Sunday, April 08, 2007

70.3 California

March 31, 2007
Oceanside, CA

The first race of the season is usually just a test of fitness to see where I am at and what I need to work on. I found out this weekend that there is much work to be done! I must say that I am quite pleased on my swimming as I was able to exit the water just behind a very strong swimmer and in front of some other strong swimmers. My cycling however needs some work and I think that will come along just as soon as I build my new Felt DA time trial bike! My running was steady, but I know I can be a lot faster. So, without too much whining, the race went like this....

No matter how often I wake up before the crack of dawn on race morning, I always wish I had more time to sleep! I stayed with my friend Rachel Sears and am glad to say we were pretty much both on the same morning schedule. After a quick stop at Starbucks for a bagel and water, (yep, I brewed my own Peet's coffee at the hotel) we were on our way to Oceanside (we stayed about 15 minutes north.)

After driving around anxiously trying to find a parking spot (we were misdirected for parking) we eventually found one and rode as quickly as we could amongst all the other athletes trying to make their way to the transition area. After setting up, I did a quick jog around to try and warm up, it was pretty cold despite the clear conditions. Yes, I said clear conditions as opposed to the two years prior when it was rainy and overcast. I believe however that it was much colder due to the fact there there wasn't a cloud cover.

I must say that the night before the race while getting my gear bag together I had completely forgotten to buy elastic laces!! The one most important thing on my list (yes, I even had a written list of items that needed to be taken care of) and I forgot. What was I going to do???
I luckily had a pair of lace locks that I could use, so I put those on and just accepted the fact that I had to race old school! There was nothing else I could do. Thank goodness I had the lace locks or I would have had to tie my shoes...heaven forbid!

This year there were double the number of women pros racing...36 of us on the line. We swam out in between the start buoys and waited for the gun to go off. I really need to work on positioning myself better as I was squished between the hordes of women all vying for the pole position. I was surprised at how rough this swim start was and quickly found myself in a slower pack than I had wanted to be in. I was able to maneuver around a few women and get on the inside and saw a few women ahead of me and chased them down. I stayed with them for a while, but noticed that I had a lot more in me so decided to attack again and go after a smaller pack. This time I moved to the outside and finally caught up with them. I stayed there for a bit and then I noticed there was still more women ahead of me and they weren't quick that far so I decided to make yet another jump. I was now in front of my little pack just prior to the turn around buoy. I tried as hard as I could to catch the women in front, but I was unable to and swam the rest of the way by myself; there was however one woman who went by me and even though I wasn't able to stay on her feet (she weaved too much) she was only a few feet ahead of me for the duration of the swim. I exited the swim and ran the approximate 600 meters to T1 where I quickly took off my wetsuit and grabbed my bike to head out. After mounting my bike and riding not more than a few feet I heard people yelling that my tire had fallen off. I stopped and notice that two guys were running past me as my tubular tire lay on the ground. I spun the bike around and ran back to grab my tubular and stuff it into my rear pocket on my singlet as two girls rode past! I had used electrical tape to secure the tubular but unfortunately it wasn't strong enough to hold it in place. I had lost about 25 seconds, but it was enough not to be able to catch Malaika on the bike. She had a great ride out there!

It took me just over 20 miles to finally get warm. I can't believe how cold I was and I think that it hampered the beginning of my ride. I did however start to feel much better towards the end of the ride once we started a bit more climbing. My back was also starting to hurt so I had to keep making adjustments to my position as I rode. I was happy to be pulling into T2 and after a not so speedy transition; I forgot to put elastic laces on my shoes so only had regular laces with lace locks...what a difference! I felt pretty good for the first couple of miles but with about 3 miles to go I noticed that I was slowing down. I kept an eye on the women behind me in hopes that I could hold them off but no such luck as one women passed me with about a mile and a half to go. I was however able to hold on to 9th place. My total time was the same as last year's which was disappointing, but it was the first race of the season, so it was nonetheless a good marker of where I am and what I need to work on for future races.

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