This past weekend I had the opportunity to experience my first draft legal race, which is the same style of triathlon that is in the olympics. Now what “draft legal” means is that on the bike portion you are allowed to draft with your competitors, essentially creating packs based on where you come out of the water on the swim. The idea is to then bike with the girls around you, taking turns pulling and resting, optimally this would allow you to save your legs some so that you could run faster.
Going in I didn’t know quite what to expect, but it was so much fun!! The race that I participated in was an EDR or Elite Development Race, it was an opportunity to race draft legal without the pressure of the Elites (Professionals). The distance of my race was a sprint which means a 750m swim, 20k bike and a 5k run. With draft legal racing, strategy becomes crucial. You have to outsmart your competitors, know their strengths and weaknesses, are they a strong swimmer, cyclist or runner? Should you draft them in the swim and let them pull on the bike so you can outrun them? or do you need to try and get as far ahead of them as possible because they can outrun you?
In draft legal I found there to be a new element: the unknown. The race could turn at any time. If you get popped off the back of your pack and have to start cycling alone, your legs will not be anywhere near as fresh if you had stayed in the pack. On top of that you now have to run even harder to try to catch them. I was 8th overall, and the minute I found Coach T after the race I gave her a huge smile and said “I loved it!!”. I cannot wait to race another draft legal race! I learned so much this weekend, a lot of what not to do, but that’s all part of the process. Now it’s time to get down to business. My next race is only 20 days away. I love this sport.