Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Treasure Island Race Report (LONG)

This is a couple days late for a race report, and I realized I'd better get on it before the details begin to fade from my memory.

Friday afternoon, Christine and Mark met me at my work and we grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading up to the island to pick up our race packets. After a little maneuvering through traffic and contruction heading onto the Bay bridge, we made it by about 2pm. We arrived in the midst of Tri California staff and volunteers setting up the bike course partitions, finishing chute, transition area, and announcer's stands.

We picked up the packets from Becky and verified our timing chips. I promptly strapped mine onto my ankle; it would be just like me to forget on race morning! Then we strolled around the Expo a bit, marvelling at how much smaller it was than the one at Wildflower. Still, there were a few goodies to drool over--custom made bikes, Italian cycling glasses, spendy Louis Garneau tri clothes...the standard fare.

What was the most fun was running into all kinds of people we knew. It's amazing how quickly you get dialed in to the tri community!

We left the island at about 430 to go and find our hotel near Union Square. It was a cute and quirky place with ceilings painted like the sky dotted with little seagulls. The manager upgraded our room to a suite when he found out we were in town for the race and had a couple of bikes with us! After a little while getting settled in, we headed over to the TNT hotel for the pasta party and accompanying pomp and circumstance.

Friday night I got almost no sleep at all. Between a raging headache that I doctored with a bit of Motrin and Christine too keyed up to sleep either, it was about 11 before I made an honest attempt at resting.

The alarm went off at 415 Saturday morning. Since I hadn't really slept anyway, I had a pretty easy time getting up. I put in my contacts, pulled on my tri shorts, tri top and singlet, and over that some cozy comfort clothes and a beanie. Ate some greek yogurt with honey and a pear-cranberry bar I'd brought with me. After about 30 minutes of jockeying gear out the door, down the street, and into Christine's car, not to mention trying to find cash to pay the valet at 515 am, we were ready to head over to T.I.

We made a quick pit stop for coffee and got onto the island by about 550. Stayed in the car waiting for the sun to come up a bit before heading to transition to set up our gear. My phone rang, and it was my dad calling from his ready-mix truck to wish me luck and a good race. :-)

As we walked into transition, the sun was up enough for us to see that Clipper Cove was shrouded in thick fog. The bridge was barely visible above the swim course! I'm sure it was cold, but I was too amped to notice.

My rack number was 699 and most of the TNT girls were in the 900's, so I was able to set up my T1 and T2 in relative peace and quiet. Made a quick pit stop at the port-a-potties--nerves were setting in and I had a major case of the bubble guts. Got bodymarked and checked my watch. 715. My wave wasn't going to go off until 930, so I grabbed my goggles, cap, and bodyglide, slung my wetsuit over my shoulder, and went off in search of Marla, Adam, and James.

I found them quickly, and hanging out with them made the time pass quickly and easily until it was time to pull on my wetsuit and wait for my wave to start. Around 845, I jogged back to transition to grab an Accel Gel--my hope was that it would kick in just in time to fuel a powerful swim start.

925 am. TNT women from all over California and Seattle are lined up at the swim stairs, waiting for the gate to open so we can jump in and splash around a bit before the start. We're all pretty pumped, dancing around and happy--we've worked hard and our day is here! The gate opens and we cautiously pick our way down the wide, carpeted stairs into the water. I immediately head for the staging area, diving under a couple of times to get used to the cold water and opening the neck of my wetsuit so I can get a layer inside to warm up a bit. The announcer whipped the crowd into a frenzied countdown, and then--the horn.

SWIM--I stayed ahead and to the left of everyone at the start. The start was rather spread out, and our wave only had 50 or 60 people, so there wasn't that "blender full of humans" feeling I'd had at the Wildflower start. I focused on rolling and gliding, and kept my breathing bilateral, every 3 strokes. My sighting was pretty good--I don't think I veered off course too much, thanks to the new contacts and the new Aqua Spheres! As I completed the first loop of the swim and rounded the buoy, I heard the sound I'd been dreading: the horn going off again! I had to blend in with the next wave as they churned away from the staging area in a furious mob. One dude swam over me and got a swift kick in the stomach (not on purpose) for his crappy sighting. I'm pretty sure I socked someone in the eye as I finished a pretty powerful stroke. I'm starting to sound like an actual triathlete here... Anyway, I felt bad, but I had to pour on the gas to pull away from all the thrashing nonsense! In a few minutes, it was all peace and quiet and the sound of the water rushing and my own breathing again. I finished loop 2 and cut away from the buoy toward the swim stairs--where three or four volunteers were waiting to pull me out of the water! I climbed the stairs, pulling off my cap and goggles, and pulled off the top half of my wetsuit as I ran to transition.

I passed Coach Chris on the way, and he said my swim had been pretty fast. James told me later I was 3rd TNT girl out of the water--pretty cool.

T1--I reached my bike and peeled off the wetsuit. First order of business was to grab another gel and wash it down with fresh water. Then into the bike gear. The socks were the hardest, and I think I'm going to try to toughen my feet up enough to ride without them in the next race. All in all, T1 was about 4.5 minutes compared to almost 6 at WF--so it was a bit better...I can't believe pros do it in less than 1 minute!

BIKE--I started the bike feeling very loose, strong, and ready for a good hard spin. The bike course on Treasure Island kinda sucks--I mean, there's no way to fit a 40k bike ride on T.I. without having to do lots of loops (6) and make a lot of 90 degree turns. It's largely flat, except for one mild hill with a U-turn at the top. I took the first loop pretty easy, since I'd heard the course was riddled with potholes and rough pavement. An understatement! About halfway through my first loop, I spotted the first wipeout. Some poor chick was laid out in the middle of the road, moaning and lolling her head back and forth. Sad day! I finished my first loop and then cranked it up. I kept the cadence up above 85-90 rpms and stayed in my biggest chainring up front, shifting the rear as needed to maintain pedal speed. There are 130 corners on the TI course. They suck because they slow you down, but they're also FUN! By the end of the bike leg, I was a demon (in my own mind) on the corners. I could keep it up around 18-19mph as I rounded them. I made a conscious effort to eat and drink on the bike (1 gel and 24 ounces of Accelerade on laps 2 and 4) to see if it would help my run go any better than the last time. As I finished lap 6 and rolled into the bike-in chute, I passed my personal cheerleading crew one more time and got a high five from Adam.

T2--I hopped off at the dismount line and ran my bike in with no problems running on the bike shoes. Racked my bike and pulled off my bike shoes and helmet. Bummer! My socks were still wet from after the swim! I sighed. A blister or two was going to be inevitable. I stepped into my shoes, laced them up, clipped on my race number, grabbed my hat and water bottle, and wolfed down one more gel before running out. All told, slightly more than 2 minutes in T2.

RUN--The run course at TI is a flat, fast out-and-back on asphalt. 2 5k loops. I wasn't sure how I would feel--I went out on the bike with the intent to hammer a lot more than usual, run be damned. The first loop started a bit ragged as per usual, but it didn't take long for my legs to find the groove. I tried to focus on step cadence but I was having a bit of trouble concentrating. Luckily, the strategy of eating more than felt comfortable on the bike seemed to be paying off; my legs felt strong and solid. On my second loop around, I passed Christine on her first loop--in tears and racked with leg cramps! I passed her an enduralyte and gave her some words of encouragement; eveidently they helped because the next time I saw her she was running again. :-) I caught up to Brittany (The only TNTer from our team ahead of me) and we ran in together. Run time ended up being a bit over 56 minutes. Grrr. I could have easily done better. Next year.

Overall time was 3:05:11
Age group rank: 37
Swim time: 31:40 (grrr)
Bike time: 1:29:29 :-)
Run time: 56:30? (grr)

Now, to finish designing my off-season strength training plan for a full-scale attack on that Wildflower course in May... :-)

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