Oktoberfest on September 24 — the last Without Limits Colorado triathlon for the 2022 triathlon season — was a completely sold-out event this year. NCAA teams traveled from all over to race. With completely packed bike racks in the transition area, many athletes faced jitters along with flashes of excitement.
As the race was about to kick off early Saturday, the race announcer said that the floating duck on the swim course had four 20-dollar bills taped to it for all collegiate athletes to have the chance to grab. The downside was that to reach the inflated duck, any athlete attempting to snag a 20-dollar bill would have to veer off the swim course.
In the year that I have been racing triathlons, I’ve never had the chance to snag 20 dollars in the middle of a race. So of course, I had to swim off course to snatch myself free money. I started my race side by side my fellow CU triathlon teammates. As I made the final turn of the swim course I made my way towards the floating duck, swimming almost 250 more yards than what I was supposed to had I stuck to the regular sprint course. I tore off my winnings from the duck’s neck and shoved it down in my wetsuit before I made my way towards the swim exit.
I made sure to show off my earnings as I scrambled from the water to the transition area. Hopping onto my bike out of T1, I hammered my way out onto the bike course. Quickly into the ride, I saw an NCAA athlete flat on her bike. It seemed that each corner I took on the bike course led to another athlete standing on the side of the road with a bike and a flat tire.
Luckily, my trusty bike made her way back to the transition area without acquiring a flat. As I scrambled to find a big enough space for my bike on the rack, I began preparing for the run.
Hat, running shoes, and race belt on, I sprinted onto the run course. From my experience and what my teammates have told me as well, it always feels like you are running so slow after immediately getting off of the bike, but you are actually on pace to set a new 5K world record.
After realizing I definitely could not hold my current run pace, I slowed down to something more manageable and began my three-mile trek. I was greeted by a small hill around mile one that reminded me that running is not easy, but the good news was that the run course was an out and back, which meant I would be able to zoom down the hill later.
All the athletes on the run course appeared strong and determined. None of them looked like they had just successfully completed a swim and bike event. When rounding the corner at the end of the run course toward the finish, spectators cheered in all the athletes for a very exciting end-of-race environment.
Arizona State University placed first in the NCAA team competition. The University of Denver took second after holding the first-place title in past years.
The University of Colorado Boulder took first in the non-draft collegiate race.
The Oktoberfest triathlon was certainly a memorable race for various reasons. I know the extra 20 dollars now in my pocket made my race memorable, which by the way, will be spent on a big box of ramen. Oktoberfest closed out the Colorado triathlon season perfectly.