Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bath County Sprint Tri - 2nd female, happy race :-)

photo credit: Bill Huckle

This was my 6th year of the Bath County Sprint Tri and it is a true gem of the Virginia Maryland Triathlon Series, tucked away in the western part of the state at the beautiful, tranquil Lake Moomaw. Most of the local athletes turn out for this race so it's a priority for me to race here. It's also one of the few races with the out-and-back bike and run courses closed to traffic. And if you like hills like I do, you'll love this race!!

Luckily the swim is flat (no chop or churn) as well as beautiful and clean.

tranquil Lake Moomaw, photo credit: Michael Stowe

gathered pre-swim, photo credit: Bryan Walsh

With water temps around 76, I opted to race in my XTERRA Lava pants rather than a wetsuit and it was a good call for me - I got some buoyancy and speed without overheating, and they are quick and easy to strip off. As I was putting them on, the Star Spangled Banner began, and I found myself standing there with my pants half on, the whole time wondering if it was better to just keep standing there, or fumble to pull them on which would not be quick? In the end, I just stood there quietly with my pants down! Whoops!

I didn't realize until I was in the water and spotted my friend and lane-mate Kristen, that all the women were grouped in one swim wave. I like that! It makes for better head-to-head competition.

I felt strong and tactical on the swim and upon exiting my sherpa called out that I was 8th out of the water (12:08; 8/64 women). That is a good position for me!

photo credit: Bill Huckle

The bike is pretty much UP and then DOWN. I averaged 18.3 mph and 208w UP, and 26.2 mph and 197w DOWN. I heard reports of close calls with deer, and I saw more than a few dropped chains on the uphills, so I was glad to finish safely. Coming into the finish I heard I had moved up to 2nd among the women which surprised me. I passed one woman on the bike that I knew of so maybe I dropped the others in T1 or just didn't notice them on the course. I had a blast riding and just focused on trying to patiently catch the next person up ahead!

I am super pleased with my run. Sometime after last year's race my friend Tripp said something along the lines of "you usually look so light and up on your toes on that first climb, but this year you didn't." He was absolutely right. I took that exactly in the spirit in which it was intended - as an honest observation from a friend and motivation to improve for this year. I've thought about that many times since and up hills I am always trying to think "light and springy!" 

the famous Bath hills on the run course

After I crested the first hill in a light and springy way, I was totally excited to see Kelly Neville on a bike on the run course, riding toward me to tell me I was the second woman and about 45 seconds back. First of all, it was the first I'd seen her after I spent much of the winter following her onlline on her brave cycling adventures Down Under. Secondly, I felt like a pro getting timing information on my position in the race!! The runners around me started encouraging me to catch the lead woman, and I sure did my best to. I passed one guy on a downhill and he shouted after me "hey do you have a tow rope?!" I put in the fastest women's run of the day (7:12 min/mile avg pace for 3.28 miles) and cut into her lead, but Christina Meyer, age 44, of Charlottesville, Virginia retained her lead by 38 seconds! Well done! [Full results are available here.]

Of course, you can't lose by around half a minute and not wonder a little bit about where you might have shaved those seconds, lol. But then I tell myself, she also could have probably found 38 seconds to shave! At any rate, this was one of my happiest races of late. I was calmly in the moment and just enjoyed feeling strong. It has left me really motivated to spend the next two months preparing for USAT Age Group Nationals where every second will really matter. 

One-on-One Endurance athletes with Coach Jim! 
Kristen, Tanya, me, Coach Jim, Joe, Brad, Brent
photo credit: Bill Huckle

Happy to be on the overall podium, finishing 2nd
photo credit: Bill Huckle

Congratulations to Tanya Leroith for her AG win and continued strong racing and many podiums year after year. We sure appreciate her bringing along her partner and talented photographer, Bill Huckle, who supplies us with magnificent race photos!

I'd like to also mention the Stowe family - I've raced with Michael many times and more recently with his two teenage daughters Eliza and Emma. They've made it a family affair with the right emphasis on fun and with their enthusiasm and talent I see a very bright future in the sport for them!!

Thank you to my super sherpa and race supporter, Bryan of Solar Connexion; Coach Jim of One-on-One Endurance; the volunteers and race organizers from Bath County; Greg Hawkins and the staff of the Virginia and Maryland Triathlon Series; and the area triathletes, new and old, who give the sport personality!