Friday, September 16, 2011

The Bike Ride: Race Report, Part 2

Suddenly, after the months of training and obsession, the alarm went off at 4:30 and it was race day!  Actually, the alarm clock, two iPhone alarms, and the wake-up call all went off.  I'm thorough like that.  The Marriott did a great job having the coffee shop open at 445AM.  Nothing makes my M happier than hot coffee at ungodly hours.   Once at transition, I set up my space using my very cool Gyst bag.  After a rainy week, transition was already a mud bath.  Other athletes dashed jealous looks at my bag, so cubular and dry.  Some of them were using the time-honored method of grocery bags for transition bags.  Others had floppy backpacks that did not stand up clean and cubular like mine.  All my gear was arranged and dry and clean!

Terrible shot in pre-dawn lighting just barely showing my racked bike and my Gyst bag.  I racked next to the girl with the race wheels figuring she'd be long gone by the time I got to my bike.  In the end, we weren't that far apart after all.  

I headed out of transition into my swim corral where we'd all line up for our time trial start.  Well, I headed out and then came back to get my glasses, extra water bottle, breakfast, gloves, and arm coolers.  They close transition at 6:45, and as I'm heading out, I always forget stuff!  Swim starts are definitely easier since I don't need to decide in the swim if I need my arm warmers or coolers- today, I had both in my hands and hedged my bets for an hour.  I was sure glad M had brought me a backup pair of running shoes from Oregon- my backup trail runners got soaked and muddy that morning.  I was so happy to have my "street" running shoes dry for the run!

I noticed a ton of bike jerseys and lot of other girls in skorts- I guess without the swim, a lot of us decided to go for the cuter clothes that we usually can't wear under a wetsuit!

Props to DC Tri Club member for her National Anthem.  Unlike so many of the celebs who add vocal riffs and make the song into a performance, she sang it simply and cleanly.  She has a lot of class as a performer!  The crowd started singing along for the last bit as the sun rose slowly over us.

I didn't get to see the start of the race since we were all packed into our corrals.  I was surrounded by men in earlier waves.  Even though I'm tall, I still couldn't see over all of them.  If I stood on tiptoe,  I could see some of the bikes heading out on the course, but it was almost an hour before the corrals emptied enough for me to see the time trial start.  Each age group corral was sent down the "RUN IN FROM SWIM" chute, and sorted into groups of 12.  At intervals of 10 seconds, we were sent off to our bikes.

Waiting for my time trial start.
As we grabbed bikes and ran to the course start, we faced the biggest mud puddle of all- it was deep, sucking, and plenty gooey.  Most of us threw our bikes over our shoulder and one of the girls cracked, "Hey, we're doing tri-clocross!"  Let's just say- back at the hotel later, it took almost 20 minutes and using tweezers as a pick to get all the mud out of the various crevices of my shoes!  

My bike was blazing.  It's not just the flames on the saddle.  It was seriously blazing... fast!  My split was 1:14:xx which means an average MPH of 20.0.  Here in Eugene, I can usually hold 17-19 if I'm really, really booking it.  But DC is pancake flat, plus it was cool and had a smidge of humidity.  I guess my bike liked it!  I was a little worried that I'd blow up on the run course for going so fast on the bike, but what can I say?  I tried to hold it in, but my pony just wanted to run.  I jumped into the passing lane and stayed there most of the race.

At first, I was surrounded by my own age group.  (Women 30-34).  About 10K in, I started seeing the age group ahead of me (the younger women).  I started in the B corral for my age group- I realized I had worked my way through most of my usual pack!  But soon, I started seeing a lot more men!  I was a little shocked to realize I'd worked my way up that much in the pack.

Overall, I felt unstoppable on the bike.  I ate my honey stinger waffle as planned and downed a couple of Margarita Shot Blox, which I am convinced saved my race.  The bike was shady and cool, but you'll hear more about the humidity shortly!

Again and again, I thanked my Eugene stars for all those hills.  Hutch's and Multisport Advantage spent the summer dragging me up and down hills all over town, and at the time, I suffered and suffered.  D.C., on the other hand, is pancake flat.  There's a teeny little roller here and there... but it's so much smaller than what I've been riding that I felt like I was riding with afterburners when I surged up those hills.  Ever climb an off-ramp at 17mph?  Yeah, me neither until Sunday!  I had the unique experience of having the race volunteers calling me to slow down. 

All too soon- barely 1:14:xx later… I was rolling towards the dismount sign.  M was hoping to nab a hardcore competition shot, but I saw him and started waving madly.  Here’s the happy shot, instead. 

Happy bike!  I had actually worked my way up so far that I was among the girls who were taking their feet out of their shoes while still on the bike.  I've never been that far up with the fast girls before!
TOMORROW:  The Run- Chasing a Sub 1-Hr 10K Again:  Sodium, Oh Sodium, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?  

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