After a disappointing race inPortland due to a flat tire, I was stoked to get another opportunity to race so shortly afterwards. The Athlete’s Lounge inPortland took good care of me re-gluing my front tire and loaning me a spare set of wheels to ride for the week. Thanks to teammate Stu for providing a spare challenge tire on the spot.
The week between Portland Rev3 an dLakeStevens was spent inPortland. I took advantage of my remote position at Grainger allowing me to work from anywhere. I worked from Marian and Chris’s house or coffee shops around thePortland area. This was my first time working and training on location preparing for a race. I am usually very strict with my diet and sleep patterns pre-race. No coffee for 2 weeks, no alcohol or gluten for 1 week. All these rules went out the window, I was eating whatever I wanted, drinking coffee every day and drinking wine every night. (not something I’d repeat) These changes threw off my sleep as well.
We headed towards Everett, WA late Friday morning hitting massive traffic. The 3 hour drive turned into a 5-6 hour drive. Upon arrival we immediately hopped on our bikes for an easy spin and get the blood flowing. Just 3 minutes into the ride we hear a huge pop. NOOOOOOOOO! My back tubular tire blew. Now I handled the 1st flat quite well, having never gotten a flat in 6 years of racing it was due, but this was too much. I pulled a complete Norman Stadler on the side of the road, threw my bike in a ditch and ran away. This was the first time Owen’s seen me lose my temper, at the time he was baffled and unsure of what to do. (Now we both wish he would have recorded my temper tantrum because it would have been awesome to document).
We called every bike shop in town and none were available to glue a tubular Friday night. In addition to this my Iphone completely fried on Thursday, things were just not going my way. Upon arrival to the expo on Saturday we learned the mechanic had Tufu tires which use the taping system, they were able to get my back wheel set up again without the 48 hour time constraint with typical gluing.
Race day conditions turned out to be less than ideal, cold and rainy was predicted throughout the day. There was no precipitation as we began the swim. I positioned myself to the right of Tenille but similar to last week Mirinda squeezed between us prior to the start. After the gun Mirinda was pushing me outside unsuccessfully. I had now learned not to let big names push me around in the swim. I pushed back as we fell off Tenille’s feet. My stomach began to churn right away and my wetsuit choked my neck, I was forced to slow down and let my stomach settle. LakeStevens’s swim course aligns the buoys along a boat cable beneath the water. This allows little to no sighting to stay on course, Mirinda and I fought for the line, we swam side by side throughout the swim.
As we rounded the last turn buoy Mirinda moved towards the outside of the course. She was following the shortest line, I choose not to go as far as her, but still had a straight line into transition. We approached some kayaks which appeared to be blocking our line to the swim exit. When they saw Mirinda coming they immediately moved out of her way. This would not have been the case had I been swimming alone (see previous Kansas blog as the lifeguard wrapped her buoy around me when going “off course”) I made a mental note to swim with big names from now on.
We exited the water together, I came through T1 slightly before Rinny although she caught and passed me towards the beginning of the bike.
As we rode on it began pouring rain, the bike course was hilly and very technical. During my first huge descent I became aware my cork brake pads were getting absolutely no grip on my carbon wheels. I had to take these hills easy if I didn’t want to lay down my bike. My legs felt surprisingly good climbing but I was definitely losing time on the descents. I was just not willing to crash to get ahead in this race.
At mile 20 my chain dropped. I quickly hopped off and struggled to release the chain, it was stuck between my small ring and frame. As the SAG wagon approached I freed the chain and hopped back on my bike. I lost about 1:30 with this mechanical. Shortly afterwards I caught all those that passed me while stopped and was riding alone again in 3rd place. My feet were now numb from the rain and cold temperatures which seemed to be dropping. I was riding head down concentrating on pedal strokes. As I looked ahead I saw a mama bear followed by 2 baby bears crossing the road right in front of me. I sat up and said aloud, “OMG SO CUTE”. I turned and there was nobody to share this experience with. I got back down and started riding harder. Who cares if it was cold, rainy, dropped chain whatever I’m out here in the forest doing what I love in nature. I couldn’t remove the huge smile from my face.
Towards the end of the bike the fast amateur men began catching me. I was careful allowing them to pass and immediately dropping back 5 bike lengths. At mile 50 Mackenzie Madison passed me barreling down the wet descent. I was still riding over cautiously to avoid a crash. I stayed behind her for awhile until some men got between us and I had to give them the appropriate non-drafting space.
I rode into transition in 4th place, feeling miserable. My feet were completely numb, I struggled to remove them from my bike shoes and dismount. After a slow transition I slipped and nearly fell on a stray wetsuit. An official asked if I was ok, I nodded and said my feet were numb and heard a huge sympathetic sigh from the crowd.
I was staying on my pace throughout the first loop, although Uli’s pace was faster, she passed me at mile 4. My run just felt forced and I couldn’t get my core temperature up. As we neared the finish of the 1st loop around came leader Tim Odonnell and Owen to my surprise. They ran this entire loop together (Owen’s 1st, Time’s 2nd). Next Chris Legh ran by looking strong, he was definitely preparing to pounce on Tim which he did in the finish shoot.
At this point I was able to sight Mackenzie and Uli taking note I was now 3 minutes back from Machenzie. I could also sight 6th and 7th place women behind me, I had a sizable lead. During the 2nd loop I got to see Machenzie and Uli battling for 3rd position. Noting that I hadn’t lost any time on Mackenzie she was still exactly 3 minutes ahead of me. I was passed by Gillian and Beth at mile 10, they were running strong. My stomach had begun to churn and this pass took away all confidence in my run. They were pushing a much faster pace than me and I couldn’t hold on. I slowed down again to allow my tummy to settle and ran the remaining 3 miles in easy to a disappointing 7th place finish.
This was my first super cold and wet triathlon, it confirmed I excel in the heat. I simply can’t run with the faster girls when their speed increases in lower temperatures. I’ve also learned if I want to race with the pro’s I need to sleep, eat and train like a pro, lesson learned. Owen on the other hand had another phenomenal race, not only did he run the 1st run loop with Tim, but he negative split his 2nd loop for another 1:21 run split.
Congrats to Uli on her 4th place pro finish, Owen on his 5th place amateur finish, Mirinda and Chris for their pro wins, and Darren for his age group win.
post race margaritas were well deserved in Seattle.