Sunday, May 15, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
A fourth place finish at Wildflower is something I am very happy and proud of. After a really tough go at Galveston 70.3 I was really ready to show the hard work that has gone into my winter training. I was confident in every way once I had got to the race site and took in what was going to be a really tough days’ work on the course. I had perfect preparation, lodging, meals, and mental space. More than that though, I came to understand how well Zane had prepared me physically for this race. I understood all those hill repeats, final 3 mile run efforts, long rides… During the race I had a few ‘aha’ moments where I thought, oh this is why Zane had me do this, I have been here before and now I just have to do it again. It was awesome to be so prepared and confident.
The swim was solid. It was steady and relatively smooth. My nineteen wetsuit was great and other than super buoyant legs, I hardly noticed it. I came out of the water with the lead pack of girls and moved quickly onto the bike.
Right out of transition the bike is tough. It goes up, up and up. Cave, Ellis and Swallow quickly formed a little group and powered up the hills. I decided to hang back a bit and keep my power where I knew I needed to be – the brilliance of an SRM. I knew it was going to be a long day out there and there were lots of hills to come. Call me a pessimist but I also was waiting to see which of those three would unintentionally get a staggered or drafting penalty – they were riding too close. The officials really mean it when they say there is zero tolerance and you have to play by the rules. There is no room for slipping up. Swallow was the one who slipped and it was perhaps too hard to get back in mentally at that point. Samantha Warriner caught me and passed but for the remainder of the race I decided she was a great rabbit and never let her out of my sight. We were met with some pretty huge cross winds that actually threw some people off their bikes entirely. I was ok but was ever vigilant. Coming up the hill named “big nasty” I felt great, stayed in my seat and just kept things smooth. My nutrition was OK although I somehow lost 2 water bottles at different times. Guess I need to fix that. There were tons of aid stations though so I really was never worried or unable to solve what could have been a potential problem.
So although it is obvious that equipment makes a difference I can’t tell you how much faster by power numbers alone how much of a difference it makes. Zipp gave me the new 808s for the race and they were truly something. They demand better bike handling, fluid pedal stroke, and are just darn fast. That, in combination with my totally dialed Transition Pro (THANKS JEFF!), I could not ask for much better.
Coming into T2 was very nice and I was looking forward to getting onto the run and having only 1.5 hrs left. I was still feeling good and was in my rhythm. It was great to see my Specialized crew there and I think they were breathing a sigh of relief when I got in safely with a smile on my face… their work was done with me. I still had Warriner in my sight and knew that unless she put in a major surge, I would catch her. It took me 6 miles to do it but I reeled her in one step at a time. The course was very tough and whoever tells you that the hard part is done at around 5 miles needs to do the course again. I think that the hard part is done at 13.1 miles and not a moment sooner. The last hill before the last descent to the finish line was the hardest hill of the day. I once again was so glad for all the work Zane has been making me do and to Alan for helping me prepare mentally for that last mile.
What is next you ask? A am doing a wee little 10km race in a few weeks and then am stoked to return to Austin and race the Capital of Texas Triathlon! It will be SOOOO short in comparison.
Will write again soon.. stay well, healthy and happy!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Wow. I am in another world of immense beauty. I was gob-smacked when I first arrived to Lake San Antonio, saw the hills, lake, and incredible work that was being accomplished by Dixie, Terry Davis and the whole Tri-California crew. A whole village of triathlon had sprung up amidst incredible natural beauty. This was going to be our playground for the weekend. Amazing. I had heard about “Wildflower” since I started triathlon but until you experience it and feel it, you really have no idea. The first thing I did was visit my friends at Specialized. I am still very green at the whole supported athlete thing so when I arrive with bike in hand, receive a warm hello, offered a drink, chair and then proceed to have my bike prepped, I think – this is it! Not only is my bike getting a tune-up, it is getting a new cassette which has an extra climbing tooth and new 808 Zipp super- fast wheels. Every time I race I get something that will make me faster. It is really just FUN!
I grabbed a cyclo-cross bike from Specialized (definitely the next “sport” I will do for fun) and then rode the run course. It is 60% trails, 40% road which makes it a little slower but harder. The trail takes you right along-side the lake, meanders through some meadows, up steep hills, past a few deer… most beautiful run course I have ever been on.
Two days ago while I was riding on the Shoreline highway 1 in California, I was honing in on WHY I do this sport. I have spoken about this in past blogs as something that you can have absolutely no doubt about. For me it is simply to be the absolute best athlete that I can be, no holding back, no excuses. I aim to understand what I can do when nothing (mostly myself) is in the way of being what my best is. If this best puts a gold medal around my neck, fantastic. If not, then it is what it is. Sometimes that is hard to take. Rarely do people take the time or space in life and have access to resources to do this. I do. Being able to appreciate this fact is what makes my experience or journey what it is. Arriving to a race and feeling so privileged to be here is what propels me to go on, to continue the sacrifices and dig deeper when it counts. This is what will be in my head racing tomorrow – dig deep, this is my time, know it, appreciate it and love it.
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