more than just another bike blog

Monday, August 06, 2007

let's tri that one more time!

Wow! I just realized that I never posted my Wildflower report from May – it’s still in my blog draft folder. Oh well, I guess it's too late for that now. But anyways, after our victory in the Wildflower Olympic distance relay, my teammates (Janet and Kim) and I decided we had so much fun we just had to do it again. So, we registered for the Vineman Half Ironman relay in August. Ironically enough, this had been my very first race in 2002, so I had a little something to compare my aging self to. Kim was excited to run a half marathon (something she'd never done), I was committed to getting my TT bike out of storage (where it's been since Kern in 2006), and Janet just loves triathlon so she was game.

Long story short, Kim hired a running coach, upped her distance, but got injured and we had to find a replacement runner. I was a lazy-ass and never got my TT bike out of storage. And Janet, as always, was the rock -- organized and prepared to race.

Our "girls weekend" disintegrated and we headed up to the race for the day. Yeah, there's nothing better than getting up at 4:00am to drive to a race, but fortunately, Kim decided to accompany me to the race so I had great company and expert assistance with all my gear.

I had planned to do a trainer warm-up in the transition area, but once again, my lazy tendencies kicked in and I didn't feel like carrying the trainer to transition so my warm-up consisted of runs to the porta-potty line. There were a few relay guys on trainers, but I figured I'd just go easy the first 15-20 minutes and call it soup.

I decided to race on my carbon tubulars rather than my heavy powertap wheel, hoping that I wouldn't flat and let down my teammates. Besides my aero shoe covers, my skinsuit, and the tape over my front helmet vents, there was nothing particularly aero about my bike, but I felt pretty confident that over a 58-mile course with some climbs aerodynamics wouldn't matter too much but lightweight and cool would be more important. I kept the 13-29 on my rear more because of familiarity with the shifting patterns than a need for the 29, but I was glad to have it once we hit the 10% + grades of Chalk's Hill at mile 40-something.

I was really well pre-hydrated and took two bottles of GU2O on the bike, along with GU and Clif Bloks (in a Bento Box no less). I was pretty sure this would get me through the race and I wouldn't need to get additional nutrition or hydration at the aid stations.

Janet posted a super- solid time for the swim (35 minutes), but there were some uber-swimmers who posted times in the 20 minute range, so we already had some ground to make up on the bike and the run. Our transition was good, I ran down the "red carpet" to the timing mat, did a cyclocross mount, and climbed up the little stinker and out onto the road. It was still pretty cool in the morning and I started out pretty hard so I could feel my asthmatic lungs screaming, but I kept hammering. My mantra was "pedal harder -- don't rest" and I tried to keep this up the entire race.

One fun aspect of being part of a relay team is that the relays typically start in the last wave of a triathlon, so you're chasing other folks all day long. I like the chase. I got down into the drops immediately and held a threshold pace for most of the race. The only times I got out of the drops were on the steepest climbs.

Hour one rocked. There wasn't much wind, I felt super-strong, my legs were happy and I held an average pace that would put us in good position for the win (or so I thought). I just kept picking out rabbits up the road and passing them. There were a couple of traffic hiccups where I had to slow down a bit, but nothing that should impact our result too much.

Hour two I started feeling little twinges in my legs, probably because I didn't really train to TT for three hours, but I was still jamming. The course was hillier than the first hour and the wind had become more of a factor. I had moved up in the “ranks” to passing lots of guys (relay and full ironman competitors).

There was one particular guy in a Specialized jersey who I watched in the distance for a while. He drafted a car for a while and then drafted other racers. I passed him and he immediately jumped onto my wheel. I got sick of him (the word parasite kept crossing my mind), so I took a flyer out to the center line. He followed so I flew back to the shoulder. He was still there so I turned and scowled at him. I ramped it up a bit and dropped him, but suddenly he was back. So I turned back to him and told him if he didn’t get off my wheel I would piss on him. He picked up his pace and passed me (only to sit on some other guy’s wheel ahead). As we climbed the infamous Chalk Hill, I passed then dropped his ass, never to see him again.

Hour three I was ready to be done. The wind had really picked up and I had some severe pain in my right leg that seemed to originate from my sciatic nerve and run all the way down to my foot. I wanted to stay in the drops, but had to adjust my pelvic tilt to alleviate the discomfort. I assumed that since I don't typically ride in the drops AT INTENSITY for hours at a time, my body was simply rebelling. I was ready to be off the bike. I was counting the miles. I was on target for my goal time. I was happy.

Of course, my Garmin is set up for my mountain bike and I'm too lazy to figure out how to set up another bike, so my distance was off and the course didn't have very good distance markings. This meant I didn't really know how many miles I had left. As the 2:40 mark passed, I'd ask the course marshalls as I passed them, but most didn't have an accurate answer. Oh well, just keep pedalling, Lorri! You’ll be done when you’re done.

Finally, the course enters the town of Windsor. The end is near. But twice I got "stopped" at traffic lights -- during a race no less! I bit my tongue and kept riding even though I was pissed at the police officers for waving through the extra few cars that caused a delay for the bikes. It's just a race, right? The final “climb,” a highway overpass, felt like a 20% grade in the wind. But it was short and I kept spinning.

The last mile of the course was lined with spectators, and I found a last little reserve of energy to hammer to the finish. Last time I did this race (2002, remember) I didn’t know you had to dismount and cross the timing mat on foot so I sprinted to the line and almost killed myself with an emergency stop. This time I knew better. I dismounted, heard my teammates yell my name, and started running toward the transition area like a crazy-woman. I had never met our runner and didn’t know where she would be, so I yelled out “Velo Girl” repeatedly until she saw me and ran up to me. We ran together to the bike rack, racked my bike and attempted to remove the timing chip from my ankle and transfer it to her ankle. After a few fumbles, she was off and I “crashed” mentally and physically.

Pain rushed through my entire body, I fought not to puke, and I started to cry. Isn’t it funny how that sudden adrenaline rush, released at the end of an event, can make you cry? I laid down on the ground for what seemed like 10 minutes, heard my teammates from the spectator area, and attempted to walk over to the fence in the transition area. I couldn’t put weight on my right leg. Ouch! Finally, I was able to limp over to them.

I got a post-race massage (apparently I had a severely inflamed muscle in my ass caused by impact with the saddle), ate lunch, and we waited for our runner to finish. Once Jennifer finished the run, we checked the current results and learned we were in 3rd place. Not the win, but we were still happy. But that meant we had to wait around in the hot sun for the podium (almost 2 hours later).

My goal had been to ride the 58-mile course in 2:50. Of course, that goal was based on nothing other than the fact that I raced it in 3:16 in 2002 and I wanted a faster goal and 3:00 didn’t seem like an aggressive enough goal. Silly coach -- do as I say, not as I do, right? I finished in 2:56 (averaging 19.94mph), one of the fastest bike splits of the day, but not fast enough to beat the two uber-teams in our category. Oh well, third place was good, too!

During our wait for the podium, I had the pleasure of meeting Marco Fanelli. He's a SoCal bike racer and has a link from his blog to mine. He heard our names at the finish and came up to introduce himself to me. His lovely wife was racing (she won her age group), so he was waiting around for her.

When the podium presentations took place, we were a bit disappointed that the promoters didn’t really have a podium (no photo opportunity). AND they only awarded prizes two-deep for the relays! Hrmph! So, we spent two extra hours in the hot sun waiting for something that never happened. Oh well. But we all received a pretty pink “finishers” medal. And had fun. And raced hard. What more could a girl ask for?

I think I’ve been bitten by the tri bug. I’m ready for my next adventure. I think I’ll register for Scott Tinley's Dirty Adventure in September. It’s a 3-event mountain bike triathlon stage race. What the heck, it will be good motivation for me to begin running and swimming again and a nice change in my training routine. Afterall, in 2002 I had been training for tri. Why not go for it now, right?

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At 8/06/2007 5:57 PM, Blogger chatterbox said...

What fun! Good racing, ladies! That's an especially stellar bike leg, Lorri.

At 8/06/2007 8:07 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Great pace Velogirl

At 8/07/2007 12:43 PM, Blogger funkdaddy said...

doh! I just dropped a backhanded tri-geek comment on OV's offense!

At 8/07/2007 5:54 PM, Blogger dr-nitro said...

Oh, so this explains the comment on OV's site. However, given you did it as a team, you're still a uni.

I'm guilty, though, of uni-ing that race a couple of times way, way, way back when. Honor, though, dictates that I now stick with my singularly focused freaks.

At 8/07/2007 6:47 PM, Blogger yellowbug said...

hey, it wasn't me at the crit - I always say hi! hope the race went well! I was home with a cold!

At 8/08/2007 9:38 AM, Blogger bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

No podium? Who do they think they are, VeloPromo?

Nice job! The girls at work are always talking about doing a relay (we have a swimmer and a cyclist, but our runner just left so I'm not sure it's a go at this point); you make it sound fun and worth the potential teasing ;).


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