At Wildflower, my goal was to not get DQ’d. Going into the Auburn Triathlon, which was two weeks later, my goal was to win. In actuality, I ended up DQ’ing myself. Well done, Mr. Wegscheider, well done.Also, it’s somehow taken me nearly two weeks to write a race report. Why the delay? I. Don’t. Know. I haven’t swimmed, biked, or runned since Auburn – I decided to take two weeks off to do more of something that I feel I’ve been neglecting: sleeping.

Auburn Triathlon logo

Anyways, being that I’m a fan of doing two races in two weeks, when I saw that the Auburn Triathlon, a.k.a. the “World’s Toughest Half” – we’ll get to that – fell two weeks after Wildflower,  I got so excited that I signed up! Predictable outcome given the nature of this post.

I figured I had gained some fitness at Wildflower, so the profile of the course didn’t raise an eyebrow. After all, I like climbing. Overall, I was probably fitter going into Auburn than Wildflower, but I certainly wasn’t feeling as spritely. If I sound like a broken record about being tired, it’s because I am (err, was).

One Speed Fatigue:

The water of Folsom Lake was quite warm, but wetsuits were allowed, so it felt like I was in a Bikrim Yoga studio inside my wetsuit. Starting the swim, I didn’t have that kick that gives me at least some room to work with. Instead, I swam in between two other guys and we slapped at each other like raucous schoolgirls until the first turn buoy. Continuing along the out-section of the swim, I was feeling warm, so I tried removing my swim-cap. However, I put my goggles on over the cap. Fail.

I continued on at a slow, yet surprisingly arm-fatiguing pace. After what felt like an eternity, I saw a boat ramp. The boat ramp delighted me. I like boat ramps. Especially ones that signify the end of a swim.

Boat Ramp? Yes Please!

I’m That Guy Who Should Ask For Directions:

When I first started racing triathlons, I always drove the course the day before. Nowadays? Well, I can’t remember the last time I did.

The bike course features quite a bit of climbing and it kicks up from the get-go. For approximately 6- to 7-miles actually. It’s nothing terrible, but it definitely gets your heart pumping and legs burning. None of the hills are that long and while I said the Wildflower course is “either up or down,” I should have reserved that statement for this race. After the initial climb up from Rattlesnake Bar, the course essentially follows Highway 80 E towards Tahoe. At the end of that, there’s a loop, where I passed some peeps, and we then headed back climbing what we descended and descending what we climbed. All along the route, I was told I was in 5th position, so I was anxious to reach the additional out and back loop, where I would be able to see what the time gaps were.

I knew the additional loop started near a major a intersection. So, each time I approached one, I sat up anticipating a turn. However, I was never instructed to take a turn, nor did I see an arrow pointing me in a different direction. Furthermore, the head referee’s moto was with me, so I figured he had to be on course to check on the leaders.

Erich Wegscheider at the Auburn Triathlon 2013

About To Learn My Fate

Well, as time ticked away, so did the miles. Then, I was practically back at transition. I tried to stay positive and hoped the announcer would welcome me as the 5th athlete in off the bike, but he loudly declared I was 1st. Poopy. Regardless of my own stupidity and inability to follow directions, I put on my shoes.

Sunday Stroll

Realizing that I really had no choice but to DQ myself, I decided to go for a 13.1-mile stroll. After all, what’s a Sunday without a long-run? Answer: a terrible morning that entails eating only one breakfast! I suppose I could have two breakfasts, but I don’t want to get fat.

In any event, I started running, so I could burn more calories, so, in turn, I could eat more food later.

Do I have disordered eating?

The run course is three loops, so that meant I got to tell everyone at the turn-around by the finish-line that I wasn’t in fact the tête de course not once, but twice!

Erich Wegscheider at the Auburn Triathlon 2013

Palm Up Running Will Catch On, Trust Me

As for the course itself. It was nice. We ran out along a shaded canal, ran down a longish hill, ventured onto some single-track, and ran up another longish hill. My mind wasn’t in “race” mode, because even when I saw the closest athlete behind, I didn’t feel like I was being chased. Though, technically I was pulling away; I put in the day’s fastest run split.

Erich Wegscheider running at the Auburn Triathlon 2013

Strolling Along

I carried on my merry way, crossed a line, explained the day to my mom, got a massage, talked to the race organizers and timing guys, then proceed to DQ myself.

Not The Winner

Not The Winner

Epilogue

All in all, I’m at fault for missing the turn. In some regard, I think the head referee is an ass, because he just let me make the mistake in his presence. I understand that he’s not there to tell me where to go, but why escort me in past the additional loop. Is a simple hand gesture to turn-around that hard?

Regarding the course, it is one of the tougher I’ve raced, but I can’t back it as being the “World’s Toughest Half.” The run course has been modified in recent years and, from what I’ve heard, running in and out of that canyon is what made this race famous. Good news though! There are talks of reverting back to the original run course. As for the bike course, none of the climbs are long, but it’s the frequency of them that will wear you down – it’s not a race where you just put your head down and time-trial mindlessly.

If they do in fact change the run course back to the original, I will most certainly be back in 2014. If it’s hard and physically taxing, I want to do it. Are there a few loose screws in my head? Yes.