Stay calm and carry on. That was my motto of the day while racing my 4th Calgary 70.3 yesterday. Although my day started off with a weird series of unlucky events, I managed to enjoy myself by the end and it was a great way to cap off a long stretch of racing at only the mid-point of my season! Here is the story….
To start the day off I arrived at transition to find a new tube stuffed in my bottle cage (at this race, we need to rack our bikes the day before). I realized why when I noticed my front tire was completely flat! Luckily with the great help of Speed Theory, the mechanics on hand quickly changed it for me while I got my gels taped on, body marked, and into my wetsuit. I had about five minutes to “warm-up” in the chilly water at Ghost Lake, before clamouring out onto the dock, where the Pros were diving off for the start. I was sure I had my goggles on good and tight, but as soon as we dove in after the gun went off, my goggles were full of water – doh! After stopping quickly to empty them, I got back with the tail end of the group and was happy to settle in with three other women for the rest of the swim. With my neoprene cap on, the water temp was bearable but I was still grateful for the wetsuit strippers as my hands and feet were pretty numb after over 30 minutes in the water.
Most of all, I was rather excited to be heading out of the water and onto the bike in a group so I’d have some competition to key off of on the ride. (The small Pro Wave starts 15 minutes ahead of the next wave, which can make it a pretty lonely day of racing, I definitely prefer the mass starts for a half-ironman.) Unfortunately as I went to mount my bike, I noticed my bars were completely bent downwards and off to the right. (Later on I noticed my left brake lever was bent inwards as well!). After what felt like an eternity of loosening and re-tightening the handle bar and stem bolts (turns out it was approximately 3:30 that I lost when calculating the difference between my 5:11 transition time and most of the other Pro T1 transition times) I lept on my bike to find my chain was completely off. Finally, with black greasy hands I was off and riding angry and solo! I was totally bewildered at what had just happened to my bike as I had purposely checked and tightened those exact bolts the day before the race! Either way, it took a serious beating from someone as it was even hard to loosen them to fix it, but on with the race!
While it was frustrating to start out for a 94km ride and 21.1km run likely out of contention for a good finish result, I was also happy to get going and just decided to focus on giving it my best from there on and make it a good training day at the very least! After all, it was a perfect 25 degree summer day so I couldn’t complain. One guy passed me from the next wave at about 40km, and I passed one Pro guy, and caught up to one other Pro woman by the end my 2h29min on the 94km bike ride – pretty exciting – there are many reasons I prefer Xterra racing, ha!
Off and running, I felt pretty good right away. I had downed my two bottles, 4 gels, and 3 electrolyte tablets on the bike. Making good use of the coke, water, and cold sponges at every aid station, it didn’t feel too hot at all on the out and back bike path run. At least 2/3 of it was in the shade too which was nice. By about the 15-16km mark I finally did some passing and moved into 8th place by the finish with a 1:26:57 run split, the 5th fastest women’s run split of the day and my best run time on this race course for my 3rd attempt. To note: the fastest women’s run split of the day was by a fellow Critical Speed athlete, amateur champ of day, and new amateur course record setter, Sheila Croft – she ran a 1:24:30!
With one of the strongest fields yet, the amazing Magali Tisseyre (CAN) took the win, followed by Heather Jackson (USA), Melanie McQuaid (CAN), Sara Gross (CAN), and Lisa Mensink (CAN) for the top 5 on the podium.
Well, after a good little fitness test on the road, I will retire my TT bike, and not very existent TT riding muscles for the rest of 2012 and look forward to more riding on the dirt now. Next up is the very fun Xterra Enduro race in Canmore next weekend (Aug 4-5). Come on out for a fun two days of three individually entered events or go for an overall time with a 3k swim, 40km mountain bike, and 21 km trail run!