Thursday, August 11, 2005

Our Roadtrip to Bellingham, WA

Race for the Cookie
Elite Nationals
Bellingham, WA
August 7, 2005
Jay and I decided to take a road trip to Bellingham, WA for the Tri the Cookie Triathlon. This race served as the National Championship as well as a team race for me.
Mt. Shasta
I’ve raced this course since its first year in 2003 and love the infamous Alabama Hill; a climb approximately 1200m long with 16% grade at the beginning and toping off at kind of climb!

We began our journey on Tuesday August 2nd and made it up to Medford, OR where we stayed with Jay’s mom for the next two nights. We had a great time hanging out up there and catching up. On Thursday we took to the road again, but only made it as far as Portland as we had left late.
We crashed at a hotel just outside of the city and enjoyed a good night’s sleep before continuing on Friday up to Bellingham. You can imagine that we were excited to be out of the car for the next few days! Also, on road trips you tend to eat more just because. I found this to be especially true on our way home. We drove right to Lake Whatcom and I immediately jumped in and went for a short swim. The lake is glacier fed, but the outside temp was somewhere in the 80’s so the water was very refreshing. Not only was this race elite Nationals, it was also junior and U23 Nationals, so some of our Tri-Cal Junior Racing Team were here to compete as well. After my swim we went to our home stay’s house. Now, I’ve stayed with Sean, Amber and their daughter McKenna for the past two years and they are just great. One of my team mates, Patrice was also staying here so it was just one big party!

Our race on Sunday wasn’t supposed to start until 1pm and even though I tried to sleep in, I was awake at 7:40. The thing with races starting this late is that I have no idea what to do before the race; there really is nothing to do but wait and be patient and relax. The other thing is that because we race so late in the day, the day is more than half gone by the time you’re finished and by then you don’t want to do anything anyway!
Patrice and I decided that it would be a nice warm up if we rode from the house to the lake and indeed it was. It was a warm day probably in the 70’s but definitely not hot which was good for this course. Our race was pushed back to a 1:30pm start time due to the race being delayed earlier in the day. I was able to cheer some of our junior racing team before my race started and that was exciting and motivating.

Just prior to our start the announcer called us out in ranking order as we lined up on the pontoon. This was a non-wetsuit swim and dive start. I am getting more comfortable with the dive starts the more often I do them and this time it went pretty smoothly.
It was a jumbled mess as we all hit the water and jockeyed for position, but it soon streamlined out and again found myself in the back of the pack. I did come to the conclusion though that I am not as aggressive in the beginning of the swim as some of the other women are and maybe I need to work on that. I was however pleasantly surprised to have someone drafting off of me though for the entire swim!
I'm the one in the front
I had commented the day before that I would love to swim with at least one other person and today I was able to. The swim was two loops and we did have to exit the water run around the dock and dive back in to start the second loop. I could see the pack in front of me, but I wasn’t able to catch them. I exited the swim with a time of 23:42. Apparently I’m still not doing something that I need to be doing with my swimming as my times aren’t getting faster. I do however have to take into account that it was only two weeks ago that I competed in Ironman Lake Placid and it would only be natural for me to still be tired and not completely recovered.

I had a quick transition and was out on the bike course with my new swimming buddy. She took the lead and took it out pretty fast. I was a bit concerned that I might not be able to stay with her, but I got over that quickly as soon as we hit Alabama Hill and I dropped her. My goal was to catch as many women as I could on this hill. It took a few laps and I was able to catch about two more women. There were a total of six loops to complete the bike course and I was glad when I crested the top on my last lap. For having completed the majority of the bike course by myself I finished it in 1:15:10, three minutes faster than what I did this same course in!
I wish I could say that about my run too! I thought maybe two weeks would have been enough time to at least have a 10k split under 40 minutes, but on this day, it wasn’t going to be. I held my position on the 4 loop mostly flat run to finish in a time of 41:06. I did feel better though as the run progressed and figured I ran my 10k only slightly faster than my marathon pace! My total time was 2:21:14.

I really enjoy this course and will hopefully be back next year to do it again. Jay and I stayed one more night with Sean and his family and woke early on Monday to start our drive back home. We got as far as Medford and once again stayed with Jay’s mom and had some yummy Mexican food for dinner! On Tuesday morning we said our good bye’s again and headed home. What a long drive that was! Although this wasn’t my best race, the road trip, good friends and a fun race course was well worth the 32 hours in the car!
This is from the Bellingham Herald

1 comment:

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