I arrived in Auburn the day before on Saturday and picked up my bib. I then setup the T2 (the transition area for bike to run). I included just a water bottle and a gel in T2.I woke up nice and early on Sunday, had some coffee and energy bars, got ready, pickup up all the stuff for T1 (the transition area for swim to bike) and made my way to the start point. It was extremely cold with tempsaratures of 8C, the weather was cloudy so there would be no sun for the entire day to warm things up a little. I setup the T1, and then stuffed myself into the wetsuit. Wetsuits were mandatory for the swim because of the cold temperatures. Nevertheless, I was still dreading going into such cold water.The swim was in Folsom Lake near Auburn. We did the mandatory warmup swim whose main purpose is more to soothe jittery nerves and reduce anxiety than anything else. Since it was a deep-water start, we then swam our way mid-lake to the starting point and waited around treading the water. The swim director described the route and some basic instructions and within 5 minutes, we were flagged off. I took it easy in the swim as i made by way around the rectangular course marked by buoys. I did the 1500m course in 35 minutes. I ran to the T1 which was up a small hill (the first of many hills for the day).
I had a leisurely T1 transition; I removed the wetsuit (a surprisingly difficult task, but not so much as putting the wetsuit on in the first place), patted myself dry, put on my bike jersey and shorts, the ear band and arm warmers to protect against the biting cold, put on the shoes (I was not wearing cleats), switched the Garmin mode from swim to bike, and was on my way.
The bike course was a real monster! The elevation gain was 750m (the Sinhagad climb in Pune is 500m) with some back breakingly steep ascents. The gear ratios on my road bike were not suitable for such climbs, and even in the lowest gear, I still had to rely on leg power rather than cadence to climb. On the other hand, the scenery in the course was amazing and i had plenty of time to admire it while grinding the never ending climbs. I completed the 40km course in 2hr:01min.
I did a flying dismount as I approached T2, racked my bike, took off my helmet, goggles, etc, grabbed the water bottle and a single gel and off I went for the run segment. Compared to T1, T2 was fast and breezy.
The run route was on moderately technical trail with many climbs, and just as beautiful as the bike course. At around 5km, my left quad felt like it was on he verge on cramping, so I stopped to relax the muscle and walked a bit. It worked and I completed the 10km run in 55 minutes, not as fast as i would have liked, but I will take it given the tough course and the monster bike course that had preceded it.
I finished strong and fast as the announcer called out my name and a volunteer placed a beautiful sleek medal around my neck.
Needless to say, the organisation was very good, the volunteers were helpful and cheering us along, the location was fantastic and it was a great experience overall. If I ever feel like torturing myself more than what entails in a normal Olympic distance triathlon, I will definitely do this again. Or maybe a half ironman distance event on this course, if I am feeling extra self-tortury!