Monday, September 23, 2013

Rev 3 Half Race Report

It was my turn at the front.  I stood on the ramp until one volunteer said "Go!" and the other said "wait a second."  Tara and I were confused as to what to do and we both simultaneously chose to head into the water.

The water felt nice and cool as it encircled me.  I pulled my face out of the water and luckily my goggles held without any leakage.  I went to work.  I kept pulling right and having to over correct.  I felt weak in the water as I saw pink cap upon pink cap passing me the first 1/4 mile or so.  It is stupid I swam only a few times all summer, and yet I STILL expect myself to swim better than ever.  The swim was counterclockwise and our first turn took us through a narrow marina.  I could see all the pretty boats on my right with every breathe and took note of the rock wall to my left.  I tried to site off the boats, but the water through the marina was so narrow I found myself enough to the right my hand brushed the rocks below me a few times.   Drat!!  I had to overcorrect a few times and luckily did not cut myself on any of the rocks as some did.  I started coming up on schools of pink caps around this point and even some other colored caps from the waves ahead of me.  I fought my way through packs on and off, corrected my frequent off course swimming and finally after 42:04 I was out of the bay.  It was a lack luster swim for sure, but I only had two goals for this race --- Beat Roark on the bike and PR.

I ran up the ramp to the wetsuit strippers and they were awesome.  They yelled at me to "lay down" and ripped off my suit and yanked me back up to my feet before I knew it.  "HELL YEAH" for those wetsuit strippers.  I pulled on my shoes and started my run to T1.  My foot was already aching and I trotted along for the 0.3ish mile run or so.  7:11 later I was out and on the Joker.... Showtime!!!

I was excited and I didn't think I went out too hard on the bike, but as I flew down the first stretch I was  flying by people.  No one was even close to my speed.  I wore my regular helmet, removed my aero drink system and took only 2 bottles.  Today, I was kinda fighting the system, although I was on a tri bike with 60s (but all that came on the bike - no special upgrades for today).  Roark was on his fancy tri  bike, aero helmet in place, and 10.5 years of youth up ahead of me somewhere.  I had my work cut out for me.  I had ridden a lot with groups this summer and the aero position had become a little foreign to me but I forced myself to drop down.

The wind was insane.  It felt like it was every way I turned.  I could only tell it was worse from the north and the east because it would be a little less worse when I turned south or west.  I had never raced in conditions like this and the crosswinds made holding my front wheel straight a bit challenging.  It had crossed my mind Roark was running a disc on the back and I prayed he would be safe in this wind.  We hit the first town and a busy intersection that had 2 police officers signaling and directing traffic.  I approached with another girl thinking they would stop the traffic turning left in front of us, but nope.  One of the officers put up his hand and signaled for us to stop.  I yelled "Seriously, you're stopping us?"  The cop yelled back "Yes!"  I was pissed to say the least.  We stopped as instructed.  I couldn't believe it.  It was only a few seconds before we got going again and I pedaled hard trying to make up for lost time.

I continued to pass people left and left.  No one was going as fast as me so I didn't need to worry about drafting of blocking penalties.  I saw a few packs riding together most looked unintentional but a few were definitely on purpose.  I watched one guy sitting about 1 bike length off another guy passing when he passed and pulling right back into the draft on the lead guy.   A little irritate, I thought about telling the guy he was giving the guy behind him a free ride, but I thought "you know what if that guy needs to draft to go that fast and beat me, well then he's already lost."  I didn't care.  I already knew I was better on the bike than that wheel sucker.  I hit the one steep little hill called "the teddy bear" on the course and hit it just right so I only had to work hard at the top for a few seconds (too boot I got the QOM on Strava too -- holla'!!)

The course loops back on itself and heads out on 113, which is my least favorite road.  The wind was all in my face and too add insult to injury it started raining.  My left hip flexor was cramping and sending a radiating pain around to my back and I resolved to just take it easy and ride through it until I could turn off this Godforsaken road.  I snuck a peak at my Garmin one time and saw 14.x mph at one time and boy was that a bad idea.  Disgusted, I just kept pedaling, trying to be patient and get through this segment.  My only comfort -- I was STILL passing people and significantly faster.

I turned off the dreadful 113 and started to make my way back to Cedar Point.  My left hip was still cramping on and off but it didn't matter I was pushing 20+ mph practically spinning (boy had the 2 weeks of easy cycling leading up to the race helped).  I told myself repeatedly, "Ride like DaisyDuc."

The wind was even worse on the way back and I fought to stay on my aero bars.  The worst being the Cedar Point Road on the way back.  The wind was blowing the water from the Lake so hard I could feel the spray as I rode.  All my attention was focused on avoiding pot holes and keeping the front wheel straight.  I passed a guy that  yelled "You're slaying it girl!!"  I was pumped I knew barring any mechanicals I was going to break 20 mph even in this mini-tornado.

I made it to the park and soft pedaled ripping my feet out of my shoes.  I jumped off my bike and ran for T2.  My race was over.  I had biked a 2:43:12 and averaged 20.6 mph, but would it be enough to hold Roark off?

T2 - 1:36 (debating dropping out vs. hobbling though 13.1 miles.

I changed my shoes, grabbed my flask and visor and headed out for my 2 hour trot.  Memories of the year before hit me as I ran down the causeway.  I was moving about a minute a mile faster this year though and I would only have to do 1 loop (thank God).  I hit the first aid station and yep, you guessed it I asked for ... Coke.

My foot held for about 5-6 miles before it really started aching.  I never saw Roark on the course, which made me think he was having a pretty good race and had put quite a jump on me out of the water.  I would later learn it was about 11 minutes (I suck).  I saw SG and throughout the remainder of the miles.  We would exchange shouts of encouragement whenever we saw each other.   I was slowly closing the the gap until about mile 9 when I started cramping in my left leg.  My hamstring and calf had checked out.  I couldn't close the gap.  I always dread this part of the race where it hurts so bad and your done, but the race isn't over yet.  It f*cking hurts.

With 2 miles to go I caught SG and encouraged her to keep pushing.  She leap frogged ahead and I was jealous of her energy and strength as I was on E.  I reeled her back in though with a little less than a mile to go.  She seemed ready to be done at this point to, but we were not giving up.  We fought the last headwind of the day together, pushing each other to the finish.  We looped through the finishing shoot and each made silly poses (SG jumped and I did some silly pose with my nieces signature deuces).  I managed a 2:00:56 for the half.

Total time was 5:34:58 (12+ minute PR)

I even managed 3rd in my AG as 1st was actually 2nd female overall.

And who won the bike you ask..........

Well, he did by 4 FREAKIN' seconds.  It was a hard pill to swallow, but next time the Maillot Jaune is mine!!!!!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pre- Race for Rev 3 Half

So the summer has been all about the bike (contrary to what Lance's title book says -- hehe).  I had finally broken the 200 mile mark in a week of riding and had been pretty religious about getting out 3 or more times a week to ride.  I was also addicted to "Strava" and beating Roark on as many segments as possible.  That said when I was offered a FREE entry to the Rev 3 half I couldn't turn it down.

Not living near a lake and absolutely detesting running, due to the same old foot saga I had more than enough excuses to capitalize on the bike, except for the fact that I broke the joker on August 21st, just 2 days before my crash a year ago (it's pretty obvious I should not ride the joker this week in the future).
 Luckily, Roark would not allow me to go into withdrawals and had me on a road bike for the 2 weeks leading up to the race.

On Saturday morning, the day before the race, the joker was fixed.  It was better than ever and I longingly took it out for an albeit short 15 mile test ride in the morning before heading to Cedar Point.  Sitting on the joker felt like home and my legs felt great.  It took all I had not to "rip it" that morning and open 'er up.

We hit the expo first, so we could make the earlier mandatory athlete meeting.  There was lots of nervous energy and excitement in anticipation for tomorrow's race.  Rev had a green screen set-up this year for the athletes to have a little pre-race fun and we couldn't resist.  Tomorrow we would swim, bike run, but today we would bumper cars!!  We couldn't pass up the chance to do the "deuces" sign for my niece, G.

We then racked our bikes in transition for the evening.  I covered the seat and handlebars just in case as there was a chance of rain.  I also hoped treating the joker well the night before would assuage him to treat me well tomorrow (after barely 1 year I have been through more with that rotten S.O.B. than most people go through in a lifetime on a bicycle, including crashes, flats, broken parts, etc...).  We had suffered through a lot together and tomorrow I knew would be a sufferfest but hopefully not in vain.

We checked into the "spooktacular" hotel and took some silly photos before dinner.

Then we headed to Sortino's to meet Cash.  He was doing the full distance again.  There was a moment of sadness as I thought of DaisyDuc and how the 3 amigos had not been whole all summer (due to me, not racing) and the laughs of last year I had experienced with them.  She would not make it for my race tomorrow, but she would be there in time to drink beer and celebrate as we cheered Cash on through the miles of the marathon.
We jokingly, struck a pose similar to the year before and got SG to sub for Daisy.

2012 3 Amigos Whole & Full :)
There was a moment of confusion due to the photobomber (pay him no attention), but it all worked out in the end.

Sunday morning came all too fast for me as I slept like crap (maybe 3 hrs).  I took a hot shower in hopes of waking my butt up for the race, had some crappy coffee and (2) instant oatmeals before cracking my ankle on the end of the bed (then I was awake -- son of a b^tch did that hurt!!)

The humidity was high, but the wind was in full effect at 6:00am when we left the hotel.  It was way warmer than last year at this time of the morning.  We got to the race and started setting up our gear.  Roark was definitely more excited and nervous than me.  I knew my race would start with the bike and end with the bike the rest was just stuff I had to do in between like going to the bathroom, ultimately you want to pee, but before you do you have to find a toilet and sit down and then when you're done it's still not over because you have to wipe and wash your hands, but honestly all you really cared about was peeing!!  You get the drift.  There is always a moment of ten on racing morning when I think of pulling out of the race and DNSing.  I couldn't come up with any legit reason, so I left my bike racked until it was too late and they closed transition.

The swim got moved to the bay so I decided to drop shoes at the swim exit as the run would be 3-4 minutes being as it was somewhere around 0.3 miles to transition.  We were going to have to swim through the marina of boats on the right with rocks on our left and then beyond that the break wall would be a crap shoot if we would have calm waters.  I was also unfortunately, in the last wave and was going to have to fight my way through not only the water, rocks and boats, but also the slower swimmers.  The only good thing was it was a time trial swim start, 2 at a time every 3 seconds.  I lined up for the swim start with a girl named "Tara" who was nice enough to zip me up.  As we moved closer and closer to the front I thought "I hope these goggles don't leak, since we have no warm-up" and "just step out of line and DNS because this is gonna hurt a lot."  I got closer and closer to the water and held my ground until....