Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why bear trophies are the cat's ass

Bear trophies are the cat's ass because that's what you get when you win overall female at the XTERRA Illinois Wilds off road triathlon!

Quick recap: 800m swim @ 14:54. I came out of the water 2nd female :32 seconds behind the swim leader Erin Kersten, I actually saw her silhouette as she exited the water. Drafting on the swim I was able to find feet and hang on. What I didn't expect was to see Al in transition, he took off pretty quickly and I knew I wouldn't see him until the end -- he's just fast like that!

15 miles of GNARLY-twisty-turny-rocky-sandy-shred-your-tires-up-single-track. *Take note of the foreshadowing. Fortunately for me I was not the recipient of the ill fated flat tire--a little gun-shy after last weekend's blowout. Finishing bike time 1:26:35 (10.4 mph avg). Caught up to and passed the first chickadee I mentioned from earlier, probably within the first mile. At this point it was all about creating space. Space is KEY, you have to create as much as you possibly can because space on the bike is far more damaging than space on the run. I used to race under the latter methodology. You learn though that it's not as much fun being the hunter vs the hunted. So I was able to put 9 minutes between myself and the eventual number 2 female. Albeit, I did not have the fastest bike for the ladies. That title belongs to my good friend and one of the most prolific XTERRA title holders Ms. Beverly Enslow, she's a beast and she's bad ass and rockin' it at 57 years young! Beverly got me by 1:15 . . . . on her home turf. A vast improvement from two years ago when Beverly killed me with a time diff of 9:16 on the bike. Looking at numbers I knocked a total of 12 minutes off from 2012 to 2014 on the bike portion of the race. Skill work baby! Phil and Flow as I like to say!

Top 3 chickadees Me, Erin Kersten (2) and Beverly Enslow (3)
4 miles of rolling terrain through the Prairie Wildlife State Park sustaining a 7:43 (actually slower than in 2012 by :13 seconds). But I'm cool with this as I explained earlier, I'd rather put space down on the bike than run down the comp at the end like I had to do in 2012. Again, I didn't tow the line on the run either, Erin (#2 F) ran her girl ballz off laying down a 7:04 min/mile. I'll give it to her, she earned back 3 of the 9 minutes I put between her and I on the bike. Damn fine running mama! Gotta watch out for that one :)

2014 Finishing time: 2:14:22
2013: broken foot boooooo :(
2012 Finishing time: 2:25:42

Shain crossing the finish line at his first XTERRA

I'd say that's a success, Everyday I race my MTB I thank my awesome husband for not giving up on me, he knew there was a racer deep down in there and he wouldn't shut up about it until I finally relented. There's a compliment in there, trust me.....

Oh yeah the foreshadowing. So goin' out on my second loop on the bike and who do I see along the two-way.....Al. WTF? Dude shredded his tire. This poor guy has the bad race juju goin' on like you wouldn't believe. One week post bike crash at Steelhead 70.3 he's racing again, stitches and everything. Despite making peace with the tree that took him out twice last year on our pre ride, the race God's were not appeased. Thinking of sacrificing a chicken or goat, what's worth more spiritual brownie points? It might be the only way. So positive thoughts are them to AL WADE as he approaches his Ironman in less than a month.

Okay, but the real star of the show is my stepson Shain. Less than 24 hours from the start of the race this guy decides he wants to take a stab at it. So, Al takes him out on the bike, he does fine. Next test, OW swim. Not quite as successful. But, no worries, we'll look for a relay team missing the bike or run portion. Nope, no go. Okay, last ditch effort, let's talk to the RD. Bingo, he's in! But . . . he's a pirate racer, no number, no official finishing time. Shain was cool with that. So I'm guessing he was the only 15 year old out there, scratch that, he was the only racer out there on a single speed, fully rigid 29r with a leather Brooks saddle and platform pedals. The kid nutted up, finished, and did it with a smile on his face.

So. . . we have another Wade that digs the durt! Watch out cuz he's racing the XTERRA Grand Rapids DU in October on a proper bike!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Steelhead 70.3 Race Report and some BLOOD

It's one of those bitter sweet kind of feelings, having the race you hoped for up until you flat and watching it slip away in 60 second chunks.

But I can't give away the ending, not just yet. Signed up for Steelhead 70.3 as a means to "tune up" a month out from my IM. Yuck, seeing it there in black and white causes dry heaves. IM = uncontrollable tremors, disdain for early morning workouts, cold sweats thinking about my coach's scheduled 6 freaking hour training rides followed up with a nice dose of 6 x 1 mile repeats at increasing efforts . . . I just wanna ride my MTB in the dirt. MTB'rs don't wake up early and they drink beer and coffee, lots of it. What's wrong with that. Who talked me into this crap anyways?

Myself and Meg at the rack!
But I digress . . . Drove to Michigan Friday with the hubby, and three athletes we currently coach (two of which competed), checked in, racked my bike, took the obligatory pictures of said racked bike, got my pre swim on, lost my earring in the water, bought crap I didn't need at Athlete's Village, and linked up with another coached athlete of ours and his lovely fiancé for dinner. Headed back to Stevensville where we were staying at a friend's house talked about the race and our expectations all while Garmin 910xt beeps played ever so softly in the background -- auto multisport was a go!

Swim start, that's me in the front!
4:40 a.m., shovel food into mouth, drink too many Nesspressos -- my new fav thing before a race (thank you Mimi!) Leave for race start, almost forgot wetsuit, not good in a 67 degree lake. We arrived at the park and set up transition, I felt good about the day. We made our way to the swim start thinking we had plenty of time. Didn't realize there was a 1.2 mile walk to the start of the swim down the beach. By the time we got there I had 6 minutes to squeeze into my wetsuit and line up. No time for pre swim. Shoulder to shoulder I stood at the front and the gun sounded. I sprinted out in front of the pack knowing full well that the faster swimmers would catch me but I wanted my share of the water first. I remember feeling a little bit of panic in the first 100-150 meters when the cold first finds the seams of your wetsuit and bites at your stomach, that's the worst! The water was pretty wavy, not chop, just big rolling waves. Funny enough I actually had elevation gain per my Garmin during the swim, due to the swells....ha! Deff didn't log the fastest swim time but it seemed slow for everyone. 39 minutes for 1.2 miles. What I lacked in swim speed I made up in T1 and on the bike, well at least for the first 50 miles.

Managed to average 21.5 mph for the first 50 mile of the course. Then, disaster struck. I remember thinking to myself that if all the stars were to align I could have a PR on the bike for this distance, and I felt really strong! So as fate or karma or whatever astrological event would have it, I flatted at mile 50, with just 6 damn miles to go, my REAR tire pissed out air like a birthday balloon. What the flock! Pulling over I watched riders cruise by me I even heard a few "oh no, that sucks," You bet your ass it sucked, sucked ballz!!! So flipped the bike over, took the wheel off, emptied the repair kit, hooked up the air, NO BLASTED AIR, thing was empty. So -- my bad, totally my bad, shoulda, woulda, coulda right? Put the wheel back on the bike and was resigned to walk 6 miles in or as far as I could until the bike tech reached me. But alas, there's always a night in shining armor sent to save the damsel right? Craig whatever your last name is you saved my biscuits! Craig pulled over, asked me what I needed, I said a lever, and air. Here you go, now make that tire your bitch! In no time at all I had the wheel off the tube out a new one in and filled back up. Wheel back on and off I went.
Oh yeah, see the flat......into T2
Made it all the way back to T2 when I noticed I had flatted again. Knowing now what the problem was I have to say, use NEW tubes in your repair kits folks not folded up tubes you've been toting around with your for months and months. Oh, and NEW AIR TOO!!!! LESSONS LEARNED!

Into T2, wham bam off of the run. It was a hot one! Not my fastest splits but I managed to run down 8 minutes of my 15+ minutes lost during the great "flock up" on the bike. So I'll take it. Really focused on keeping the "gals" and my core cool with ice, taking in enough calories and keeping my HR in check. Saw a lot of walking out there but I wasn't one of them. Just one foot in front of the other . . . at a moderately fast pace.

So crossed the finish line at 5:29, not a PR, but despite everything I can't be too disappointed. Pulled off a 12th AG finish. But a las, there are no points awarded for bad-assery and making that tire my bitch, if there were, I'd have been first for sho!!

But I'm not finished with my tale. Once I crossed the line and was ushered through the finisher's shoot I see my hubby with bandages on both elbows, knees and hands. A small detail I forgot to mention was I swear during my efforts to fix my flat I heard Al's voice as a pack of bikers went by me say "hey that's my wife!" So you can understand my confusion. When in fact this NEVER actually happened. Al took a nasty fall 14 miles into the bike on some pretty gnarly chip seal going 30 mph causing him to be immediately separated from his bike and in turn united with the road. He now has two hamburgered elbows that required stitches, a couple bruised thighs, gashes on the knees and hands that also required stitches and a little road rash on his back to sweeten the pot. HE. WAS. REALLY. F&(%ED. UP. YO!!

If you're of the weak stomach persuasion . . . . skip the following pics.

 There ya have it. A tale of intrigue, adversity, gore, and triumph all wrapped up in a 70.3.