hot tea left in a thermos in my car. I could bathe my feet in Earl Grey tea after the race! This strange idea coincided with me feeling comfortable again; I finished third.

Petra Kretschmann

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