|Saturday:||1h 20m bike|
Life after Le Tour: back to our regularly scheduled dinners ! Tonight, brown rice with a pepper, mushroom, asparagus and tofu stirfry. Oh and organic Rose. Mmm.
|Saturday:||Triathlon: 400 meter swim, 10 mile bike, 1.7 mile run|
400 meter swim – 10 mile bike – 1.7 mile run
Total Time: 54:06
Overall Place: 107 out of 398
Category Place: 3 out of 13
WARNING: LONG RACE REPORT
I always try to be positive about my races, but I need to start this particular report on a negative note. This was, by far, the most disorganized race I’ve ever participated in. My frustration started last week when leg distances were still not available on the race website and came to a climax at packet pickup.
Packet pickup was at a local pub from 4pm to 7pm on the eve of the race. Geoffrey and I arrived around 6pm. There were supposed to be two lines: one for those who’d pre-registered and the other for those who still hadn’t. Easy enough, except for the fact that the organizers decided to merge lines because it had just rained. Very efficient.
An hour later, when I finally got to the front of the line, I realized I’d left my USAT card at home. I had pre-registered, and so had already entered my USAT card info online. You’d think they’d have this information on the countless printouts the volunteers were clumsily fumbling though. But no. I heard a USAT representative say they were able to look up the information, but when I asked the volunteer helping me, she said they couldn’t. In the end, I accepted it was my own fault for leaving the card at home and decided to pay the extra $10 for the one day license I didn’t need.
It was slightly past 7pm when I started to fill out the USAT form. I had reached the end of my patience and didn’t realize the volunteers were being ushered out by the pub staff. When I finally became aware of what was going on, everyone was gone and I turned around to a huge commotion outside. People who had been waiting in line for over an hour didn’t think it was fair that they’d now have to line up again and possibly lose their order. I understood their concern but couldn’t help feeling infuriated about my “limbo” status. Fortunately, someone was kind enough to notice what had happened and let me back in the line, but I was still very annoyed at the whole process.
Had it been any other race, I would have probably skipped it all together, but I was determined to finally compete in this event. Three years ago, this would have been my first triathlon ever. Two weeks before the race, I was struck by a vehicle during a training ride which left me unable to run for six months. I was forced to forgo the race then. It took me a while to bounce back and attempt another triathlon. After last year’s kick-ass season, I decided to cross this particular race off my list for good. I’d come this far and I wasn’t going to let their lack of organization come between me and the start line.
The race was less than a mile from our house, so I rode there. I arrived early enough, got branded, secured an awesome transition spot and waited for Geoffrey to arrive with Luka.
I walked over to the beach, which was more than a quarter mile from transition. I wasn’t looking forward to barefoot running that distance back after the swim. Everyone was congregated around the swim exit, or what we thought was the swim exit since it wasn’t marked. They hadn’t decided where the swim would start so we all waited until the buoys were up. The next worry was about race waves. The website didn’t have any wave order information and there were no signs at the actual race site that morning. I thought I’d be starting after the men, as usual. Imagine my surprise when immediately after the Elite wave went out, they called “all men and women under 39″ to the front. Our wave would be off in 2 minutes. WTH ? I didn’t even have my race cap or goggles on and I definitely wasn’t psychologically prepared to hit the water.
Fortunately, I wasn’t TOO nervous. On Friday, the day before the race, I had the most revealing swim lesson ever. My friend and fellow triathlete Dee met me at the pool to view my stroke and give me some tips. Her advice has totally changed the way I view swimming. Thanks to her, I had a great swim yesterday. It wasn’t fast, but it was efficient and felt easier than all my previous open water swims. With practice, I think I will become stronger and better at it.
Once out of the water, I began the long trek back to transition. It took me about 4 minutes to run across the beach, through the tunnel and down to transition.
I had the best transition spot ever at this event. It was on the rack nearest to the swim/bike entrance/exit. The first part of the bike leg was inside the park, so I took it easy and kept it at about 20mph. Once out on the open road, I thew caution to the wind. This triathlon was a super sprint. The run was only 1.7 miles so even if my legs felt like bricks, it wouldn’t be for very long. It was a good time to test my legs on the bike. I passed a lot of people, including some of the big boys with fancy bikes, disc wheels and aero helmets. At one point, I caught up with some strong guys who were taking up the road. We were more than halfway to the finish, so I decided to speed it up and get ahead of them. They were doing between 25 and 26mph. As I passed them at about 27mph, their reactions were priceless. They started chasing, but I maintained my lead. Of course, they all passed me at the last turn around point. I need to work on my acceleration out of corners and u-turns. Still I finished with them. My bike registered a bike time of 26:15. Definitely a PR. I was happy beyond words.
After another quick transition, I started the short sprint to the finish line. My heart rate was up to 90% and I could barely control my breathing. I have no idea how fast I was going, but was keeping up with the guys at the front. As I passed a few of them, one said “This girl kicked ass on the bike. She was definitely the rabbit to chase out there.” I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself. I’ve worked really hard on the bike to get stronger with every race. His comment gave me the extra bit of energy I needed to give it some gas. I think I finished the run in about 12 minutes.
Sometime during the run, a guy who seemed struggling asked me if there was supposed to be a water stop on the run course. I felt his frustration, but knew how disorganized the race was and didn’t want to give him any false hopes. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single water stop during the entire course. I know 1.7 miles is not a long way at all for a seasoned athlete, but this race prides itself in being “first timer friendly.” A triathlon of any distance is a challenge for anyone who has never completed one before. It was also 92 degrees yesterday and just as humid. First timers may not carry water on their bikes or even forget to drink during the ride. Plus, Aquafina was one of the sponsors. Surely they could have spared some water for the run course. More confirmation that this race was poorly organized.
We waited around for an eternity for the results to be posted, only to find that my results and many others weren’t listed. Normally I’d think nothing of it, but I’d crossed the line at about 54 minutes, more than 3 minutes ahead of the person listed as first in my age group. Obviously, something was wrong. Everyone working the event seemed to have an attitude, so we waited patiently until they figured out what was wrong and the results were reposted. Unfortunately, “due to a power outage at transition, no splits are nor will be available.” Those are words straight from their website. Wonderful. Really glad I busted my butt for a bike PR.
In the end, I have very few good things to say about this event. The only good factors (weather, wind and water conditions) were completely out of the race organizers’ control. This was probably a blessing since they would have probably accidentally scheduled a hurricane on the morning of the race.
Despite the fact that this event was a major disappointment as far as organization was concerned, I’m still very excited about my next triathlon as well as the rest of the season. I’m glad I made it to the start line this time and that I finished strong and finally got to cross this event off my to-do list. As Lance would say, onward.
Geoffrey made spiced banana pancakes. They were perfect !
Geoff made the most delicious vegan Spanakopita tonight. With vino and the first mountain stage of the TdF, it’s a perfect combination.
|Friday:||1h 15m bike
|Saturday:||Triathlon: 400 meter swim, 10 mile bike, 2.5 mile run|
|Thursday:||45m stationary bike|