Monday, October 13, 2014

Challenge Rancho Cordova Race Report

Challenge Rancho Cordova was my final race of the season. It capped off four races that took place in six weekends (3 halves & a full). Sometimes I just enjoy the challenge of seeing what I can pull off.

The water was 68.2°F, which is 0.2°F above the wetsuit cutoff for pros by USAT. I spent the swim chasing solo (ugh, what's new?!) and honestly freezing. Toward the end of the swim everything seemed to be tightening up and my stroke felt forced. I exited the water in 31 to very few bikes left in transition. I think I was in 13th.

 Yay for no more freezing swimming!
The bike course was beautiful and challenging and I set to work on moving into the top 10 after my sub-par swim. Around mile 30 the motorcycle ref rode up next to me and told me to stand down for a penalty. As a pro, in USAT sanctioned races when we get a penalty it's a stop and go and the timer doesn't start until both feet are on the ground. I was confused because I knew I wasn't drafting and I was staggered off the person up the road from me (another pro USAT rule - we must never be lined up directly behind the person directly in front of us - even if they are a mile up the road). I didn't argue and got my feet on the road to start the stopwatch.

The ref told me my penalty was because my bike number had come off my bike. He said it was unfortunate he had to give me this penalty because he had passed me earlier and had seen that the number was there. So I stood there as the girls I had worked hard to pass rode by. I'm sorry, but this seems like quite possibly the dumbest penalty on the planet. I wasn't cheating and I had not knowingly littered. But apparently because I did not have a race number on my bike (even though it was plastered on my arm and there was also a sticker on my helmet!!) I had the privilege of standing on the side of the road as the race went by.

Once my time had been served I jumped back on my bike and tried not to let the time lost bother me. I passed a bike crash (heal quick Bailey!) and told myself to be grateful I was not injured. I came off the bike after 2:34. I started the run frustrated, kind of gave up on running fast, yogged for a bit, had a small pity party for myself, was angry and just wanted my off season to start. Except not so much that I was willing to stop running or DNF.

I saw my coach Elliot on the course and he basically told me "Yes Charisa, it sucks you got a penalty! But you're in a race and you are a runner and this race isn't over and it's hot and you run well in heat. You can catch girls in front of you." It was true. So I got over myself and started running more like it was my job. I wasn't happy, but at least now I wasn't giving up anymore or acting like a four year old.

I ran a lonely first loop, caught a girl, and started on my second. It was nearly 100°. And then on my second lap an amateur guy I'd never met before in a Zoot kit caught me. He was running fast and told me to run with him. So I picked up the pace and we pushed each other for the entire final lap. All of a sudden the race was fun again and I was just enjoying running fast stride by stride with someone. It didn't matter that I was way off the back of the race. (Thanks Shane!) My run time was 1:28.

I finished 13th after racing for 4:36. Nothing impressive and not how I wanted to end my season, but sometimes we learn more about ourselves on the hard days. I'm proud of my season, I raced hard this year and had some great results, mixed with some incredibly frustrating races - a lot like life - it's still good.

Post race I got to spend a few days in Santa Cruz with Eric, which was perfect. It's time to enjoy the off season, holidays and figure out what I am excited to race next year.  Thanks for following my journey...

Elliot – It's been a great season - thank you.
Zoot - fast shoes that drain, flexible wetsuits, awesome training and racing apparel.  
Microscope World - a great company.
Profile Design - Thank you for the incredibly support!! I love the Aero HC system.
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance.
Nytro - awesome local bike shop!
Extreme Endurance - thanks for helping me race, recover and repeat!
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses, awesome colors!
Bont - best cycling shoes around.
Kenda Tires - great tires for fast racing and less punctures.