Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mt. Tremblant 70.3 Triathlon Race Report

Kiet and I arrived in Montreal Thursday evening and discovered my bike had not made it on the plane. We were assured it would be delivered to Mont Tremblant the next day and were told it had been re-routed through Houston. Friday evening after multiple calls (all of which Air Canada outsources to India and were frustrating) we were told the bike was in customs at the airport. Rather than sit and wait for it to clear customs, we drove back 1.5 hrs to the airport to retrieve my bike. It wasn't there. We drove 1.5 hours back to Mt. Tremblant at midnight. I almost cried, mostly because I was tired. Saturday I got on Facebook and Twitter asking for help in finding a loaner bike to race on, as Air Canada didn't know where mine was. I must say the triathlon community is amazing and I was completely overwhelmed by how many people reached out to help me find a bike so I could race. THANK YOU.

A big thank you to Eric Laurence for putting me in touch with Bicycles Quilicot, who fit me on a brand new Specialized Transition (it's for sale - $1500CAN with training wheels - if you live in Montreal go get it, it's a great deal!)

Borrowed bike test ride the afternoon before the race.

Needless to say, pre-race was stressful. To add to the craziness of the story, race morning at 5:30am my bike was delivered. I built the bike in record speed, tested it by riding it once up and down the driveway, and we rushed off to transition. My training for this race had been solid and I was excited to race, but once the bike debacle ensued, I figured my race was non-existent to sub-par. I knew I would do the best with what I had, but I am also realistic. Nothing like getting that confidence back on race morning!

Pro women - I'm second from right. (Photo: Triathlete.com / Julien Heon)

I swam solo around the lake - 29:48, the water was nice, not much to talk about here...I came out of the water 8th (but thought I was 9th). I rather enjoyed the swim - until the end when I was just sick of swimming and excited to get on my bike.

Yay I'm on my bike! (Photo: Kiet)
And then I got on the bike - my bike - and I was just really happy to be riding hard on a bike that I have spent so many hours training on. I chased solo until I caught and passed several girls around mile 20. And then I rode the rest of the ride alone. It rained. The rolling hills were fun. The steeper hills at the end were not. My legs hurt, but the good hurt. I rode 2:35. I came off the bike in 5th.

Running along the lake. (Photo: Kiet)

Mt. Tremblant is gorgeous! (Photo: Kiet)

Chasing 4th... (Photo: Kiet)
The run was a mix of chasing 4th and making sure I didn't get caught by 6th. I really wanted 5th or better, and I did my best to fight for it.

Hills! I love hills. But I'm hurting here. (Photo: Kiet)

When I started the bike these two spectators were on the side of the road cheering for me with shorts on. As I got closer they dropped their shorts to reveal green sock / thongs. I laughed so hard. They made me laugh on the run as well. They are the type of spectators you find at Wildflower and I loved it.


I ran a 1:30 to finish 5th in 4:40. On a day that I didn't think would happen because of a lost bike, I was super stoked with this race.

Next up is some fun training in Mt. Tremblant followed by Challenge St. Andrews in two weeks.

THANK YOU:
Zoot - fast TT shoes, flexible wetsuits, awesome training and racing apparel.  
Microscope World - my other great job.
Profile Design - fast TwentyFour wheels, aero bars and hydration. I love the Aero HC system.
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance.
Nytro - my local (but they sell all over the world!) bike shop with all things racing/training.
Extreme Endurance - thanks for helping me recover quick to race again in 2 weeks!
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses, awesome colors!
Bont - best cycling shoes around. 

Kiet - best race sherpa ever - thank you for laughing with me at all the craziness!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wildflower Triathlon Race Report (How not to dismount into T2)

I first raced Wildflower 13 years ago as a poor grad student. I wore this awesome ensemble, and rode my Dad's old Softride bike. (No, it did not fit me). I had no idea what I was doing, but somewhere on the back side of the run course when I ran through the naked aid station I decided triathlon was fun.


I have countless memories from Wildflower. Camping with friends. A breakthrough race as a pro. Loving running into the Pit. Hating the pit. Then loving it for the carnage it caused and providing me the ability to catch some more girls ahead of me.

I have finished 5th twice as a pro at Wildflower and to tell you I wanted anything less than a higher placing would be a lie. It didn't happen and I'll save you the excuses, because honestly it's been a few weeks and nobody cares anymore - at least I know I have moved on and am focusing on future races. Instead, I'm going to share my mistakes and tell you the reasons why I love Wildflower triathlon and urge you to race it if you never have.

Dismounting: How to dismount gracefully with added flair (flips!)

video

A big thanks to Drew at Quixotic Racing for capturing my "I-have-no-idea-what-just-happened" dismount coming into T2. I've been racing a long time and quite honestly I'm still not sure what I did here. And no, I did not need medical. My di2 shifter did however.


Camping: Wildflower is an awesome venue. Post race I hung out with friends laying in the shade of a big old oak tree listening to part of the band Sugarland. (Yes - part of their band actually raced Wildflower and then played awesome music for us!) I can't think of many other races where this happens.

The Volunteers: Cal Poly students run most of the aid stations on the run course. I don't know about you, but I can't help but smile, even while racing uncomfortably fast, when a bunch of kids in huge sombreros grab a giant cardboard penis and start cheering like crazy for me.

Pros Cheering for the Kids Race
An Honest Course: Triathletes tend to love courses where they can set a PR. Wildflower is not this course. It is however an awesome, rugged, tough course that will bring out the best in athletes. It's a great course to find out what you're made of.

If you're one of those people who loves numbers and stats - I finished lucky #13th just 13 years after racing my first half here. I was sad about it for a bit and then decided life's too short and I've got a million other great things to be happy about. Onward!

THANK YOU:
Zoot - fast Alii shoes, flexible wetsuits, awesome training and racing apparel.  
Microscope World - my other great job.
Profile Design - fast TwentyFour wheels, aero bars and hydration. I love the Aero HC system.
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance.
Nytro - my local (but they sell all over the world!) bike shop with all things racing/training.
Extreme Endurance - thanks for keeping me healthy and strong!
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses, awesome colors!
Bont - best cycling shoes around.


Next up is Mont Tremblant 70.3!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Milford Sound

Although I didn't get to do the multiple day Milford Track hike into Milford Sound, I did get to enjoy the beauty of the actual sound. Here are a few of my favorites...









 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Glaciers, Waterfalls and More

It's fun to relive New Zealand as I go through my photos back at work. These were taken hiking near Franz Josef and Fox glaciers.











I loved this place - the stacked rocks were awesome.

Barnaby. My homestay's dog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Zealand

Post race I wasted no time getting out and seeing the amazing country that is New Zealand. I stayed on the south island the entire time. I hiked a lot.


Ice bath. It was FREEZING!

I love the swinging bridges all over New Zealand.
Blue, blue water!

Tasman Sea



Hard to see - but the forest on the right is awesome.


I have a lot more photos I'll try to post in the next few weeks.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Challenge Wanaka Race Report

I have learned that there will always be something that doesn't go right pre-race. Lately my "something" is getting sick. I need to figure out how to fly across the country without picking up a bug. Similar to Challenge Weymouth, I arrived in Wanaka and promptly got a fever/cough for 4 days. Pre-race I wavered between thinking I would get well and being certain there was no way I'd even start the race. By Saturday my fever finally went away and I figured I would give the race a shot.

Race morning was calm (trust me, this is not always the case in Wanaka!) and I was happy to get in a short warm up in my Zoot wetsuit.

Pro swim start.
I managed to find some feet and decided they were a good place to stay. On the second lap the feet I was on lost the feet in front of them and surprisingly I was able to swim around and jump on the next person's feet. I guess my nine years of swimming masters has finally made me a not-so-horrible swimmer! Other than being blinded by the sun near the exit and swimming some zig-zags, then finally asking a kayaker where I needed to swim, I was quite happy to exit the water in 59 minutes.

The Challenge Wanaka bike course is constantly up and down. From the start I didn't feel good and figured I just needed to be patient. At mile 30 I realized it was going to be a long day touring Wanaka by bike, as it felt like I was at mile 70 already. And touring was exactly what I was doing - I was going backwards and "racing" was happening ahead of me. My bad patch on the bike lasted from about mile 2-90. When I completed the first loop it took all my willpower not to pull into transition and call it a day. I felt awful. Probably the only reason I didn't quit was because I had been so very excited about the run course. Pre-race I had only seen a small section of the single-track trails and it looked fun. I figured I didn't fly all the way to New Zealand to not even get to experience the Challenge Wanaka run! I came off the bike in 10th after a long 5:45 (thankfully scenic!) time spent on the bike.

Pretty quickly into the run I felt good. The trails were amazing and I was in my element. If I could only always race hilly trail courses I would. I wish I had photos from the single-track trail that runs through the trees and along the river. It's gorgeous. Somewhere in this section I was sure I was running too fast, but I didn't care. I had just spent a miserable amount of time on my bike and I was in the last paying pro place, so had absolutely nothing to lose. Plus I was having fun running fast.

The marathon seemed to go by quickly and before I knew it I was starting my second loop. I was scared of bonking so at each aid station I stopped for two cups of Coke. I figured it would be sad to run my way back through the field only to implode due to calorie deficit late in the race. I never did run out of energy and thankfully felt strong even in the later stages of the run.

This is the moment in the finish chute when I learned I was in 5th place. I had no idea what place I was in, but hearing I was 5th made me very happy.

I ran a 3:28 to finish 5th in 10:18.

The day ended nothing how I thought it would, in a good way of course. Challenge Wanaka is probably the most scenic ironman distance race I've ever done. It's not a fast course, but it is amazingly beautiful.

A big THANK YOU:
Sue & Chris – You were AMAZING hosts - thank you for great meals and friendship! 
Zoot - fast Alii shoes, flexible wetsuits, awesome training and racing apparel.  
Microscope World - my other great job.
Profile Design - fast TwentyFour wheels, aero bars and hydration. I love the Aero HC system.
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance.
Nytro - my local (but they sell all over the world!) bike shop with all things racing/training.
Extreme Endurance - thanks for helping me race, recover and repeat!
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses, awesome colors!
Bont - best cycling shoes around.

Next up is Wildflower.