Monday, October 22, 2012

ITU Worlds: Race Day

It's nearly 9 pm but starting tomorrow I am offline for about four days (scary!) so I wanted to put out a quick little race day blog since anyone who reads this has had to endure the giant build-up to this moment!! An actual race report will come next week regardless; I like to write those up and think about what I can learn from a race.

It was a VERY happy race for me. The sun came out, the winds were not quite so bad, the water was slightly calmer, and despite my fears, I was not cold on the bike. I felt good, I had no mechanical issues, made no dumb errors, and generally raced to my potential. WIN!

I finished 10th in my age group and 156th out of the women.

I set up transition early then went back to the hotel to stay warm and to relax since the Olympic racers were later in the morning after the Sprint racers. I went at 9:55 am. The waiting SUCKS. Ask any triathlete. It's not a good time to be around us, we can be neurotic in the pre-race hours.

Racked and ready!

This is a fraction of the bikes in transition - maybe 1/6.
The super short race report is that I enjoyed EVERY leg of this race, even the swim! We had pretty good chop out there, but for the length most out at sea, it felt almost like body surfing as the tide pushed me along. Sighting was tough on the furthest stretch as the turn buoy was undersized, but I stuck with the pack and we got there. I don't know if I've acclimated or what, but I was not cold on the swim.

The run into transition for both T1 and T2 were loooooong.

The bike was the the windiest I've ever done and I spent more time in my base bar than I ever have before. But on this leg I knew I belonged at this race; I was passing people consistently and particularly on the steep little climbs. I blew past a pack of men on one uphill and couldn't resist shouting "come on boys, up the hill!"

The run was very twisty turny and the surfaces kept changing, making it tricky, but I just ran within myself, ignored the watch, and stayed happy. The courses were lined with cheering spectators and it was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I heard things like "watch out Kiwi, there's a Yank on your heels!"

It was a great redemption run after Giant Acorn. I passed a bunch of people here too. Tim Yount of USA Triathlon was at one of the final turns yelling encouragement at each of us. On our second loop, he handed us an American flag to carry into the finish. It was a big moment for sure. There are a multitude a ways for things to go wrong in a triathlon and it's a great day when they all go right...and do so at the Age Group World Championships.

There's that pose again!!

Post race happy!!

Bike-turned-parade-float with the American flag I was
given by Tim Yount of USAT to carry through the finish
After the race, I retrieved my bike and belongings and headed back to the hotel to break the bike down and box it back up again. I just realized the bike will have traveled 17,000 miles total yet it carried me less than 40 miles here. Crazy, yes, but that bike and I are a pair!

At 4 pm we headed to the Team USA party. They'd rented out an Irish pub for the event and it was very fun to meet up and rehash events of the day. And drink a beer. or two.

Coach Kris making a toast!
Then it was off to the closing party and awards. I traded two Team USA hats for the New Zealand and Canada team hats.

This experience has been incredible and I'm grateful to all those who made it possible for me race here -- Solar Connexion, Hyperion Consulting and all my Cort the Sport supporters!!! I enjoyed racing with Megan and Scott from our Endurance Films Racing Team! My family has been doing a great job of keeping things going on the homefront, and those with the fortyninegroup have been beyond accommodating. To my "equipment coach" I simply say, thank you.

Coach Jim of One on One Endurance is a tremendously gifted coach and we benefit from his wisdom and experience. He has worked so hard to deliver me healthy, fit, and fast to this race. I hope he is sleeping well tonight knowing it was "mission accomplished."

Thanks to all my friends and neighbors, near and far, for caring and cheering, and riding along on this journey.

Love to you all!!