Thursday, April 22, 2010

Progress in the Swamp: New Orleans 70.3 RACE report

I decided (or perhaps it was decided for me) to start off the race season a bit later this year at New Orleans instead of the typical Oceanside - Wildflower pattern I've been doing the past few years. I've been putting in the work this winter, but much of it has been on the tready or trainer in our garage/dungeon due to a myriad of reasons (injury prevention, rain, cold weather, lack of daylight, did I mention rain?) I actually told Pataky before this race that I felt prepared and excited to go out and get the work done on race day. I don't usually verbalize such thoughts, but felt it was about time to own it.

Anyway, my time in the swamp was awesome. I stayed with my Louisiana celebrity friend John Fell in his hood near Lafayette on Friday night and then we drove down a few hours to NOLA the next day for the pro meeting and all that jazz. Other than forgetting my swimskin, all the pre race stuff went off without a hitch. (Although we did manage to find ourselves roaming around the french quarter for an hour looking for race morning bagels. Note to NOLA city planners: add additional grocery stores that contain more than beads and booze). After a bit of UFC fight channel indoctrination, I headed to bed...which ended up being the floor of the sound proofed bathroom at midnight as countless numbers of cars drove past my bedroom window with drunken people singing such gems as: "making love in the club," among other songs.

The swim was an exercise in not drowning. We ran for what seemed like HOURS to get to deep enough water for swimming. I was cruising in zone 10 and by the time we were able to actually swim, I was pretty much wasted. I managed to keep a pack of girls in sight until the turnaround when the waves and interesting buoy setup made sighting less than easy. After having to retrace some swimming, I finally made it to shore and tried (successfully) to put the swim past me.

The bike course was great. I haven't ridden a flat race course for awhile, so it was nice to put the hammer down and just go. I passed a couple of girls and was then passed by another. The wind was bad on the way out but we had a great tailwind on part of the way back.

I was pretty much alone on the run course. Other than the awesome aid stations, it felt like a typical solo training run (although I was running faster, in a swim suit with a race belt, and had vanilla powergel plastered across my arm and legs...with the occasional photographer capturing unsightly facial expressions. On a side note: don't you find it odd that these photographers always get you at your when your shoulders are clearly not where you told your coach they would be...or you have that look of death on your face?!) At the mile 10 marker, swamp celebrity John informed me that there were girls within striking distance ahead and that I was currently in 7th place. I picked up the pace on the homestretch (which was awesome.....shaded....crowds....etc..) and ended up running my way to an unprecedented 5th place finish!

I really enjoyed RACING and am ready for more! The race venue and support were awesome and I definitely plan to be back. Thanks to John and his excellent stand-in sherpa and motivational skills. Also thanks to Coach Paulo for throwing down some creative training schedules to get me to the start line healthy and Darrell at FRONT OF THE PACK for dealing with my 500 last minute bike issues......and thanks to Matt for walking the dogs, cooking, etc.. and not making me feel too guilty. :)

We went to a post-race crawfish boil at John's parents' house...a virgin crawfish experience for me! I learned how to rip the tail off the poor creature and pull out the meat. Killer.

On the podium..apparently contemplating the fact that I am holding a check.

The swamp!

Friday, April 16, 2010

White Bike of LOVE

Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lauren's New Bike, New Season, and Bikes for Bombs

Seeing that my race season is starting in about 2 weeks, I've been busy taking inventory of my equipment and mind.

Last night I picked up my new bike (frame) from Front of the Pack. I rode my old frame into the ground and decided that it was time to get a new one. Since I don't like change (except for the kind you can believe in), I just replaced the frame with a new frame that happens to have a KILLER PAINT JOB.

Darrell (FOTP owner) was awesome and stayed late to finish building up the bike. He probably built it really fast because I was sitting there droning on about all the latest triathlon gossip.

Matt has been out of town so I've been left alone to my own mechanical devices. This morning before riding I attempted to drop the tip of the saddle. This became a 3 hour debacle including desperate phone calls and iphone videos to Matt, expletives, and finally a mad dash to the shop to have Darrell and Co. fix my mess. This is where I'd like to justify my lack of mechanical skills by citing the law of comparative advantage. Society can maximize its collective efficiency only when individuals focus on a product/service that they can produce most efficiently/with lowest opportunity cost, which is CLEARLY not bike maintenance for me.

My virgin ride with the new bike today was awesome! I've really been enjoying the training lately and this new bike added to my euphoria. Seeing that the official start to my race season is coming up, I've been reflecting on triathlon in general. I'll be honest - last year I didn't love triathlon. I spent much of my training and racing all pent up and angry, and I think much of this was because I was trying to prove something. I realize that my self-worth need not be based only in whether I can swim 100x100s on the 1:25, or if I can move from being in the top 99.88999% of fastest cyclists in the world, to being in the top 99.89999%. Its not like any of this will contribute to world peace or end suicide bombings. (On second thought, perhaps if would-be suicide bombers started endurance training 5 hours per day, they'd be too tired to blow themselves up...bikes for bombs people...).

So....the only rational reason for me PERSONALLY to continue in triathlon is because I LOVE IT...otherwise, this sport is just a big waste of time and money. Thankfully, I've determined that I do love training and racing and therefore, I might as well go out and execute every single training session to its more wasting time here!

Happy 2010 race season everybody!

My self-worth is also not based upon my laundry skills.

I thought Matt would be able to help me fix the saddle simply based upon examining this photo.

John Fell, my cajun nutrition sponsor and triathlon housing manager, sent me some new products to try. I felt like a kid at Christmas.