Thursday, September 29, 2011

Belews Makeup Race

Belews Lake Triathlon was supposed to be my first race of the season but it turned into the last. Funny how things come full circle! I first blogged about the Belews Debacle back in April. I guess due to its title it also happens to be my most popular blog post. I would like to reflect on why this might be the case but I will stick to the point for now.

This past Saturday morning instead of feverishly texting all my racing buddies I solemnly packed my car and ate my breakfast. Since the spring race had been postponed to Sept 24th Set Up Events gave the registrants the option to do the makeup race or one of three other races in the series. Unfrotunately everyone else jumped ship leaving me to fend for myself at Belews. Struggling to eat my breakfast and find anything to motivate me I headed north towards the small lake created by Duke Energy to provide cooling water for the company’s largest coal burning power plant. Needing a break, I stopped at a rest stop and ran into Tanya Houghton of all people! The two of us have been racing against each other for the past two years even when we didn’t know it. I suppose seeing her put a little pep in my step. It was nice to run into a familiar face but it was neat to run into such a tremendous athlete at a highway rest stop of all places! She is headed out to Kona this week so I wish her the best of luck!

I arrived at the race site significantly earlier than I was expecting so I had plenty of time to go through packet pickup, transition set up, and a quick warm up for once. I usually find myself scrambling pre-race since I have a tendency to run late. After a little swim warm up I was ready to line up for the time trial start. In most races, your wave starts as a group and it is a complete free-for-all when the gun goes off (hence the need for me to work on my get out speed). This time we had to submit a 100m swim time and then we were seated accordingly in waves of 2. My wave partner, Happy Frank, was not there opting to train for his Ironman in Kona (no big deal) so it was a lonely start for me. I was looking forward to swimming against Happy Frank since he whooped up on me as relay members at the Cane Creek triathlon. Ok . . . ok, I will admit I was looking forward to a little bit of redemption, mono e mono. So instead I focused my brusied ego on the two open males in the one wave sending off a mere 15 seconds ahead of me. Right before the start it began to rain . . . and thunder. I was worried the race would get delayed/postponed/partially cancelled. Luckily none of those things happened and I was off chasing the boys before I knew it.
It was still raining as I headed out on the bike. Luckily neither me nor the rain was going hard enough for it sting but it did turn the roads into a puddle-fest. I tried to ignore the weather but towards the end of the bike I was starting to worry about the steep dismount into T2. Testing the brakes I knew it was very possible I would not be able to stop without fishtailing or crashing. I came into T2 very conservatively and luckily I was able to keep my stead steady.

Looking at my happy
feet or convincing my
feet they were happy?
Heading out on the run my thoughts were only focused on “happy feet.” Since this race was a time trial format I had no idea how quickly my competition was chopping away at my head start. I tried to focus on not worrying about what everyone else was doing and just on getting to the finish line with happy feet.

5th race. 5th win.

The award for the top three finishers in each category was a set of four stemless wine glasses. On my way back home I fought the urge to stop at Trader Joes so I could celebrate my victory with my new glasses and some “2 buck chuck” but instead I opted to drive to Augusta, GA to cheer on some of the local athletes at the ESI Augusta 70.3. Good start to a great weekend!