The alarm went off at 3:15. And oddly, it wasn’t so bad. I hopped in the shower, and progressed through my race morning routine. Race day is all about routine. It’s a way to add some sort of control before the madness hits. At 3:30 Troy was up and packing the car. With the car packed and idling we ran up and grabbed Annie from her crib to transfer her to her car seat in one quick swoop. 4am and we were off, headed to Boulder, Colorado, triathlon capital of the world, for my second Olympic tri. The Boulder Peak triathlon is the most well known of the Colorado triathlons, every one who is anyone comes out for it. They have a huge pro race and all the top of the line age groupers are out in full force.
The course is a challenge. The swim is the swim, as they all are, but the bike is WILD. The first 7 miles are up-hill, ending with a 15 degree hill called Olde Stage. On the other side of Olde Stage is a steep downhill with a speed limit, complete with two Boulder Police officers with radar guns enforcing the automatic disqualification if you exceed 35 mph. There is a section of 10 “rollers” just to keep your heart rate above threshold. It’s a challenge.
The run course is out and back and is the complete opposite of the bike. It’s flat, hot, boring, stupid, lame, and frustrating.
We arrived at the Boulder Reservoir at 4:45am, transition opened at 5. I got a really good spot on the transition racks, laid out my stuff and got the heck out of there. It seems to me that transition becomes one of those places where people like to hang out and waste time. This can’t be good, you can psyche yourself out looking at others peoples bikes, or bodies. The whole point of transition during the race is to get out of there as soon as possible, so I figured I should do the same pre-race.
At Nationals I didn’t warm up well so I wanted to change that this time around. 45 min before my wave I went for a 12 minute run with my iPod. Then came back, put on my wet-suit, said hi to my best friend Amy who came to cheer, and got in the water for a swim warm-up. This was a must have. I felt like I got all the kinks out and didn’t feel so anxious at the start. I will always do a swim warm up now!
My age group was in pink caps and we were the third heat. Off we went. The swim felt much better, I was sighting off those around me, and sticking to ladies heels. I watched the buoys pass one by one. Out of the water and off to transition...it was a long run up and over a hill, and they didn’t sweep transition so I was stepping on all sorts of rocks and junk, youch! My wet-suit came off soooo super easy, quickest ever. Off I went on the bike.
It took some time to get into the bike, it’s a bit tough knowing that you are starting off with 7 miles of up-hill. My teammate Tyler passed me, he looked so good, like he was having fun, and like he was having a strong day. He said later that he matched my cadence out of transition and that I was pedaling really well, thanks Tyler! As we headed uphill I noticed a lady in front of me CLEARLY drafting off the lady behind her. I just kept thinking “Get a Clue”. Olde Stage was a hoot. There were spectators dressed up like the devil on the hill, it was hilarious and they were yelling GO GO GO! I found Olde Stage to be hard, yet comical, and impossible not to keep a smile on your face. So many people were out there helping us up that crazy hill. At the top I minded the speed limit, smiled at the cops, and after them got into Aero and hauled butt. I passed a “Bear Crossing” sign that the race director had made for the spot Sabrina crashed. I giggled. The rollers flew by, I passed IronLiz somewhere in there, right before her chain fell off (Eek), and before I knew it, I was heading back to transition.
My bike dismount was successful and transition was quick, I felt so good heading out on the run. SOOO GOOD. Then something happened, and I’m still not sure what. I sorta hit a point where usually I would continue to ramp up my speed but it didn’t come. I felt really hot and thirsty, but I had hydrated well before and during the race. I just didn’t have that extra edge that I usually have. The course was so hot, and so boring. My mind wandered, I wasn’t able to pull it back, and all the while I was running 7:45 pace...about 45 sec per mile off what I wanted to run. Youck. I was grabbing two water cups at each aid station and even that didn’t feel like enough. I knew I wasn’t running as fast as hoped and I was bummed and disappointed, but couldn’t seem to pick it up. Since the course was out and back I passed lots of my teammates, and that was great. It was just so nice to know that they were out there with me, and I was hoping they weren’t suffering as much as I was.
I picked it up slightly the last 1/2 mile or so, and when I finished all I could think about was getting back in the reservoir to cool off. I was definitely teary as I walked over to the res. Amy and Troy were there, they could tell I was about to cry as I said “That was really hard”. And the truth is...it was. It was a difficult race, if your off that day, you are miserable, if your on that day, then you feel like a rock star! Amy was really helpful with kind words and support. After cooling off I felt better, but continued to walk around in a bit of a stupor.
As my teammates started rolling into the finish things got more fun. Seeing them and talking to them helped. It was wonderful to hear about their races and to live their stories a little bit. Tyler ended up having a phenomenal race that day, and a lot of others struggled with the heat like I did. We all accomplished so much, we survived and some of us even thrived.
At the end of the race I thought, I’m never doing Boulder Peak again, but with some reflection, I DEFINITELY will. I can’t wait to test myself against this course again. It’s a tough one, but it teaches you where you “really” are at with your training. And hey, at least I didn’t hit a bear!
On the way home my bike fell off the top of the car. Luckily we were in the apartment complex, and it feel inwards towards the middle of the car. My front fork now needs replacing. Luckily Steve got me a good deal and hopes to have it fixed by the weekend.
Also, it turns out I punctured my heel in transition. I stepped on something nasty and got two deep puncture wounds in my heel.
Details: Total Time: 2:40:07 Swim: 31:23 (with a log run before the timing mat) T1: 0:59 Bike: 1:19:43 (19.6mph) T2: 0:56 Run: 47:03 (7:42 pace)
16/107 Female 25-29 64/539 overall woman 332/1417 overall