Given the rather intense past 2 weeks of training I thought I should post a quick Lake Stevens race report before my memory of this race fades into oblivion.
I decided to put Lake Stevens on the schedule because of the nice rolling hills bike course, the cool temps associated with the Seattle area, and the fact that Seattle is a short AIR ALASKA flight away from me. (side note: I love this airline. LOVE IT. Who can argue with $50 bike fees ...when they actually charge them...and cheap upgrades.) While the hills remained intact, temps that weekend skyrocketed into the high 90s...reminiscent of (shudder) WILDFLOWER and the lake of fire.
Pataky had a fishing trip planned for this weekend so I was flying relatively solo. MarkyV was nice enough to drive me around the Pacific Northwest, but not nice enough to build my bike. :) Nevertheless, I had no mechanicals during the race and the bike lived to fight another day.
On race morning, we found out that the pro swim would be non-wetsuit. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, I was actually cool with this proclamation, as the day before I had overheated trying to swim for 15 minutes in the lake. After much discussion about whether we would have a dive or water start, the powers that be determined that this would be an "in water" start. I was relieved because I don't really do dive starts. I mean, I was a competitive diver in middle school and could throw down a front 2.5 double twister or reverse one and a half pike like nobody's business, but give me a front dive with goggles and I'm not a fan.
Race morning was different than Calgary. I got up early, took a hot shower, got to the race site early, and did my warm up run. Lesson learned. The swim start was painful as usual. The female pros started separate from the men though (LOVE THIS). I took out the swim as fast as I could for as long as I could and for once I found myself in a pack....hurting in a pack....not just slacking in a pack (key difference). I stayed with most of this pack the entire time. The ebullience I felt about this can be witnessed on my "swim in" race photo. Usually I have a scowl on my face, but if you look closely, and perhaps enlarge the image x 5 million, you might actually see the beginnings of a smile. My swim time was nothing to write home about, but I left the water in a positive mental state.
The first loop of the bike course was great and I felt much stronger than I did 2 weeks prior at Calgary. After the first loop, however, many of us had to weave through the age group race. Most of the age groupers were great about staying to the right, but I did come across a few rogue men.... My bike split for this course was faster than my Calgary split, despite Lake Stevens being more hilly..hooray!
I jumped off my bike and departed T2. Linsey Corbin and her very awesome orange shoes passed me in the first mile and I tried to keep her in sight as long as possible. I felt Haley Cooper-Scott behind me for awhile and was unable to hold her off at the half-way mark. I managed to not lose much time on her, though, and finished the hilly and crazy hot run in 8th...much closer to the overall winning time than my 5th place showing at Calgary.
I would like to send a shout out to the professional runner-looking guy who encouraged me to loosen up while creeping up one of the looped steep hills. I must have looked like the hunch back of Notre Dame wearing black spandex decorated with powergel and salt.
Seeing that Matt was not around to take photos and create documentaries of the race, I will leave you with what awaited me in my fridge when I returned home to California that night.