On Friday afternoon I got an email that said my name was on a list of local athletes suggested to start in the 'elite' wave. I wasn't planning on putting myself in that wave but somehow having someone else suggest me for it made it ok. In hindsight I'd say it was 100% a good choice! Having clear water to swim in and open roads to ride without shouting on your left on your left ON YOUR LEFT the whole time made for a way more pleasant (and less scary!) race experience...
They gave me #666 for this race. I decided that meant I should race like a bat out of hell! #beastmode
I drove to town at like 4am and parked on a side street not too far from the race start. My parking spot happened to be on a road right outside a bar where a bunch of people were hanging out after a night of partying... and all along the sidewalk were homeless people sleeping. This was not lost on me as I got my bike out of my car and realized that my wheels likely cost more money than those people see all year. Mental note: I live a life of privilege and it was a privilege to get to race today. #BeGrateful
Prior to the swim start I wanted to get in the water to warm up a bit... I looked around for someone who might speak English who would be able to zip up my speed suit... I asked some guy I didn't know and he tried to get it zipped up but in the process the zipper totally broke. DOH! Never fear I had a spare speed suit in my bag (I already mentioned my privilege) so I ran back to transition to swap speed suits and was good to go. Phew.
Swim was clean. I don't have a lot of starting speed but after the first buoy managed to pull away from some others who do have starting speed! There were several folks up ahead and I had one person near me but for the most part it was just head down swim strong for 23min. SO much better than swimming over/around/through a billion men in the age group waves! The only issue I had was that the sun hadn't come up like I thought it would (5:45am start!) and my dark tinted goggles left me wanting to see more clearly. In good news I don't have much fear of swimming in most scenarios so I handled swimming in the 'dark' just fine. If there was one thing I would change about how I executed this race today though, I would have chosen clear goggles. 6am race start would have resulted in being blinded by the sun on the way back... but 5:45am start is too dark for tinted goggles!
I heard that there were a couple women in front of me getting out of the water so onto the bike I went into HUNTING mode. This race they have lead moto for the lead male AND female(!). In 20 years of racing I've never had a lead motorcycle AND I WANTED ONE. So. Off I went. It took ~50min and a lot of watts (and some twinges of cramping) but eventually the cop on the motorcycle looked back at me like wait you're not my gal but I just smiled and waved as if to say I AM NOW YOUR GAL. GO!
Carly and I (all matchy matchy in our custom Coeur Sports kits!) were the only 2 women to crack an hour on that 22 mile course this morning! Want to learn how to ride a bike fast? I'd be happy to teach you. #callmemaybe #shamelessplug
Onto the run I knew my lead wouldn't last, so I wasn't surprised when the first Japanese gal went storming by... Carly went by a bit later than the other Japanese gal... I felt ok though and was ticking off pretty steady miles ~8:30s which for me off a bike like that would be filed under the 'great job' tab. Somewhere around mile 2 I was running along and saw Moana and Scott (yay!)... Scott was attempting to take a video and in the process, he let go of Maia's leash... and of course Maia was like HI MOM OH WE'RE GOING RUNNING YAY I LOVE RUNNING I'LL COME WITH YOU!!! Ha! I just about tripped over myself as she came at me. The video is pretty darn funny. I'll text it to you if you want to see it!
Was happy to not get caught by anyone else. The last 1/4 mile or so is along this stretch of path and when I got here I had this overwhelming sense of gratitude... Like just so happy to be healthy enough to be out there racing and competing and I don't know... Even if I wasn't smiling the whole time, I just really had fun with it all today!
Afterward we all hung out in the park and talk story while drinking beer/champagne which is a bit of a tradition at this point. The only real negative thing about this race is that they don't do an age group awards ceremony. They call the top 3OA up onto the podium, but not AG. Instead they tell the age group athletes to go to the table/tent to collect a coin that serves as the award. #WTF? That makes no sense to me. Age groupers want to be acknowledged and stand on a freakin' podium when they get top 3! In a lot of ways this race is great and I like it, but in this way it's a #fail. Seriously. Win your age group so you can stand in this line and collect a cheap coin? Makes it imperative to simply race for the experience of racing... Certainly at this race it's not about getting an award! And this isn't me bitching that I didn't get one- I pulled myself out of AG when I agreed to the elite wave... I just think that age groupers should be acknowledged for their efforts and their success. That's all.