I raced Calgary 70.3 a few weekends ago and the race was bookend-ed (is that a word) by a Purse visit....exciting! Lindsey was in town to visit friends and have some quiet time up at our place in Kirkwood while I was racing. Unfortunately, she did manage to wound herself twice, with a fall on a deadly trail run up at Kirkwood and a 20mph run-in with my back tire on a ride a few days after the race, in which I had to pull off my greatest traffic cop moves to prevent cars from running over Lindsey...who had landed head first and was splayed out across Stevens Canyon road. Ironically, the first words she uttered was an apology for thinking she had ruined my season....she mentioned this as she was still on the ground across multiple lanes of traffic. What a friend!
Anyway....to the race report.
I chose Calgary 70.3 to placate Matt. I knew it was close to the mountains and he is a sucker for all things mountain, so he agreed to go. The venue was fantastic... rolling hills, cold and clear lake. The only bad thing about this race was the presence of mosquitoes. These were not your typical mosquitoes, mind you. They were more like vultures preying on live humans. Matt purchased some mosquito repellent and quickly became very popular with all of the spectators on race day.
Race morning was a bit rough for me. I had to get up at 2:30 my body time and didn't feel awake until about mile 30 of the bike course. We got to the race start and sat in the car for 30 minutes as it was pouring down rain (on my uncovered bike). I finally had to get out of the car and set up transition in the mud pit. I failed to do my typical warm up run as I was freezing to death and didn't want to run in the freezing rain. I quickly threw on my wetsuit and got down to the boat dock for the swim start.
My swim start was the best start I have ever had...for 200 yards. The gun went off and I swam as hard as I have ever swam and was staying with the faster people. When I realized this, though, all of the sudden I slowed down and 5 girls passed me. Before I could think about latching on, they were gone. I swam the rest of the race about a minute behind the medium speed swimmers, according to Matt, who took a depressing photo of me with a kayak following. I thought I was the last swimmer since the freaking kayak was on my feet the whole time, but it turns out there were other girls behind me.
I got out of the water, stripped off the wetsuit, did my traditional ankle collapse/fall in T1, hopped on my bike, and was off....but not really, as for some reason I could not get my watts to an acceptable level. I threw down a couple of caffeine power gels in hopes that the caffeine would wake me up, but I felt like I was riding through mud. I could barely get out of my normal zone 2. The rain stopped about halfway through the ride and I finally started picking up the watts and pace. I passed 3 girls and was encouraged every time I saw Matt at a random intersection, screaming at me to stop being a baby and go through the turns faster. Yes, I do not like turning in rain.
I finally finished the 56 mile ride plus a bonus 2 miles (dislike the bonus miles on days when I can't ride to save my life) and was ready to run. It took me about 2 miles before I could feel my toes. A top age group man was running right behind me for most of the run, which was great because it pushed me, but I was a bit delusional and occasionally thought that he was one of the pro girls behind me. The run was hilly but nice and cool. At the turnaround I was in 5th place, but I saw 3 girls behind me and tried to go faster. With 1.5 miles to go a film crew on a motorbike decided to film me. I think this was a blessing in disguise, as there was another girl a minute behind me at this point. GOD FORBID I look slow on camera AND get passed right before the finish line. I ran down the finish chute in 5th place, got some water, and was immediately swarmed...... ..by mosquitoes.
While I was happy to be on the podium, I was a bit disappointed in my splits overall. However, the conditions were tough and I learned much about racing in the rain and cold. The race organization and volunteers were excellent and I highly recommend this race...just bring mosquito spray.
My friend and official Canadian sloot Jonnyo checking out our fabulous car rental. I am probably doing one of my pre-race nervous laughs.
Checking out the swim start in my Tsunami suit..hoping that the imagery of a tsunami will soak into my brain
Cold and wet early morning transition