The Cactus Man tri was cancelled in 2020, and my registration rolled over to 2021, when 4Peaks Racing successfully pulled it off on May 2. Registration was capped, spectators were not allowed (although it's Tempe, people can hang around if they want), you picked up the finisher medal at registration, and when you crossed the finish line, you got 2 water bottles and a mask. There also was no food at the finish, so I got home and then had to decide, which was more important: being ravenously hungry, or needing to wash Tempe Town Lake off me before I touched food (the shower won out).
They also changed the course from 2019. No more wave start, and instead you entered the water 5 seconds apart (after general seeding by expected swim time finish) from a boat ramp west of the Mill Avenue bridges, then exited the water via a different boat ramp east of the bridges, with a half-mile run (or walk, in my case) back to transition.
It was a hot day, and I finished 4th in my age group in the Olympic (no Sprint for me!) by far enough behind #3 that I can't complain. I plugged through the race steadily, kept running (except up one hill on the second lap, at that point I figured the heck with it), and when I finished, I really had nothing left. You can't ask for more than that, the triathlon version of a foamed runway.
Results here: Swim 29:33, T1 5:00, Bike 1:24:34, T2 4:53, Run 1:08.11, Finish 3:12:12. 4/7 age group, 155/201 men, 214/297 overall. Fairly consistent with my 2019 times, given the changes to the course.
One thing I lost in the pandemic was my year being the youngest in my age group. Who were those 3 really fast 65-year-olds?