2011 Loveland Lake to Lake

This was the third time I’ve raced this race. It’s a great local race, one where the race management just consistently puts on an excellent event. The post race food is awesome and for me it’s like a huge reunion. I felt like I knew 100 people that were racing and spent so much of the morning and afternoon catching up with friends.

Also, this race is in my husbands home town, which means we get to spend the night at his parents house the night before. They take great care of us, and Roger always comes out and takes photos, which is just awesome!

The transition is an “open transition” so it’s first come first served. Which means I was of course standing about 10 deep back in the line at 4:50am to get into transition first. I’m not Type A….what are you thinking? I got a great spot, same exact spot that I got 2 years ago, yup, still Type A back then too. I set up my stuff. I really try to keep everything as simple as possible (shocker?).

PIC came in a little later and she racked right next to me which is always so fun. She was starting 4 minutes back, which meant she might pass me in the water, dang it. We discussed that if she caught me in the water we may get to “play” on the bike, legally of course! I didn’t want her to pass me in the water, nobody wants PIC to pass her in the water, but it’s not like they/me have a choice!

I walked down to the water, chatting with all sorts of friends along the way. It was a good thing I started in one of the later waves because it took me a solid 15 minutes to get my TYR Hurricane wetsuit on. Its tight and I love it. We discovered a hole in PICs wetsuit after she loaned it out, that was no bueno. We had a little chat about “loaning” things, a chat that CV has had with us several times, yet we still keep making mistakes on that front. Insert: Team PIC banging head on wall over and over.

I felt pretty good in the water, especially after I peed in my wetsuit. Now nobody will ever loan me a wetsuit. If your swimming is anything like mine you usually can’t really tell how things are going to go with those first strokes. I had watched a few waves go off when I was putting on my suit and after confirming with Troy I decided to line up way left. It was a more direct line to the first buoy and seemed more sparsely populated.

This week has been a tough week for me in the pool. Chuck is having me train straight through this race. As he says

“we need to build a pan that can handle the bigger fish-frying”

This week I have had good days in the pool, bad days in the pool, double days in the pool, and an open water swim that was blissful. I’ve been thinking about the swim a lot this week. Mostly wondering why I am Ms.LackOfConsistency when it comes to the water. Some days I’m on from the get go and 1:33 pace in the meter pool is cake. Other days 1:40 pace has me panting at the wall, and a few days ago, 10 100s into a 20×100 set I went from crap to fantastic and held onto fanstaic the rest of the swim.


I guess it’s better than Ms.ConsistentlySlow…I’ve been there.

They count us down and I GO. I GO really quite hard (for me). It think the fact that I forgot the scooper for my First Endurance PreRace and thus had to guess at what a teaspoon is was partly to blame. I was on triathlete-legal caffinated overload. Half way to the first buoy I look around, find some awesome feet and hold onto them the entire swim. The PreRace had me pretty focused and I swam my ASS off, the whole time screaming in my head “Chase the bubbles, chase the bubbles”. I never even touched her feet I was swimming so hard trying to stay on them.


I swam a 25:58 which includes a 1/4 mile run up to transition. It was my fastest swim at this race by a few minutes. It was hands down the best swim I have ever had in a triathlon in my life. Michelle’s bike was still there when I got to transition. Part of me was shocked, and the other part of me looked longingly back down the line of people running into T1 to see if I could see her. I assumed she was close.

Onto the bike. I think I have been jaded by the sprint I raced last weekend. I had this new sense of pain and I was off to find it again. I found it alright, yup, I found it on the climb up to Horsetooth reservoir. I forgot to put on my heart rate strap that morning so I was free, unencumbered, unaccountable for the sheer absurdity that my heart was beating at. I loved not being tied to that little bugger.

On the way back into town there are a series of rollers. My legs were squarely underneath me in this section and I could feel the watts in my quads. They were fired up and wanted more. There was a group of boys that went by me and I enjoyed the “pass the group of boys”, “watch the boys all pass me”, “get my legal distance behind them”, “repass the boys”. That little game had me hard charging all the way back to transition. My new bike QR Blackjack was CRAZY today. She loves going fast and the better shape I get in, the more she is going to shine. She has a crazy streak in her, so I just hold on and pedal!

I get into T2, set Blackjack on the rack, and I sit down.

Left Shoulder: “Sonja, why are you sitting down”

Right Shoulder: “Because I’m tired”

Left Shoulder: “Sonja, you’ve never sat down in a triathlon”

Right Shoulder: “I’m just going to put my shoes on and then I will get up and run”

Left Shoulder: “I think that’s a good idea”

Out I ran and the only thought that went through my head for the first mile was “Sonja, you biked way too hard, your legs are trash”. We hit the one mile mark and even though I knew exactly where it was I couldn’t believe I had 5.2 more to go.

They were painful, all 6.2 of those miles. I enjoy that this race is an out an back run because you can get a sense of where you are. I was passed by a woman who was 27 and she was haulin’. I was really glad she wasn’t in my age group. I dished out about 20 low 5s on the course. Lots of friends out there racing.

Troy and Annie and my parents in laws were near the turn around and Troy told me I was winning my age group. That’s always the goal for me.

My mantra for the day was “Never Settle” and I didn’t. My legs cussed at me the whole way but I managed to push them to keep running hard and not slow down. Good legs!

The last 1.2 miles were awesome. There were so many people cheering and whooping it up. I was having a blast and smiling up a storm. I just felt like I had a good day and I was happy with the effort my body put out. The kids ran and cheered when I went by and Troy gave me a big Whoop Whoop!

Annie held out a feather for me as I ran into the finish line. She never ceases to amaze me with how much she loves being out at the races. It’s so much fun for her to hang with all her buddies that she has met through the years. I know that she is creating memories that she will have for life, and I love all the different and unique people that she has the pleasure of interacting with. It’s so good for the kiddos.

So, all in all, it turned out pretty darn good. I ended up with second overall in the race and got handed an envelope with a little bit of cash in it. Can’t turn that one down and it was a huge surprise to me. Congratulations are in order to my podium mates Megan Riepma on her win and Wendy Mader as well.

Congratulations to everyone that raced this weekend. Huge props to all of you. I couldn’t do it without my awesome sponsors who bail me out of all sorts of crazy things I get myself into like my own personal bondsman. Love all of you! A special thanks to Roger, my father in law, who took all the photos on this post. He so totally rocks!


Boulder Sprint 2011

PIC 1 and PIC 2 with Bike 1 and Bike 2, and a side of Pookette

I’m pretty sure that the last sprint distance triathlon that I raced were the first and second races I ever raced. It’s a fun, but painful distance. All huff and puff and no “Ooh look at that cute bird.”

As I described in my previous post I was going no data, no results for this race. None of you have spilled the beans, which I thank you for (especially you mom).

Even though PIC and I decided in the challenge rules that we would allow HR monitors, I decided to go technology free. It’s a sprint….less time than a half marathon (I think?) and I figured I could do without. I didn’t even change to race wheels, so I raced with a PowerTap on the back, but no data collection devise, I’m still laughing about that one.

Okay, I decided that today I was going to RACE. Really RACE, like just go for it and swim, bike, and run just about as hard as I knew how. It’s a sprint, what’s the worst that could happen? (I now have the answer to that question)

The swim was pretty good for me. I lined up in the correct spot. I did find myself swimming towards the second turn buoy instead of the first turn buoy about 1/4 of the way into the swim. I saw a kayak quickly moving out of my view of the first turn buoy and put two and two together. Oops! But mistakes like that never really cost as much time as you think they do (at least that’s what I tell myself, and it’s not like I’ll ever know…I love not looking at the results). I swam hard, about as hard as I know how to swim in the open water, and for me I felt pretty good about it. I also kicked the whole swim, which was really fun in my TYR Hurricane, very buoyant. My favorite thing about that wetsuit is the arm mobility. Mucho Bueno!

Out of the water I see (hear) Troy and he says I’m 11th and 1st is about 4 minutes up. The hunt was on!

Onto the bike as fast as possible (I have no idea how fast I was or wasn’t in T1) and I was out of there. Feet in shoes, and down in aero, go go go. I passed Melanie coming out of the reservoir. We swim together in masters and are really similar ability so that gave me an idea that I was at least in the right ball park with my swim. Note to self, next time I race with Melanie, I’m totally going to sit on her X-gymnast feet for the swim. I’m sure she will love that!

I just went for it on the bike. I raced, I went hard, I went harder, I went hardest. That sounds bad…

Last night Troy and I watched a few episodes of House (love that show) and one of the lines in it that was told to House on many occasions was “You’re an idiot.” Well, I’m riding hard and I’m looking up to gauge when I will pass the next person and then I’m putting down my head to “push push push”. Then I will glance up again, and then put my head back down. I was trying to ride hard. I have my head down and I glance up and I had misgauged the space I had. As I look up I am pretty much completely on top of this poor man, who it’s most likely his first triathlon. Like I am about 2 inches away from running into him, I’m in aero, no hands on breaks, and I’m going a degree of magnitude faster.

I yell “Oh Sh!t” because I am going to crash, and by some small miracle I fly by him, within less than an inch. We don’t tangle bars, we don’t even touch. But I was ll <—- this close.

Sonja……you are an idiot.

If I ever can find that guy (and believe me I have been trying), he’s going to get the biggest apology and care basket I can procure.

Sonja….you are an idiot.

Okay, back to going hard, this time keeping my head up the rest of the ways. I was counting down ladies as I passed them. “You’re in 10th, you’re in 9th, double pass, you’re in 7th, etc, etc.” I counted down to 5th by the end of the bike.

I had the most perfect dismount on the face of the earth and came hauling into transition. I saw one bike on the entire rack. I thought about just quitting right then and there and sitting down and patting myself on the back. “Nice bike Sonja, solid effort, no need to run, let’s just go have lunch.”

Yea, right, I threw my stuff on and off I went running. I didn’t even put on sunglasses. I saw Troy again and he said I was in 3rd. I saw Kati and she said the girl ahead was really close. I looked about 30 seconds up and found her. She was haulin.

Speaking of haulin’, here is PIC kickin’ it into high gear.

I set off to just run as fast as I could. I hit the 1 mile mark and was like “seriously, I’ve only gone 1 mile!!!!” At the turn around I hadn’t made any time on the lady in front of me, and I also saw that there was a girl hard chargin’ behind me and she was close. Crap. I dropped the hammer and in 1 mile I was right behind the girl in front of me. I stayed there just a second to collect myself and then made the pass.

Right at the end of making the pass, where I’m starting to loose my uumph, the girl that was hard charging passes me. Crap. Go with her. RACE SONJA. I try, ooohhhh I try. She gaps me. I try harder, she gaps me even more. I ran that last mile with all I could, and we finished very close to each other…but with her in front and me behind.

I didn’t have it in me to make a counter attack, or better yet, if it was in me, I didn’t use it. The final stretch was full of “goSonja” from lots of friends and family, and Kompetitive Edge teamies (love you guys).

The funny thing about a sprint for an IM athlete is I finish the race, and I’m not even out of the chute when I feel basically “fine”. 2 minutes ago I was on the brink, but 2 minutes later, I’m like “what a fun little race”.


So, what did I learn from the no technology? LOADS! For one, I loved it. I loved “RACING” and not looking down and thinking “You are going to blow up because your heart rate is 184”. It was primal, and organic. I raced.

I also think that if I had the results to look at I would have been happy, complaisant you might say, and I think I would have ignored the lesson of today.

What was that lesson? When I got passed today, that WAS the race. Everything I had done up to that point was just to get me to that point. Getting passed was the crux (if you are a climber). What did I do at the crux? I faltered. If it was that one 5.11 move on a 5.11 climb….I fell. I didn’t find the next gear, I didn’t launch a counter attack. I would have missed that lesson if I was able to see the data.

It came down to will and guts and determination, and I let it slip away. I am thrilled honestly about it, because I learned a bit about myself today, and the bit I learned will help me down the line.

I also learned that I need to get away from the numbers a little more in racing. I need to try some of this in longer races because it’s good for me to enact the “chase mechanism” in me. Sometimes that gets diluted with “I’m just going to race my own race.” The finish line has the ultimate last word, and I need to remember to respect that line.

All in all, an absolutely fantastic day, awesome from many angles! AND, my first race on Blackjack the Quintana Roo who was born with a wild streak.

Great job to everyone that raced. It was great to see each and every one of you out there. Oh, and if you didn’t get a chance to visit the Kompetitive Edge tent, check them out at either Peak or Boulder 70.3.

Ended up 2nd in the AG…you know what they say about second?


Have ¬†you ever had a race where your feelings during the race were completely different than your feelings after the race, say about 2 minutes after you looked at the results? PIC Michelle and I were talking about this a few weeks back, how especially in the early season sometimes you feel like your on fire, only to look at the results and be disappointed. I think as triathletes most of us have been there. It’s usually later in the season that you are more shocked by your results, at least I tend to be. At that point the work has amassed and fitness is harder to predict.

PIC and I got to talking and thought that one day, we should race a race and just agree that we weren’t ever going to look at the results. Do you think you could do it? It would be even cooler if you then promised to never blog about what you were doing, and never tweet about it. But I’m not that good, and here I am blogging about it.

Michelle and I are racing a sprint triathlon this weekend. Chuckie has already told us that it’s going to be pretty funny, because PIC and I are squarely in Ironman training. But that’s OKAY, because Michelle and I will never know how we ACTUALLY did.

Yup, we’re going for it. We are never, ever going to look at our results for the race.

Now, with an epic challenge like this one there needs to be some rules.

One: if Michelle cheats, then she has to give up coffee for 1 month. If I cheat, I have to loan her my Vitamix for one month.

Two: As far as Garmins go, the only data that is allowed is Heart Rate. No pace, no time, no distance (got that PIC?).

Three: And this is where you all come in. YOU CAN NOT TELL US OUR RESULTS. You see, if either of us “find out” our results through others, we LOOSE the bet. So if you tell PIC then she has to quit coffee, and if you tell me then I loose my Vitamix. Troy will be moderating comments and if he sees any funny business, your comment will be deleted, because he’s a lover of the Vitamix too.

Four: Although Chuckie is having us ride after the race, we are allowed to show up for awards. But it’s old school and we will have no idea if we got an award.

I think it’s really good sometimes to get away from the results. We can do it easily enough in training by going Caveman every once in awhile. But in racing now-a-days, who does that? Who just puts it all out there and then lets it lie? Also, it’s good to become more in tune with your body. Shouldn’t you have an internal sense of distance, pace, exertion? Macca does, Rinny does, Chrissie does, Angela does. The best do.

Also, I think it’s important to think about why you compete in triathlons. Everyone says: it’s fun! If we do it for fun then why do we look at results? It’s a challenge…don’t need results for that. How about, “When I see how fast I am it makes me feel good about myself”. That one sounds a little self centered and egotistical, but honestly, can most of us deny that statement? We often want tangible numbers to attach to the work we put into training, we want to know how we compare to others. Is this really the most healthy thing after every race?

I don’t know, but I do know that this weekend I want to try not knowing. I want to know what that feels like, and I want to explore what comes up inside me as a result. I hope it gives me further insight into the athlete that I am, and what makes me tick. Because I do know one thing, I do triathlons to know more about myself, to test my limits both emotionally and physically. That means trying new things sometimes (lots of times).





Several weeks ago PIC Michelle had a little “accident”. Bottom line…broken bike. PIC and I ride the same bikes, we wear the same uniform, we have the same coach. We are a little team of 2, we like to refer to it as Team PIC. It’s been that way for awhile, we are kinda sisters from another mother…and father. Although my parents have been known to step in as her parents, and her parents have been known to bail me out when I need a parental unit as well.

So, PIC broke her bike. I didn’t break my bike. But…she broke her bike. If she got a new bike, then we wouldn’t have the same bikes, and that my friends, is just one huge tragedy!

Needless to say, we were in the “hunt”. It was new bike time! We talked to Chuckie, because over the last year we have had several discussions about how we had “outgrown” our Isaac bikes. As we got fitter and wanted to move to a more and more aggressive position, the longer top tub prevented that. We finagled things and shortened stems and such, but PIC and I both knew that the “next” bike would be the right bike.

So Chuckie gave us a list. He looked at the geometry of all sorts of bikes and he gave us a short little list that would work well for both PIC and I’s geometry.

At the same time Ms.QR read about Michelle’s little fiasco and offered to put her in touch with Mr.QR. But was QR on “the list”?

Top and Center! Shorter Stack for the Reach put it squarely on the list.


So Michelle and I test rode a set of QR CD0.1s at IM Texas and we LOVED them. Michelle was particularly attracted to the Pink Camo, but we both discussed that color was really the least of our needs. We had bigger wants:

1. FIT – we had that figured out via “the list”. But getting on the bikes with a very quick “fit” we were both surprised at how aggressive we were able to comfortably get immediately. Check!

2. Packability – we travel ALL THE TIME with our bikes. We are always breaking them down and putting them back together so we talked at length with QR about what they had done to make the bikes easy to pack. Check!

3. Adjustability – PIC and I knew we wanted more range to be able to grow with this bike. We wanted it to be easy to change seat tilt, and height, along with handlebar and aerobar functionality. Check!

4. Speed – the bike fits, it packs and it’s adjustable, but is it fast? Has it been in the wind tunnel? What have they done to make it faster. Well we got the skinny there too. QRs are for triathletes, not TdF riders. QRs aren’t limited by UCI rules.

5. The carrot on top – would QR love us? Would they be a company that “gets” the mom blogger, the type A triathlete, the Kona bound chicks that love the outdoors. Would they like us as much as we like them?


Next up was componentry. Is that a word? Even though Kompetitive Edge sponsors me, and they always treat me so well, I was still amazed at what Ryan and Jared did to compliment the QR frame. I call Ryan my bike shop guru because he is hip, and knows his stuff. He knows all the new stuff and he has a sense of tasteful flare. If you ever have a frame you want built up, you gotta go to him. We had a conversation about what vibe I wanted my bike to have and then he went off and compiled everything, then sent me a list to “okay” and then ordered parts and built it up. I didn’t have to worry about anything, he just took care of it all, and my bike has flare, and is functional, and is hot. That’s about all I can say about that!

Ladies and gentleman, with a huge thanks to Quintana Roo for a beautiful CD0.1 frameset, and a gigantic thanks to Jared and Ryan at Kompetitive Edge, Blackjack is outfitted with full Dura-Ace, and she’s rockin’ the super new Profile Design Svet Base bar with the T2+Cobra Aerobars in white (try finding those…talk to Ryan :)).

And now I’m going to go ride my bike…a lot!!!!!

Rev3 Quassy Recap

Ahhh, so much to talk about, so little time! I just got back from Rev3 Quassy working on the staff for the weekend and I leave this weekend for Chicago where my brother in law Todd is getting married to my soon to be new sister in law Minna. We are so excited for them. Between all the travel I have been trying to fit in all the training that I can and I have tried to remain diligent in my coaching duties.

I met one of the athletes I guide this weekend at Rev3 Quassy. Her name is Danielle and she is a complete doll! It was great to see her in action, and to get to chat the bit that I did with her. She lives on a tiny little island and I can’t wait to go out and see her for a visit. Helping out other athletes is an absolute blast!

It’s always really fun working the races and absolutely blitzing yourself so that no stone is left unturned for the athletes. One of the highlights of my weekend was getting to ride in the vehicle that Eric Wynn was in as he took pictures of the PRO women during the run. I pretty much got a front and center look at how the best in the sport run.

Wow, what a learning experience. It was also the first time I have seen Angela race this year, and it’s neat to see all the progress she has made in the off season.

I took a ton of photos on my phone which was pretty funny since Eric Wynn had a HUGE lens, and I had…my iPhone… ha!

Julie – who took the win, and held off the chasing World Champ!

Rinny – hard charging to catch Julie, but hard to catch when she was out of sight.

Ang – finished 3rd and was clearly in the hunt. It was great to see her run a 1:22.

I liked to compare the ladies form and run style, all three very different, all three very fast. I also enjoyed seeing the look behind each of the ladies eyes. The look Rinny had while chasing, the look Julie had being chased, but knowing she was throwing down an excellent race, and the sheer grit and fight that Ang had behind her eyes. It was really really really motivating.

Congratulations to all of you who participated in Rev3 Quassy. I hope that we were able to make your racing dreams come true and I hope that you enjoyed the event and the atmosphere of the race. We all worked ourselves to the bone to provide the best product possible.

A special congratulations to my PIC who had a great race and took home 1st in her AG, we are proud of her!!

And now, I am back to training HARD, and loving it. The weather has turned to summer here in Colorado and we have already been treated to some 95 degree days. I’m eating them up!