Tuesday, October 10, 2006
September 30, 2006
Tinley's is the only other race besides Wildflower that we get to camp. And as far as I know I am one of very few pro athletes who take on the challenges of camping the night before a race.
I got a ride with the Brigantino's because Jay had to work a bit late and I wanted to get down to Lake Lopez in the daylight hours to pick up my packet and get my gear together for the 8am race the next day.
I didn't get the greatest of sleep that night due to the fact that skunks had invaded our campsite and were rummaging through the trash that was left by the table. Our dog, Sprocket, kept barking at the skunks all night long. Oh well, at least non of us got sprayed!
I woke up early, around 5:45am to make sure that I'd get some coffee and have enough time to eat some oatmeal before I headed on down to the transition area. There was a small group of professional women most of whom I know. I got a short swim in...I should have swam longer in retrospect.
The air temp was cold while the water temp was a bit warmer which usually happens at this particular race. Here the men and women pros start together and it was a bit of a mess. I started out okay but then got bumped quite a bit and eventually found myself spit out the back just after the first buoy. I need to work on my skills within the first 400 meters...how am I going to do that you ask??? I haven't figured it out yet, but when I do, I'll let you know!! I tried to catch the pack that was just in front, but I felt so sloppy in the water that I wasn't able to and swam the rest of the 1 1/2 loops by myself. Upon exiting the water after the first loop, the ramp was covered in algae that I almost slipped a few times. Coming around the second and final loop I encountered some of the back-of-the-packers of age group athletes. I exited the swim in 22:34 and quickly was on my bike to catch as many girls as I could...sounds familiar doesn't it??
The bike course reminds me of Wildflower in that it's a two lane road in the country, undulating hills and a semi-looped course.
As soon as I left the park, I saw two women ahead of me and decided to go after them. I couldn't tell who it was, but I found my immediate goals. There was something else going on this weekend because there were more cars on the roads than in previous years...suv's towing trailers and boats. Matter of fact, I was almost run off the road by a suv towing a boat...he came so close that I had about another foot before I was in the dirt. Of course this made me angry and so I pushed the pace a bit harder and eventually caught and passed Karen L.
Now, I raced this course 5 years (this year makes 6) and I've never gotten lost or mis-directed. The volunteers have been great, but as Karen and I rode past the first left hand turn, which looked familiar, I saw a police man standing there holding up traffice and watching us ride by. In the nick of time I yelled if that was where we were supposed to turn and he non-chalontley said yes...so I yelled at Karen to turn around, that we missed the turn. We flipped and headed back (thank goodness it wasn't that far, maybe 30 sec. off our time)and I yelled at the officer again that there should be someone here directing the athletes. So, again I pushed the pace looking for my next competitor to pass. I was in 6th place after the bike turn around and Kelly C. was just ahead. I wasn't sure how fast I was going because the computer on my bike decided it wasn't going to work today!
I unfortunately didn't catch anyone else on the bike (1:09:31), but once in T2, Shozgood said that I was about :45 down from Kelly. I knew she was a fast runner and that Malaika and Linda were in front of me and that maybe I could at least catch them which would put me in 4th place. Within less than a minute I saw and passed Linda and was on my way to see who was left in front of me.
The run course is challenging because of not only the two loops but because of the rolling hills that you must go up twice! I figured if I can stay strong on the uphills I'd be better able to catch the next person, Malaika, which I eventually did. In the past, I've been able to catch up to Malaika on the bike, but she has been working extremely hard and as I found out after the race while talking with her, it was her goal to not have me catch her on the bike, and it worked.
I kept going thinking that maybe I could see Kelly once I rounded one of the corners or got to the top of a hill, but no such luck, she finished :39 ahead of me to take 3rd place while I finished in 2:11:59 for 4th. It's now a battle between me and Kelly for 2nd place in the Tri Cal Pro Series.
At the Awards
I've stepped up my training...actually, I will be consistent and have a plan for the next few weeks until Treasure Island and hope that this last minute training will pay off!