Monday, September 24, 2012

Pre-race Report: Pulling My Act Together

So it is over and done!  

At the beginning of this year, I decided that this season would be a great year to jump up to the half-iron distance.  Sadly, nothing fit into my schedule!  Until one day, I read a post on one of my favorite blogs, The Fat Cyclist, who mentioned the Leadman Epic series.  Bingo: Saturday, and within driving distance of home!  Better news: the swim and bike were much longer than a regular half-Iron, yet the run was several miles shorter!  It was music to this weaker runner's ears.

I mean, seriously, the ride looks like this.

Was I worried?  Heck yeah.  This race got into my head big-time. Between fears that I was so slow I would time out of the race and worries about the altitude, I was a total wreck.   

Pre Race Meeting
As I checked in, I saw some of my teammates.  Teammates always make me feel better!  I am both an extrovert and a lemming.  I followed them like a lost puppy pretty much all weekend.  The Multisport Advantage is full of incredibly nice, incredibly tough people.  They are all totally on my team next time I put together a Twister tournament.  

I made it to the pre-race briefing to get last- minute info and course changes.  I noticed it seemed like many of the questions were repetitive, and then I found myself asking a repetitive question as well.  Maybe other people were as nervous as me!  The race director was funny and patient, though, so he must be used to people like us.  

I was so nervous that I didn't notice a thing unusual until two blonde women changed seats to sit next to me in the shade, and I saw their Fat Cyclist t-shirts.  I realized I was sitting next to the Hammer, who is one of my personal heroes.  I said hello.  The Fat Cyclist was sitting behind me.  

On Meeting Fatty and Family, and Other Tri Celebrities
Fangirl meets personal hero (The Hammer) and Fatty and The Swimmer.
Also currently about two feet from Matt Lieto.  Tri Geek heaven.
Suspect Fatty was totally thrilled that I am shorter than he is.

In the hubbub after the meeting, I went about my business.  This is a good time to mention that this race had me freaked out, since I haven't said so yet.   As in, so-nervous-my-hands-were-shaking.  I was having a hard time overcoming the nerves to eat, so I decided to force myself to eat a sandwich.  Just at that moment, the Hammer showed up and asked to introduce me to Elden (the Fat Cyclist).

I am not at all sure what I actually said but it came out something like, "I'm sorry, I'm buying a sandwich".  (It's the new "I carried a watermelon".)  After about a minute, I realized how horribly rude I'd been and introduced myself properly and behaved like a civilized adult.  

I was quite tickled to meet Fatty and family.  I can confirm that The Hammer is one of the nicest, sweetest ladies alive.  She was so great and encouraging!  And her daughter was also upbeat and positive.  And Fatty is also extremely nice. That guy really, really loves bikes.  He just radiates bike love.  

 He was also totally excited to meet Matt Lieto at the awards ceremony.  He's a geek that way and it's fun.  

I was too giddy about being two feet away from Matt Lieto to say a thing.  If I could have spoken, I'm sure I would have spoken utter gibberish, punctuated by adoring noises at being in the presence of greatness.  I mean, Matt Lieto was greeted at the finish line by his puppy.  How great is that??  

Oh, and he's blazing fast. As in, an 8:32:57 for the 250.  

T1/T2 set up
This is the first race where I had two different transition areas.  This is one way that this race TOTALLY MESSED with my head!  I had packed everything neatly into my luggage, figuring that I would go through it and calmly select the items I needed the night before, laying things out and checking them off my checklist, like I always do.  

Nope, that was not gonna happen.  I had to set up everything the day before, even laying out my shoes!  So the afternoon found me frantically pulling out different items of clothing from various bags for the big day.  And I couldn't find my checklist!  

Racked and ready for its overnight.  Bringing bags to keep stuff dry is a trick I learned in Nation's.
Not so necessary in the high desert of Bend!  

The worst part was the food.  My tummy was already all butterflies.  How would I decide if should leave myself a Picky Bar or Honey Stinger waffle or a Clif Bar or a Hammer gel, when all I really wanted to do was throw up? 

In other news, my BMC continues to get envious looks and fondles.  That is a hot little machine.  

And is it even possible to say enough nice things about LifeCycle and Justin and Gilad who got me on this bike and spent so much energy fitting it this summer?  I swear, when it was in for its pre-race check-up, they must have crooned lullabies to it, because that pony just wanted to run, run, run, all day Saturday.  

Coming Soon: 

Race Report.  How it all went down.  

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