Triathletes are unconventional individuals. Not many people would endure the suffering, time and money commitments involved with the multisport. But being unconvential means that they are prepared for anything.
Take, for example, the Ohio State Indoor Triathlon--the final race of the 2011-2012 season for the MidEast Collegiate Triathlon Conference. Unlike traditional triathlons, this race was measured in time, and the furthest distance in each discipline was the goal. 10 minutes of swimming, a 10 minute break, 20 minutes on the trainer, 5 minute break, and concluding with a 15 minute run around a 200 meter indoor track. One hour, all out, inside.
Xavier Tri Club also got to debut it's newest member, Freshman Chris Due. Senior Connor Gavin, Juniors John McClellan, Stephen Lamb, Aaron Isett, and Freshman Angela Sims also made the 100 mile trip to OSU.
Gavin, in his own league based on his run entry time, was placed in the early waves. He finished as one of the fastest swimmers in his heat, 600 meters. He immediately jumped out, all smiles, changed and went to his next event. The club members got to watch part of his 7.37 mile bike journey before returning to the pool.
Next up were McClellan, Due, and Isett, all in the same heat. They finished 625, 525, and 550, respectively, and they all felt fresh enough to continue onto the bike. As they were heading up to the 4th floor, Gavin finished the heat's 2nd best run--20 laps (2.25 miles) in 15 minutes. It would later earn him 19th overall for collegiate men.
As the three males finished up their bikes of 7.39 (McClellan), 6.14 (Due) and 6.60 (Isett) miles, Sims and Lamb finished their swims, 625 and 475. There were questions the entire day surrounding the precision in which the judges measured the distances, but everyone finished regardless.
McClellan had to deal with an untied shoe on his third lap, barely preventing him from reaching the 2 mile mark (He finished instead at 15.75). Due and Isett recorded impressive results, 17.0 and 17.75, 3rd and 4th fastest in the heat.
Sims recorded one of the faster women's bikes, breaking the 7 mile marker with a 7.09. She would finish the day 13th overall for collegiate women, recording 12.75 for her run.
"My goal today is to go so hard that I puke," Sims said prior to the race. She did.
It was Triathlon Club's founder, Stephen Lamb, however, that had perhaps the most memorable finish not only of the day, but arguably in club history.
After recording a solid 7.25 bike split (3rd on the team), he could feel fatigue creep in as he started the run. His goal was to reach the 15 lap mark, 15-1 minute laps. He started off on pace, hitting the first 5. However, he started to slow down, going down as low as 15 seconds off pace for the next 5 laps.
By now, the rest of the team was finished (other than Sims, who was in his heat). They did calculations, and talked with Lamb's lap counter.
"I don't think he'll make the 15 lap mark," She shrugged. At this point, the team, and perhaps Lamb himself, knew it was now or never.
The team shouted words of encouragement, telling him to unleash and go all out, knowing that was his last chance to get his goal. At the 10 mile mark, the founder took off with less than 5 minutes left to run. He finished the next lap in under a minute, a long with the next one.
With 2 laps to go, teammates, judges, and even racers from opposing schools began cheering the revived triathlete on. In incredulous fashion, Lamb held his pace for yet another lap. As he ran out of sight, and the race time down to mere seconds, everyone waited in near silence, wondering if he could hold on for just one more lap.
Sure enough, with single digits left, Lamb charged around the corner in a full sprint. The team cheered, knowing he'd make the mark and then some. He finished with a full smile, knowing full well what he had accomplished. They marked him at a 15.25, which was arguably the difference in his 36th place finish over teammate Due, who finished 37th.
It could have also made the difference in the 1 point separation between 3rd and 4th place. Xavier men snagged bronze, beating out Michigan, Dayton, Miami, and others, losing only to Illinois and home team OSU. This is the highest finish by Xavier's Triathlon Club thus far, and will help with their overall ranking following nationals.
It wasn't the most conventional race these athletes have participated in. It required them to push themselves to the max, to the point of vomitting, and seeing whether or not they had a second wind. The heart shown by these individuals proved their resolve, even so much as beating out the conference leader in only Xavier's first indoor triathlon.