It seems I have the racing bug right now. Two races in two weekends... Good stuff! I had been wanting to do the OC Tri for a couple of year now, but it was always in the fall and conflicted with my "A" races. This year it was moved to May and I was in! Even better Lesley, Tammy and Katie were game to race too!
Tammy, Katie and I headed up to Mission Viejo on Saturday afternoon and met up with Simon and Lesley at the expo. Not much of anything exciting going on there, so we grabbed our packets and headed to my family beach house in Newport Beach. We made a quick stop at Trader Joe's to get all of our pre-race essentials; Trail Mix, Luna Bars, Seaweed, three kinds of Milk, Potato Chips, Sparkling Water, Beer, Carrots, Pita Chips, etc. Sounds good, right? We even saw a "blow-fish!" Lesley and Simon whipped up a great dinner and we had a relaxing evening chatting and getting our stuff sorted out for the race.
Race morning came way too early as it always does. Up at 4:30 and luckily Tammy had already turned on the coffee; I think I drank more than my fair share! A little breakfast, threw all our stuff in the car and we were off.
Transition was pretty mellow as it is a much smaller race than I'm used to. Unfortunately there was no preassigned racks, so I was on my own to find that perfect spot. Luckily Speedracer is quite small, so he fits in to tight spots with out a problem. A little jog warm-up, a quick swim and we were ready to get racing.
I got a little stressed out at the swim start. All I could see was buoys everywhere and not too sure if they were supposed to be on our right or left or what. Figured I would just follow the masses.
Had an excellent swim entry but about 400 yard in I got that wetsuit-too-tight feeling! Ugh! I should not have had that piece of cake at work last week... or was it all of the yummy stuff we bought at TJ's the night before? Had to work really hard to calm myself down and get out to the turn buoy. About 1/2 way through the swim, I finally found my rhythm and took it strong back to the swim exit. Never did find any feet to draft off of... bummer!
By the time we got out of the swim, it was misting some, so I was a bit nervous to get on the bike course. Just told myself to stay off the paint! Settled in quickly and hammered away. The course was great. Wide open bike lanes and not all bunched up with other competitors. Lots of rolling hills, which I love. What I did not love was the two sections that were "off-road." Basically poorly paved road at the top and bottom of the course. Worried about hitting something wrong and crashing, but more so about getting a puncture in my tubulars; those things are expensive!
Given that it was an out and back course, I had my eyes peeled for the other girls. I knew I would probably see Lesley coming back as I was headed out, and sure enough flying by she came. Pretty sure she did not hear my yelling for her to go faster. As I was coming back towards transition, I came upon Tammy. We exchanged some words of encouragement and then proceeded to go back and fourth for the next few miles. Finally she dropped me, but it was awesome to see her in her first on-road race and to even be in the same zip code as her on the bike.
The last part of the ride was back on the sketchy unpaved roads, but worse as there were a lot of blind turns. Not knowing what was coming, I slowed up a ton! No need to crash at that point in the race! I guess pre-riding that part of the course would have been a good idea.
I literally threw Speedracer on the rack and jammed my feet in my running shoes. It was pretty chilly and it was then that I realized my feet were frozen solid. Not to sure if my shoes were on correctly, but off I went.
I felt amazing from the first step. Guess it is all the hard work we have been putting in at the Braveheart Brick this year. As painful as it is, the workout works! Just focused on getting my legs to turn over and off I went.
I loved the run course. It was a mix of trails, roads and bike paths. Lots of rolling hills, but nothing I could not handle. With all of the variety, I was entertained the entire time; just focused on the next hill, turn and boy to run down. Not too man ladies on the course at that point, but tons of guys to run down, which is my specialty!
At the last water station, a little kid yells "Great job! Only 1/2 mile more!"
"Seriously?" I yelled back. And I took off to find that finish line. Coming down the hill towards the finish I saw Simon who was yelling words of encouragement; that guy is great! The finish was along the lake and was lined by cheering crowds, just what I needed to push it to the end.
I cheered in Tammy, Katie, Chelsea and a few others. We made a quick escape to transition to find warm clothes before meeting back up with Simon and Lesley. As soon as we came back down to the lake, Simon announced podium spots for everyone! I was pretty impressed that Lesley not only won the race overall, but she managed to have every athlete she coaches on the podium! Sweet!
Huge thanks go out to Simon, Tammy, Lesley and Katie for making it a weekend to remember! Lots of good times! Also to 2XU for making the most comfortable race kit and post race compression gear I have ever worn, and to Moment Cycle Sport for keeping Speedracer in tip top shape.