Friday morning getting to the airport was a little rough as the cab was 1/2hr late for a 4:30am pick-up. The stress of checking in before the cut-off time, getting my bike and me through security and making it onto my 6am plane enabled me to meet an incredible person though. By the end of the whole ordeal I still had a smile on my face. My bike didn't make it but that was ok,
I have been there before. As soon as I arrived at Noreen's, my amazing homestay, I also felt at home. She had plans for a lunch of quinoa salad, dinner including Rebar potato pizza and fresh out of the oven banana bread to keep me going all day long. Really now, does it get any better!
Noreen, having done Alcatraz three times, took me to see the incredible bike course. Other than Pacific Grove triathlon, I have never been on such an incredible course. The views of Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz, the dunes, the Presidio were amazing. I kept laughing as I quickly realized how hard a race it was going to be. It is a there and back course but really it just seems like it is up and up and up! I wondered if Zane knew what I had gotten myself into - of course he did. He
also knew that I would absolutely LOVE the challenge of it.
Tri-California did an amazing job of the logistics and organization of the race as it could not have been easy. First there is getting over 1000 bikes and people organized in transition, then onto a bus to meet a boat that would eventually take us out to Alcatraz. The energy on the boat from the age-groupers was incredible to be part of. At 7am though it was down to business - we walked along the thin boat rails and the gun went off... I had one mission and one mission only. Follow the lead boat to ensure that I caught the current properly. It was a little rough to do as my idea of this may have been a little different from others as I wanted to cut over to that boat. Eventually I freed myself and was able to swim properly. I swam the whole thing on my own but came out almost the same time as fellow competitor Kirsten Peterson. Amanda Stevens was only a few steps ahead.
The first 15 km of the bike course was Amanda and I switching back and forth for the lead. Amanda then took the lead on the Great Highway using her awesome time trial power. I never let her out of my site and eventually, getting back into the hills, was able to close the gap. Like in the 70.3 I controlled my power resisting huge surges as I wanted to ensure a fast and solid run. I believe I played it perfectly because when I got onto the run course my legs still felt good. I immediately started chipping down on Amanda's lead and at the first hill overtook her. Then came the downhill. Guess I need to work on this as Amanda's legs turned over like a pinwheel and once again we switched leads. Then came the strength part - run along the super soft sand followed by the infamous 400 step sand ladder. It is exactly how it sounds. I knew if I wanted to win this race I had to power my way up the ladder and keep the pressure on for the remaining part of the hill - no looking back. There was another downhill and I did not want her speedy legs to catch me! I gained time on her and then just dug in until the finishing shoot not giving in for a moment until I knew I had it.
Crossing the finish line in first on such a prestigious course and with competitors Amanda Stevens and Melanie McQuaid was incredible. The journey to this race once again showed me so much about myself. The race was sheer joy, adrenaline and incredible athleticism. Now, watching the Tri-Cal TV interview, reading the slowtwitch article and receiving such an outpouring of support and excitement from friends, I am in awe of what this journey I am on brings out in me and in others. All I can say is I can't wait until the next one but until then, I am going to continue working my butt off!
Article: San Francisco Examiner