Over the course of the summer and fall, I have been working on several projects with the Oregon State University Triathlon Club. The latest of these was shooting the bike course for their Beaver Fever Triathlon. This sprint triathlon is one of the major fundraisers for the club and, for triathletes in the Pacific Northwest, one of the last opportunities to race for the year.
As the name suggests, most years have seen warm, sunny race days. Not this year! As I drove the bike course to find photo spots, raindrops poured down at a rate that challenged even my windshield wipers. The downpour stopped by the time I arrived at transition, but it was impossible to tell whether the sun had even risen. Thick clouds greyed out the sky, threatening more rain, and puddles from the previous day’s multiple inches of rain lined the transition area. All the volunteers could do was sweep the water to spread it more evenly around transition.
On the bright side, the rain did hold off until mid-race - which meant setup for many of the athletes could be done without getting soaked. It was still dry when I set up 10 miles into the bike course, convincing me to leave my warm layers in the car - a big mistake!
The rain started just after the first cyclist passed by me, and only increased in intensity as the day went on. Water was pooling up on the road and spinning off of the racers’ wheels, making the roads slippery on descents. With water soaking my hands and face - I needed to keep some parts of myself uncovered to keep shooting - I spent the last hour of the race shivering. I can only imagine how cold the racers were, but they persevered - most who passed seemed to be excited to be out there despite the conditions.
Congratulations to everyone who raced - especially first time triathletes - and a huge thanks to the OSU Triathlon Club for having me out on the course!