Hi All! Below is my Quassy race report. I don’t have many photos, I’m sorry. What is here from race day Michelle Beeson took, thank you!!! It’s quite wordy, you’ll have to use your imagination more than usual! Enjoy!
Driving to the race that morning, MIchelle and I in a red little Chevy thing and Kathleen following in a Red SUV we hit EVERY DARN LIGHT on the way there. It was comical as we sat there at 5am waiting for the light to turn green, not a soul in sight.
Red lights or not, we made it with time to set up transition. I had the sweetest spot I’ve ever had in a race. I’m pretty sure it was better than 90% of the pros. It’s such old hat setting up now, doesn’t seem to matter if it’s oly or half, same stuff for the most part. I keep it as minimal as possible: run shoes, hat, race number. My bike shoes are on the bike, all my nutrition is on the bike, helmet on the aerobars. That’s it, do it quick, a little air in the tires and get the heck out of the crazy land that is transition. I tend to race without sunglasses because they bug me…but I do try to train with them (when I don’t forget them…don’t get mad dad).
PIC Fordy-Ford and I headed back to the car and put our bags back. The parking lot at Quassy is right next to transition and all cars are accessible. We Tri-Slided up, threw on a few Trakkers temp tattoos on our calves, and grabbed the wetsuits. PIC headed to the potty and I headed to the water. I got in my exercises from Josh, and sat in the WARM water for a little while. I saw all the waves go off and waited for mine which was second from last. All the mens waves went off before the ladies. PIC was in the last wave 3 minutes behind me. I knew she would pass me in the water and I would need to catch her on the bike, if I could. If not, then the run maybe?
I got a good spot on the start line, and I got out well with little contact, and I found some feet for a little while. Somehow I got stuck in a little group of three, all of us idiots swimming shoulder to shoulder to shoulder. I was in the middle and we were drifting off course. I would try to veer back on course, only to smack the girl next to me over and over. Eventually we got sorted out and went around the first turn buoy. I got on a set of feet that belonged to a girl that was the same speed as me, so I felt like I was swimming too easily on her feet, and I kept tapping them. Apparently she did not like this (I don’t mind people tapping my toes in a race by the way, I just assume I have a friend with me, you wanna join the party…hop on board). She stopped, turned around a little and kicked me. Wowah! So, I swam off. Yikes. Wow, I wonder what her heart rate was! Dude, life, and racing, is soooo much better when you chill out a little.
So then I proceeded to swim in a general off course nature for a while. I actually missed two buoys, but they weren’t turn buoys so I’m assuming that it’s okay. The last several buoys I finally started getting into a rhythm and was feeling some mo-jo. I exited the water 5th in my age group (out of 28) in a somewhat slow time of 34:29. Anthony also swam a 34 and we swam the same at Knoxville as well, so either we both swam bad, or it was a little long (PIC swam a 27, so that makes it seem not long, or…she’s a fish right now). Who knows! Either way, it’s all good!
I was through transition super fast (1:20) cause my spot rocked the house. Off on the bike I knew that I would recognize much of the course from last year (only a few modifications to the bike course this year) and I knew that my Trakkers teammates were manning the mile 29 aid station so I was looking forward to seeing them. I got going into the bike and it’s always dicey the first few miles. It’s where I get an idea if my legs decided to show up. Would they ache and need a longer warm up, would they be stiff, or would they feel good and rested? I don’t know how on earth, but when I took roll call, and I said “Legs?”, they said “HERE”. Boo Ya. I didn’t spend much time easing in, I just started rolling.
About 10 miles in I spotted PIC. From 100 yards back I could tell something was wrong. I got up to her way too quick, I would have expected to reel her in very slowly, if at all. When I pulled up next to her she said “I’ve already flatted”. I immediately thought, “She’s still 3 minutes ahead of me and that included a tire change” (b/c she started 3 minutes back on me). So I told her “Your still three minutes up on me, it’s okay” but as I rode on I didn’t get the feeling that she was coming with me (not in a drafting sense, we don’t draft, it’s not legal, but in a “momentum” sort of way). I could feel her frustration, it’s the first time she flatted in a race. I felt for her.
I rode on and I tried to focus on myself. Getting back into my rhythm was easy, everything just felt so good, and the work was work, but it was fun, and I was racing. I did a lot of smiling because my legs showed up for work and I LOVE it when they do. Since we started behind all the men it was constant passing. Always chasing and passing the next guy. I passed one of my Trakkers teammates Chris on the side of the road with a flat. There were a lot of flats, but really nothing on the road that I noticed that would lead to flats…strange. Chris had it taken care of and he passed me a little later in the bike looking strong. Then I passed him back, then he passed me back. And then he was gone.
This bike course is so dang challenging. It’s definitely the hardest bike course I have ever ridden in a race, and many others were agreeing. If you did Rev3 and you know of a harder bike course, I’de like to hear about it! There were 87 hills…in 56 miles! Steep buggers too! I stayed focused the entire time, taking the turns as strong as I knew how, and being bold on the descents. I watched my heart rate and my power on the climbs and tried to stay consistent and evenly paced. I was surprised to be descending at 40mph in my aerobars. At home I tend to play the chicken card.
The mile 29 aid station ROCKED. My Trakkers teammates were full of so much energy, and I gave them lots of smiles and loves, even though they were directly after this gnarly hill. It’s was a blast to see Michelle (anthony’s wife, not PIC) at the aid station because to me, she is a piece of home, and of family. By the way, she volunteered BOTH days. I love her!
Here is the handoff to Amanda Lovato. Nice one!
Onwards I went. We got to the out and back and I started counting ladies. It was hard to tell who was an age grouper, and really, who was a woman (as sad as that sounds) but I thought I was in the top 5-10 non-pro chickas and that got me excited. I looked for PIC behind me and I didn’t see her, which made me worried that she had flatted again, or had DNFed.
The last miles I was feeling the climbing in my legs, but they were still very much underneath me, going strong. I wondered if I was going to beat the 3 hour mark and it looked like I would. Rolling back to transition I started counting ladies in earnest. I could see the numbers on their arms and knew that 2 digit numbers were pros. I saw that my teammate Kathleen was in the lead and I told her so. There was a lady hot on her tail and then I saw maybe 4 other ladies, but couldn’t make out numbers on them. I rolled in off the bike in 2:52:35, good for the 6th fastest amateur bike split. My bike is really coming along and that has me excited. I’m feeling more powerful this year and my legs have gained some “girth”. Yes, I just said that word.
It was go time. I was FIRED up. I rolled into transition and I was back out 0:56 seconds later, socks and all. Boo Ya! By the way, I love my new Saucony Kinvaras. They rock the house. Totally squishy and supportive, in 7 ounces. LOVE THEM and they are my Ironman shoe, FOR SURE! I have found that I do prefer a minimalist shoe. My feet feel stronger when they are allowed freedom. A light weight trainer is about as heavy as I like to go. Except for a trail shoe…but this year even has me thinking differently on that front.
So I take off running and I know that the first 1.5 miles is really the only sustained downhill section of the course. It’s not time to settle in, oh no, it’s time to take advantage of the downhill and RUN. I came through the 2 mile point in 14:05. mile 3 was 7:00. About 1.5 miles in a lady cheering said “nice job ladies”. WAIT, “ladies”, that’s the last thing I wanted to hear. So I turned around and looked. Crap, she’s right, there is a lady in black right on my tail.
Of course it shocked me for a second, how long had she been there, was she gearing to pass? But then I remembered…calm, think, no need to race anybody. Just run the best race you know how and if this lady is still around in about 11 miles, then you can reassess. I generally like to run my own races. So I decided to do just that. I relaxed for a little while and then checked up on my heart rate monitor and settled into a similar heart rate that I had maintained the first three miles which I had run entirely by feel. That really worked for me. Then we entered the hilly portion of the course. And there were lots of hills for 11.5 miles. Big hills, little hills. Short hills, long hills. Hills above, and hills below. Red hills, blue hills, yes I would like two hills, Sam I am.
And again, this was the most challenging run course I have ever been on in a tri. But I had prepared in my head for it, and my legs were on FIRE (in a good way). My abs were working strong and I was standing tall, keeping my form, and smiling for the most part. I came upon Robert from the Terrier Tri Club. I LOVE Robert, he’s adopted us Trakkers folks and he is just the nicest guy, even though he once cleaned up dog poop with a Trakkers shirt. On purpose. I thought about slapping his butt when I went by him, but wasn’t sure if it was appropriate so I pulled up right next to him, shoulder to shoulder, all quiet like. He said “I knew you were coming, how are you feeling” I gave him a big thumbs up and he said “Go get em girl” and SLAPPED MY BUTT! Hahahaha. I felt so loved, in a Terrier tri club kind of way!
And off I went. I reeled in lots of people and it was really motivating. Around mile 5 I finally saw a lady in the distance and I worked hard to reel her in. When I got up to her I saw she had a “P” on her calf for PRO. I felt bad then, knowing that they started 30 minutes ahead of me and she must be having a tough day. On a short out and back section I was super relieved to see PIC. Whew! She looked a little miserable, but I was just happy that she was still putting up the good fight.
Of all the people I passed I only had one guy go with me and he was the cutest dude. At one point I kinda freaked out and turned to look at him because his footfall was so soft and light I thought he might be a chick. After my look back he pulled up next to me and said “I’m sorry to tailgate you but I can’t seem to pass you”. I said “As long as your not a girl it’s fine”. We ran close to each other for most the race. It was really nice and motivating. When he felt strong I would work to stay with him, and visa versa. I think it’s always fun to find a buddy on the course.
There were so many hills I can’t even tell you about all of them. I had an 8:16 mile in there, seriously steep! But I was still running fast(er), taking names, and feeling good. On a second out and back I passed another PRO and I saw I was in 5th (amateur), with 4th in sight. I worked hard to run her down and when I pulled up on her, I saw a “R” on her calf. So I pulled up next to her and said “Are you a relay?” She said “yes and you gals are crazy”. I love that! And then I ran on. The final mile was the most brutal on the entire course with a very demanding and steep prolonged up hill, it was a 8:21 mile! Ouch!
Just before it started I had a visitor. Charlie (owner of Rev3) pulled up next to me on a golf cart! He said “How ya feeling?” and I said “GREAT, I’M IN 4th”. He said “Yea, but there’s a girl right behind you”. He’s ALWAYS giving me flack and I knew better than to believe him. Plus I knew that if anyone challenged me at this point in the race they would loose, I felt super strong. BTW the lady that was close to me at the start never made a pass. Funny how much can change in 11 miles. We chatted a little, and he asked if I wanted a ride…which I did not! Silly Charlie. Rides are for quitters.
Coming into the finish was awesome. I had talked to Troy the night before and asked him what he wanted me to do on the finish line. I knew he would be watching on the live coverage that Rev3 does and he said to jump up and down (original, I know). I came down the finish line and I went CRAZY. I was skipping, and jumping, and leaping, and just being generally crazy, all for Troy. The crowd was laughing and the announcer was getting a kick out of it. I hope I was at least a little entertaining out there! He was watching, and he was laughing. I blew him kisses into the camera too. I was really happy. My run split was 1:40:47, the 3rd fastest amateur split, and only 39 seconds off the fastest amateur run of the day (but not even close to all but two of the pros).
To finish 4th overall non PRO is awesome, a great result for me (5:10:07) on a hilly course. They awarded top three overall, so I was given the age group win, being 4th, although the first overall woman was in my age group, so it’s kinda like a 2nd age group, if we are to get technical. All that is exciting, and always fun, but the best part was my LEGS! It was such a boost in confidence to remember what it feels like to have my legs under me, to feel like I can race hard and strong. The border collie was out in full effect today, taking advantage of being off the leash. I felt like the Sonja that I like to be with lots of smiles, lots of go-go power and lots of Grrrrr. With IM CDA three weeks away this race was a really good confidence booster and I feel ready to tow the line in three weeks.
I’ll admit, it was hard to see PIC come in, tears in her eyes. She’s such a trooper and the rest of the day she kept saying “That was the hardest thing I have ever done, I wanted to quit 100 times”. By the way, she was 2nd in her age group. Her blog is www.gofastmichelle.com
A huge thanks to Charlie. I love the Rev3 races and was really pleased with Quassy, just as I was last year. The course is challenging, but it’s honest and it’s a true test of your stamina, strength, pacing, nutrition, and heart. If you are all up into your times, or want a super fast course, this is not that. But if you want to find what you are made of, if you want to challenge yourself, or…if you just want to race at an amusement park…then this one’s for you.
Also, I can not thank Vahid and Shallah enough for hosting not one, not two, but THREE of us crazy Trakkers triathletes at their house for three days. They fed us and took amazing care of us. Many humble thanks!
Chuckie… thank you Chuckie, thank you Chuckie, thank you Chuckie!!! We are getting there aren’t we?