Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Latta Sprint Triathlon

Race day eve came fast after an uneventful week (minus Tuesday’s flat). After work I ate an early dinner and spent the rest of the evening packing and prepping for the early start the next morning. I was already looking forward to seeing how the race was going to play out, among both the men and the women. So many locals were signed up to race, Captain Visor jokingly called it the “World Championship of Charlotte.”

Since the race started at 6:30 I planned to get up 4 AM to enjoy a LUNA bar and a cup of coffee (with Trader Joe’s soy hazelnut creamer – my favorite!) Race day I try to eat “my breakfast” 2 hours before the gun goes off just to make sure I have to ole digestive track rolling. The only thing I wanted to do differently this race morning was to get on my spin bike to warm up the legs a bit. I have been noticing on training rides that is takes me a ridiculously long time to warm up – 30 mins or more. With a bike split goal around 44 minutes, I just did not have the time to wait for the legs to come together during the race. I think I only ended up on the spin bike for 8 minutes but I think it helped nonetheless. Off the bike and in the car, my excitement was starting to turn to anxiousness as I drove to the race site. Luckily, once I got to the race site I simply did not have time to be nervous. I just had enough time to rack my bike, set up my transition and pick up my chip on the way to the swim start.

Swim (11:17) – Standing at the start, the water felt too warm and I felt a little too sick to the stomach but when the gun went off, I was all in – and so was everyone else. The swim start was just as chaotic as ever but I was surprised at the number of people who went aggressively out to the front. It seemed like there were several people ahead of me but all of a sudden there were none but one. Like last year, I ended up following behind Brad Perry’s ridiculously large lead to be the second person out of the water. Almost 30 seconds slower than last year but the swim was definitely hotter and maybe longer?

T1 (1:55)

Bike (43:55) – I went into the bike portion of the race anticipating my bike split was either going to make or break my entire race. I had an aggressive goal for my bike split so I was excited to see if I could do it. I took the 2.5 miles through the state park conservatively. I stayed in my smaller chain ring to spin out my legs and to bring my heart rate and temperature down from the swim. Maybe I did not need to spin out for quite the entire 2.5 miles as I was passed by at least 6 guys but it seemed to workout for me in the long run. About 1.5 miles out I was passed by HaycraftGTWD. He bet he would pass me at mile 1. I bet he wouldn’t pass me until mile 2. I think 1.5 means no one was the winner here. I did have to laugh (slightly) as I noticed the tiny letters, “H-T-F-U,” scrolled across the butt of his tri shorts. I found the bold statement in their plain white 1 inch block letters amusing. I guess HaycraftGTWD is a fan of acronyms. Feeling inspired, I think I am going to get “B-A-M-F” in big bold letters across my butt – at least I have a little more surface area to work with.

The rest of the ride was just fun. I eventually got passed by two more guys. These guys didn’t quite pass me with the gusto the other guys did so I made it my mission to stay with them. Every time you get “sorta” passed at a race you have to decide which would be more detrimental to your race: staying behind another racer (in accordance to USAT rules) or going back and forth with another racer. So when Farrah passed me and then immediately slowed down, I knew I would have to pass him back. But when Acks passed me and continued to hold pace, I just tried to follow his lead. He eventually dropped me and Farrah passed me back again when we entered back into the park but at least we did not waste an extra energy see-sawing back and forth the entire ride.

T2 (1:17)

Run (21:10) – My run started with a brief conversion with Farrah. He slipped me a compliment on my swim and bike and then exclaimed, “Girl, I hope you can run!” I think my response to this was to hang my head and whisper, “no, not really.” My laments were brief, however, as Farrah continued to egg me on and as I was realizing I had not seen another female in transition or coming in on the bike. Waiting to get run down is no way to win a race!

The 3.1 mile off-road hilly run went by remarkablely fast. After the first turn around I saw Giant 1 heading towards me with a big smile on his face. I saw Vespa biking into transition and was later chided by him for wasting my energy cheering for him. I saw Mancess and YMCAisSXE looking comfortable and strong as they made their way through the field of competitors. I crossed the finish line with what felt like fresh legs, elated not only because I was the first female finisher for the day but also because I hit all of my target splits.

Last year Giant 1 told me one of his goals for 2011 was to get a picture of us at Latta, both with first place trophies. Well there is definitely something to be said for having aspirations. Great work Giant!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Over the Mountain course and back

Well let me begin by saying what a week! Last weekend I had a great training weekend. . . again! Saturday morning I swam with my MAC masters group before I met up with Vespa for a little rendezvous with the Over the Mountain course in Kings Mountain, NC. I have never competed in the Olympic distance triathlon put on by Set Up Events but after previewing the course I am certain I will do it next year. The race is a point-to-point race meaning there are two transitions instead of one. We started at the swim start and rode over to the swim finish. The swim is an unbelievable crossing of Moss Lake. I will admit the swim looks so long standing at the top of the hill overlooking the boat landing but the water looks like a dark oasis in deep contrast to the hills overflowing with green. As I stood there I soooooo wanted to cannonball into the glassy water but unfortunately no swimming is allowed, except on race day. Without further delay we rode the OTM bike course from T1 to T2 in downtown Kings Mountain and back again.

The course consists of a beautiful set of roads that wind though the Kings Mountain State Park and the Kings Mountain National Military Park. My brother started a hobby of collecting national parks. I did not know one could “collect” national parks but it all started when we were in Hawaii and he and his wife visited the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. When he is not sewing patches on his commemorative blanket he is blogging about his excursions here.
Maybe we can all ride out there next time he is in town! Or maybe he will just threaten me with an old fashioned big brother-little sister beat down and we will just drive.

I think during the entire ride we were maybe passed by 5 cars. I would definitely rank this as one of my top three rides this year! Next time I am in the mood for a long ride I am going to ride there instead of drive. After the we finished the ride and I was able to overcome my now overwhelming desire to cannonball into the lake, we drove downtown to take our turn against the run course that make their way through the adjacent neighborhoods. Our workout concluded with live music and “gospel rapping” from the neighborhood block party and a little play time with the kids in the dancing fountain. While there were a lot of odd people out and about, I am fairly certain we stood out in the crowd both soaked and in spandex.
May 30 - June 5
Run: 20.5 mi
Bike: 134.1 mi
Sw: 11,400.0 yds
 Monday came fast, however, and it was back to the grind. One way you can tell you had an awesome weekend is when you wake up Monday morning and not know what day it is! A little yoga, some swimming, throw in a dash of work and then it’s time for the Tuesday night ride. For every up there is a down right? So Tuesday night’s ride was characterized by a big ‘ol flat tire – a flat tire I rode for about 8 miles. I had a slow leak in my front tire that caused me to cut my ride short. I was making good time getting back into the city but at about the time I needed to stop and change the tube, I found myself in the not-so-great section of Charlotte. Luckily I made it back to Inside Out without incident. It wasn’t until the last turn up Summit Road that I rolled the tire and almost bit it. I swerved to the left, swerved to the right, entertained the locals, but eat pavement I did not! Better to get any incidents out of my system early in the week so as to stack the odds in my favor before the upcoming race!

Up next Latta race report . . .


Monday, June 6, 2011

Weekends!

Well luckily my recovery period from White Lake was short and sweet! I took the opportunity to travel to Charleston to visit with some friends and the beach. From training, my tri kit tanlines were a little out of control so I was hoping some r&r on the beach would help out a bit. Despite strategically placed sunscreen, my thighs are still slightly two-toned. I guess it did not help that I actually spent more time training than I did on the beach. While it was my intention to recover during my visit, I ended up having one of the best workouts I have had all season Saturday morning. Ever since then I have been on a bit of a training high that I hope continues! Anyway, Saturday mornign I hooked up with a small group of riders. Anyone knows the smaller the group, the more work you have to do but when half of your small group is composed of cat 1 racers then there just isn't anywhere to hide! I ended up riding the fastest 60 mile ride I have ever been on. There were 10 mile stretches where we averaged over 27 miles per hour! While I was quite intimiated by it all, I did my part to pull through and participate in the paceline. I had so much fun I am wondering now how I can incorpoarte bike racing into my triathlon racing. Is it possible? After the ride I immediately went into my little track routine and then finally the morning was complete. My best training day so far this year! I went to Charleston to unwind but left quite wound up instead!
May 16-22
Run: 17.9 mi
Bike: 101.0 mi
Sw: 4,000.0 yds
(slacked off on the swimming a bit, he he he)

Of course all good things must come to an end, so with both the Charleston trip and recovery week over it was back to the grind!
May 23-29
Run: 21.6 mi
Bike: 154.9 mi
Sw: 14,900.0 yds
(did not slack off on swimming this week)

Maybe I was still on a cyclist's high (and not the steriod/blood doping kind) but this past week was full of great bike rides. I have not been on my tri bike since the race so maybe it was just getting back on my trusty yellow Felt that got me all excited. The highlight of my week was perhaps going to see the National Pro race in Greenville on Memorial Day Monday. I have never actually been to see a road race. I have watched crit races but no road races, and especially not one with this level of athletes. It was hot in Greenville but worth it. After 100 miles of racing, the finish came down to a photo finish between George Hincapie and Matthew Bushe.
Here is a link to an article and pictures from the Pro race taken by Mr. Weldon.

And here is a picture of some of the best looking spectators!



Oh yeah, AquaGeek is mad at me because I forgot to show up at practice at 4:45 the other morning. Oops.