Sunday, July 12, 2009
San Fransisco Triathlon at Treasure Island
Yesterday was the 9th Annual Treasure Island Triathlon in San Fransisco, CA. The night before the race, a group of us had our usual dinner at Barney's...gourmet burgers, yummy spicy curly fries and I decided that a glass of wine sounded good as well. It was a relaxing and enjoyable dinner with friends.
Saturday morning I slept in til just past 7am and then Shoz and I took a nice walk to Peet's and Noah's. My race didn't start until noon, so we had plenty of time to take it easy. I pulled up the start list for the race and noticed that I was the oldest elite female! Too funny. I was 14 years older than the youngest elite woman. I had my motivation...Show the young ones how it's done!!
We arrived at Treasure Island just after 10am and I proceeded to the bike check-in. Because this was an ITU Pan American Cup, all elite athletes had to make sure that bikes were legal (aero bars, helmets, etc). I felt pretty relaxed going into this race. My main goal was to feel good on the run as it has been a while since I've felt "fast." My other goal was to place top 3. I did a short run warm up with a few pick ups and felt okay.
There was no pontoon dive start this year; the in water start suited me just fine! We were called out by rank (not sure what ranking system they used) but as they called my name, I turned to the crowd and waved, then swam to my start position. They held us there for maybe a minute and then the rope was lifted and the horn sounded. I was surprised to notice that all 10 women stayed pretty much together until just after the first buoy. It was a pretty good start, no one hitting or kicking; however, I did feel fingernails rake across the left side of my cheek...oops got to close to! A little stinging pain that didn't last too long. After the second buoy I was able to get a draft and stayed with the girl until we made our turn to start the 2nd loop. I was feeling good, so decided to see if I could get ahead of her. I surged and noticed there was another girl just ahead, so set my sights on her. As I rounded the 2nd bouy of the 2nd lap, I passed the other girl and found myself alone, but with clear sights on the swim exit.
Slippery steps were set in place and I crawled up the first one, which was submerged in water. I felt a bit dizzy as I ran into T1 and just hoped to regain my sense of balance.The wetsuit came off quickly as I put on the sunglasses and helmet, grabbed my bike and was out. I noticed that there were a few girls in T1 with me, but as I mounted my bike, there was no one in sight. I didn't know where I was in the scheme of things, but figured I'd find out somewhere on the one small climb; as I was going up, I'd see who the women were ahead of me and how far. I felt great heading out onto the first of 6 flat, fast loops; each consisting of 29 turns. A technical course which suits me perfectly. If you know how to corner, then you can make up some time on those who don't. Friends and family were cheering frantically for me and all i could do was smile, knowing full well that no one could out bike me! At least that was what I was telling myself. By the end of lap 1, I could see 2 girls in the lead, then a few seconds or minutes behind then another set of 2 girls and then me. Okay, lap 2, chase the closest set of girls. Just prior to the end of lap 2 I cought those girls. I'm now in 3rd. Next mission, catch the 2 leaders. I think by the last lap, one girl broke away and left the other. I was able to catch 2nd place and the two of us worked together. I knew she was a little weaker and tried to drop her a few times, but she was tough and was able to hang on. We got to the final climb and I made my move and was able to get a head of her and put a few seconds on her as I made my way to T2. I must mention, that each consecutive bike loop the wind seemed to pick up and no matter how hard I tried to keep up my cadence and speed, the wind made it difficult.
Pulling into T2, I has just a few seconds. However, a quick change to running shoes and I was out; I was apparently 30-35 seconds down on 1st place and could actually see her. I kept my eyes on her. The run course if flat as a pancake with a slight wind and 3 loops. After the first loop I had gained on first place and my goal was to catch her on the second loop at the far end turn around. A couple feet after the far end turn around on lap 2, I cought the first place girl and passed her. She was breathing heavy and I knew that she was givin it all she had. I picked up the pace and eventually I couldn't hear her anymore. The third place women looked strong and I know she was gunning for first. I only had a loop and a half to go and so picked up the pace. I came toward the turn around near the finish and everyone was cheering so loudly for me, I couldn't help but smile and keep up my pace. Only one loop to go; must hold off 2nd and 3rd place girls. Once again I rounded the far end turn around and there was a new girl in 2nd place. I didn't think she'd be able to catch me with only a mile to go, but you never know. With approximately 3/4 of a mile to go, my right hand started to cramp. I tried to relax and keep breathing, hoping that that wasn't a sign of more cramping to come. As I made the right hand turn to the straight away leading towards the finish, I glanced back to see if 2nd place had made any progress. No one is sight. I kept pressing as hard as I could go. One more glance back with about 400m to go, still no one in sight...I did it!! I ran my way into 1st place at the ITU Pan American Cup at Treasure Island!!!
One more cool item, I shared the top podium spot with the 2000 Olympics Gold medalist Simon Whitfield!