I arrived at the race site too early, as usual, I’m punctual to a fault. The perk was that my parking spot was ten steps from transition. I mentioned how cool transition was in my last post but let me reiterate. The pros had a section right next to the age groupers and the race staff had printed banners for each pro. The cool thing was in the morning you could watch them all get ready and you knew who was who.
It was also neat to see whose bike was whose. Matt Reed’s Fuji looks like the bat mobile, and Amanda Lovato has a pink camo rear disk wheel, how hot is that?
I set up my transition stuff, realizing that I forgot a pair of scissors. I had to ask around for a pair which was a little awkward, but I needed to cut the loose ends off the new race laces I installed on my new K-Swiss K-ONA s, and I also needed to trim some of the velcro on the “bento box” I bought for the top tube of my bike. Wowzer, I’m becoming such a long course triathlete, next thing you know I’ll be sporting some aero bottle thing! I hit up the porta pottie and on the way out I saw this guy that had an absolutely amazing spread of Ironman tattoos wrapped around his ankle. I asked it I could take a picture. I had to take two…
I can’t even comment on what I think about that…
The race numbers for Rev3 were made by the same company that does the ones for the Ironman events, so you had your name on your bib. This is a pretty awesome perk when you are at a race all by your lonesome. It’s nice to have spectators yell your name out. I also had a new Trakkers uniform to wear for this race. I was a little sad to not be suiting up in my Practical Coaching outfit, but I was here to support Trakkers, and after putting on the new race kit I was in love. It’s so stinking comfortable. The Practical Coaching kit better watch out! PLUS, racing in lime green you sorta feel like some sort of reptile, but boy did I stand out!
I suited up and turned on my Trakkers device. I was able to successfully get it into Trakking mode, but I noticed that it was having trouble keeping cell coverage and kept blinking red. I gave it a kiss for good luck and headed down to the water with my new friend and teamate Kelly where we helped various people turn their Trakkers units on and get them into Trakking mode.
A few of the waves were switched around and before I knew it they were calling for purple caps. I lined up, and off I went. The course was a large triangle with big orange turn buoys and large white sighting buoys with the Rev3 logo on them. I got out well and I swam to the right of the buoys. I had trouble finding consistent feet so I just tried to stay steady and set a strong pace. After the first third of the race the wave behind of men started passing me and for some reason I was feeling good. I hopped on every red caps feet that I could and when I would loose his feet I would wait for the next red cap to pass and would hop on those. It kept things quick and kept me from getting bogged down. I had a really strong second half due to this little tactic of mine. I want to thank Tyler for letting me hop on his feet in my last long swim, because it gave me a chance to practice with someone faster. At RAGE I swam a 36, and this swim was a 33. It felt more like a 33, and I was happy snappy with it.
I exited the water 7th in my age group, and low and behold, no Troy. I know this sounds silly, but I was looking for my husband, even though I knew he wasn’t going to be there because he was back in Colorado with Annie playing stay at home daddy. It was a long run through the amusement park to transition and by the time I got to my spot my wetsuit top was off, and my bib was pulled down over my hips.
I didn’t even notice if other bikes were there, or if they were gone. I just threw on my helmet and got the heck out of there. I exited transition 4th in my age group and I thought immediately of Steve’s advice before my first 1/2 Ironman in April…”The first 5 miles of the bike don’t matter”. I just think it’s crazy to go flying out of transition on the bike. It takes time to get warmed up, your legs are cold from swimming. I really feel it’s necessary to tread lightly the first five miles of the bike course. Well, come 2 miles in a lady in my age group comes flying by. Oh dear, I swear Steve was speaking in my brain “Let her go, she will come back to you”. Man she looked so strong. I named her “red shirt with name on the a$$”, turns out she is Kona bound Adrienne Saeger and she was one fierce cookie! But, I needed those first five miles, so I let her go.
It took about 15 miles to get warmed up. It was one of those situations where it could have gone either way. I could have felt heavy and crummy, or I could warm up and feel good. Luckily at mile 15 the legs let loose and I could feel any stiffness melting away and they were starting to tell me to go go go. The course was insanely technical and hilly. I swear it was UP, DOWN, TURN, UP, DOWN, TURN. There were like 50 hills and like 50 turns, it was insane. But, that kept it fresh, and it kept you honest. Every turn had a police officer and five or so volunteers. Each turn also had a sign depicting what the turn was like so that you knew how to set up for it. It was these kind of touches that were above and beyond what 99% of races achieve.
The bike has tough, and I put in some hard work, but it went by relatively fast. Towards the end there was an out and back section. I love these because you can figure how how far down you are on your competition. I was 2.5 minutes down from red shirt with name on the bum, but I was only 10 seconds up from a girl on my tail. She soon decided to make a pass. It seemed that she wanted to play a game of cat and mouse. I’m not really cool with that, sometimes it can keep you energized to have a little competition, but I was more into racing my own race that day. She also wasn’t obeying proper passing laws, namely getting her three bike lengths before attempting to repass. I didn’t want to risk any sort of penalty. Every time she passed she was breathing very heavy, so I finally put a little kick into my pedals and ended the games.
We had a crazy technical downhill and I rode it in a way that would make Steve and Tyler and anyone else who thinks I ride downhill like a sissy proud. I killed the turns and didn’t touch my breaks. At the bottom of the hill where we had to ride up what seemed like 10 more never ending hills at the end of the race I finally saw red shirt with name on the tush. I was patient, and she did indeed come back to me. I was proud of that. It wasn’t long ago that I wouldn’t have been that patient, that I wouldn’t have played things that smart. That was big for me.
Of course all I could think from that point on was “But can she run”? We got into transition and she was off ahead of me. I decided to wait back and see what she was laying down. I figured she went out hard on the bike and maybe she would do that again on the run. I found out very quickly that “The girl can run”. She can run like nobodies business. I admit, it was a little disappointing, yet challenging at the same time. At mile 3.5 I was just off her shoulder. I had worked to catch her.
We then hit the section of the course called the K-Swiss mile. It’s a timed one mile uphill section that is brutal. I’m from Colorado, but the grade of the hill combined with how compromised my legs were at that point…I didn’t have a lot to give to the hill, and red shirt with name on the bum pulled away from me big time. One mile later she had one minute on me and she would keep that minute on me the rest of the race. She would finish just one minute ahead and I had her in my sights the entire 13 miles, but wasn’t able to mount another attack, she was strong, and I think she will race great in Kona!
Why no attack? Well, let me tell you, the stinking course kept getting in the way. There was hill after hill after hill. They were insane, and thank goodness for those volunteers. They were skilled and did such a great job. I was taking water, gel, and bananas at the aid stations and they were great at handing things over and getting you what you needed. The course was very pretty, but it was just so dang hard that it took all I had to keep focused on the task at hand. Good runners were walking. The last hill I saw a guy just give up and walk, and he was running fast up until that point.
When I knew I was coming into the finish I got so excited. I couldn’t wait to run through that neon finish line. It was such a fancy chute, I was excited, and I was proud of the day I had and the manner in which I executed my race. Nothing but joy coming down the line. We were handed water, a medal was put around our neck, and we were given a finish shirt and a goody bag. More Schwag!! This race was schwag-a-licious.
Again, a little strange to be all alone. No Troy, no hugs. Just, OK, I’m done. And being in the front of the pack there were just the pros and a few age groupers that were finished. I headed to the massages. After a short and adorable conversation with Amanda Lovato she hooked me up with the lady that did her massage because she was good.
Oh my was she good. She worked on me for 45 minutes and I SWEAR that’s why I feel so good today. She worked everything that hurt.
Troy called me after my massage with the results and I was really pleased.
This course was much more challenging than the RAGE course, but my time was pretty similar. I felt it was a strong effort and I am excited to see what the season continues to bring.