Monday, June 18, 2007

Tri 101

Lakeport, CA
June 10, 2007
A new series began this year called the One O One. If you add the distances of a 1.86mi swim, 80.6 mi bike and 18.6 mi run, the total equals 101, clever, isn't it??? Not only are the distances unique (3/4 IM length) but the prize purse is one of a kind in our sport. I skipped out on the first race in Bradenton, Fl; but when I looked closely into the race, the June event in Lakeport, CA looked pretty appealing. After researching the course and the participant lists I decided to sign up. It's been about 2 years since my last IM and about 6 years since I've completed this 3/4 IM distance.

I should also mention that I have decided to terminate my quest for the 2008 Olympics. Briefly, my motivation was low to train for the specific races (ITU & World Cup) as were my funds to chase these races around the world. I was in debt after the 2004 Olympic Trials and with my wedding a few months away my goals have changed. I do not regret my decision as there is always the possibility of an Olympics in a different sport...

Race morning in Lakeport saw clear skies and a small participant field. It's also been a long time since I've raced a small race and it was great!! The race organization as well as the plethora of volunteers through out race day and the the entire weekend was absolutely superb!

I was a bit more nervous than usual probably due to the fact that this was a long race and I was a bit under-trained. I was out to race this race and not merely to finish (although that is always the first goal, no matter what!)

The men and women pros had an in water start and a 5 minute lead on the amatuers. It was a wetsuit swim, but very quickly into the start I wish it wasn't as it got pretty warm as we swam the two loop course. I felt as though I couldn't quite get my rhythm together but managed to get in with a pack. I tried to keep it comfortable as I knew the swim was only the beginning of a long day. My time for the swim was 40:05 with a T1 time of 1:00.

I came out with a pack of men and women and was pretty quick upon exiting T1 as I eventually found out within a few miles of the bike course that I was in 3rd place. The bike was advertised as a flat course done three times. I don't know where these reports came from but it wasn't all that flat of a course. I'd actually call it rolling hills! It was a nice course although the roads were quite rough in spots and with each consecutive lap the wind began to increase. During the second lap, I noticed that the velcro that was holding my spare tubular had come loose and the tubular had slipped out of it's velcro grasp. I fiddled with it for about a minute and knew that I had lost some time on second place; but I couldn't afford to loose my spare, just in case.

These long races are always a learning experience no matter how many times you've raced. So, my learing experience during this race came on the second loop when I knew I needed to eat. I had started to feel sleepy during the ride. If I could, I would have stopped and taken a nap on the side of the road. It was the most bizzarre experience. I knew at that point that I needed food desperately if I was to hold onto third place. I missed food at a few aid stations and had eaten all of my gel that I had taped onto my bike. I was finally able to pick up my special needs bag as I rode through transition on my way to the third and final loop. I had a bit of trouble getting my goods out but eventually was able to. While digging around I was passed by a women. I tried to keep my eye on her for as long as I could, but my main concern was getting in the nutrition.

After eating and drinking I felt much better and was now focused once again to keep my mph as high as I could keep them...oh and not to get passed again!

I could tell that my cycling miles were not enough in the weeks leading up to this race. Note to self: Ride more in the months leading up to a long race!!

I came into T2 in fourth place after riding 80.6 miles in 3:51:23 (20.9 mph) and was glad to get off and start running. After my :43 transition, I was on a mission to run some girls down!

The only flat section of the run was in the beginning and it only lasted for a mile at the most. The rest of the run was either up hill or down hill! I kept a strong pace and at the only out and back section (maybe a mile each way) I was able to see how far ahead the women in front of me where. I didn't see first place who was minutes ahead of me, but I did see second and third place probably a minute ahead of me and as I made the turn around I saw fifth place like a bullet train out of control. How long could I hold Kim off??? Maybe a little over a minute. She eventually came up along side of me just long enough for each of us to say "good job" to one another and then she moved ahead. We were on a gradual up hill where you can see a good distance in front and there about :30 ahead was second and third place. I was now in fifth place, but that would only last for two left hand turns as I passed Karen Holloway and Heather Wurtele (Kim had ran into second at this point). I was now back in third place by mile 7 of the run. Now all I had to do was at least keep myself in this position for the second loop of 9 miles.

I should mention that as you complete the first loop of the run, the course takes you the outide of the transition area by the crowd of spectators before heading out on the undulating course. The mantra that I remember saying to myself for the remaining loop was "top 3 for me, top 3 for me!" Over and over I kept repeating this little saying until it was a constant hum in my mind. At the turn around I kept a watchful eye on who was behind me and how far away there where. But to my surprise I saw no one. I was safe for now. Towards the end of the run, even though I knew I was tired and I'm sure my pace had slipped, I had a renewed burst of energy as "Top 3 for me" was now a solid reality! I looked one last time as I rounded the last corner and saw no one...I had finished in 3rd place with a run time of 2:18:21 and an overall time of 6:51:31. I was approximately 12 minutes behind 1st place and 9 minutes ahead of fourth place!

I had forgotten how long these races lasted but I know what I do a half IM it will feel least I hope!

After this fantastic race, the organzers and the volunteers I am contemplating on signing up for another 101.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I came upon your blog indirectly Alexis...fabulous work! I raced with you waaaay back in Lusanne in 1998- my first worlds. That is forever ago- ha ha. Best to you in your quests...marriage will be the best by far! Congrats!