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Year of first Tri race?

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  1. My A race was 3 weeks ago. Double tubeless failure after conversion, so DNF and no report. Yesterday's race, 25 km, one section unrideable. There's a steep embankment down to a creek and back up. And a wooden plank bridge with no siderails. The rest is hilly with a lot of loose stones. I'm riding Category 46 and over and 12 entrants. Quite a lot of junior riders, about 150 entries overall. Staggered start and our group is off in the middle. Open riders at the back. There's a car leading out so the group stays together. More riders than I expected, must be another category mixed in. I started ok and had a good cadence going when the pace picked up, 2km tarmac, then a sharp RH turn onto gravel and sand. Then rolling hills with downhill on loose stones. I'm worried about getting dropped, but I ride midfield. Then suddenly unexpectedly pass 5-6 riders over the hilly part. Must be stragglers from other categories, some look like juniors. Now racing and the field thins out. Two riders repassed me but one can't ride hills so I cover him again. Teammate Danny is walking back pointing to his chain. He would be Top 3, and one other guy who usually beats me is behind, so I think I won't be last. Covered now 10 km and get pointed up a narrow single track. I know the road, so I dismount and walk run the 500 m. Two riders pass me, one walking, one spinning up. He's the guy who usually beats me, so let him go. Soon we start riding, but hit another short section, washed out, rock hard and no clear line. I knew at the time, this section defines the race....if you ride this you are away, if not you go back. I went back and thought of The Keeper and Diamonds. You ride this section over and over in training and you will ride it on race day...but no, it did not happen. Open Category riders coming through all this time, so kept off the riding lines over to the side. Got back up riding a sat in behind a junior. I think I could pass him but he's going ok. Then we pass another teammate, Dieter, and he wants to tell me something. It can't be important so I ignore him. Overtake the kid and drop both of them. Have a look behind and can't see them. And then we exit that section and go back on gravel. I got isolated and started thinking I missed a turn so I asked some spectators, no response. Then suddenly I come back into the race (missed a loop??), not sure but I'm sitting in front of the kid so position is about the same. I ride away again, but no idea of my position. Less than 5km to the finish and go across the plank bridge, last year I walked it. Straight off the bridge to a sharp left hander, almost overshot the road, but made a save and kept on. Now on a rider from my category and I think I'm stronger. But I'm worried about course directions so I stay back. I also thought about my going off course and maybe I shouldn't pass. But the opening comes, and I ride away, easily. I felt great now, riding on sips of coke but not much time for drinks. I hit tarmac and have a look behind, but the guy disappeared, so can't wait. I ride strongly up to the finish. No idea of my position, but the kid and others come in later. I was considering to wait and let him cross the line ahead of me, but I would have had to stop. Since he was out of sight, I rode up to the finish ahead of the kid. When I saw the kid, I know him and his dad and he beat me last year also off a staggered start, so I think I went ok today. Medals go 10 deep. So they called me 7th. And oldest rider. I thought of reporting my off road, but nah, those others were way behind me. Oldest rider=200 pesos and my entry was 100 so I came ahead on the day. Nice race. But as with the last 2 years, lack of race marshals and directional arrows placed on trees are hard to see when you have no one to follow.
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