LittleRachet

If it's getting easier, then you've quit trying….


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2012 Favorite Things: Powerbar Kona Punch

Over my next few posts, I’m going to reveal some of my favorite things as of late. I wish I was Oprah and could give everybody all of my favorite things….but shocking as it may be, I’m not. What you can rely on is that I truly love these things. Even with my many sponsorships, I won’t tell you I like something if I really don’t. Some will be new things for 2012, and some will be my old favorites. Ask anything you want to know about these items.

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I’ve used LOTS of different nutrition products over the years. Prior to the sponsorships via Rev3, I experimented a lot, trying to find what works for me. ME << read that? Me. Nutrition is SOOOOOOO personal. What works for Chrissy Wellington may or may not work for you. What works for me may not work for you. BUT, I firmly believe that some of us experience a lot of the same issues, and if you find someone with similar issues to yourself, you might get lucky and be able to use the same products. So, before I get to the Powerbar Kona Punch Gel, let me first tell you what I struggle with.

First, I don’t do well with solids. Some people want REAL food to eat while on the bike for 5+ hours, but I don’t. I do best when I keep digestion work to a minimum. Yes, you get tired of drinking your lunch, but that’s ok. I know it’s just for a few more hours.

The added benefit to no solid food is….well….no solid waste. I try to start my race with a clean gut, and I want to keep it clean for the day. No actual pit stops if at all possible.

Also, I’m a big sweater, so I need to get in as many electrolytes as possible.

After my IMTexas nutrition debacle, I started on a new plan. I tested it at Rev3 Cedar Point Full and it was beautiful. It was a homemade concoction, designed by a fellow (former) blogger, and it was so simple I was amazed. However, transport of this to a race was not easy. I had two options – prep it fully and try to transport full bottles in my luggage (doable but tricky), or, take it in powder form then cook it when I got to my destination. This requires a stove, and a stove isn’t always (ever) available in my hotel rooms. So, I needed something that was a bit more flexible, and I could pull together easily while traveling. This lead me to the Powerbar Products.

I hadn’t used real ‘gels’ in quite some time. So when we got Powerbar as a sponsor for Team Rev3, I was more excited about their Harvest Energy Bars than I was was for their mid-workout products. But after talking to some friends, I decided to give the Kona Punch flavored gel a try. AMAZING! So yummy. And I don’t usually like fruit punchy-type flavors. But even warm, they went down easy, and I liked that.

So I got to thinking….since I really like my calories to be liquid on the bike, could I just dilute the gels? Knowing what my calorie needs were for a full 112 mile bike, I started testing out the idea on my long rides. It was simple – Kona Punch gels and water – mixed in my bottle and off I went. I love their C2Max formula, and the gels sit well in my stomach. There is no sorbitol, and the 2:1 glucose to fructose blend works well for me.

When your calories are this clean, they get into you system pretty fast. But they also burn pretty fast as well. So, I have my bike computer set to alert me every 15 min, which is when I take a hit from my bottle. This consistent flow of calories keeps me going, but also keeps me occupied!!

Nutrition facts for Powerbar Kona Punch energy gel

Ok – so I was having good success with this mix. And even though Powerbar gels contain 4x the sodium of other brands, I was still needing MORE electrolytes (remember, heavy sweater). Through valuable trial and error, and at the recommendation of my coach, I’ve found that Zym Endurance is an easy way to add some extra electrolytes to any drink, so I threw a tab in. The lemon-lime flavor, combined with the punchy flavor of the Powerbar gels was actually a great combo. The next time, I added a second tab, and the flavor was still pretty good. So, 200mg per packet of Powerbar gel, plus 2 Zym tabs, I still needed more for those hot days. I bring Salt Stick capsules along in my bento box to supplement as needed.

What’s nice is that this is super EASY to transport and customize. Need more calories in your bottle, add more gel! You can find Powerbar gels at almost all race expos, or at the local grocery stores or sports stores. They are everywhere!

While Powerbar has many other great products (remember those Harvest Energy Bars I mentioned? Toffee Chocolate Chip – nomnomnom!), the Kona Punch gels are what I use the most. If you are looking to switch up your current gel, or are having muscle cramping, give these gels a try.


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Has what?

How many times in a day do you say in conversation “I have a friend who….”. It can be anything from crazy stories to weird habits.

I’ve noticed, lately, that it’s becoming far too common to use that sentence and finish it with “has that.”

“I have a friend who has that.”

That? Some disease, or medical condition. I don’t know why I’m hyper aware of this right now, but I am. I hear stories of friends, or their family members, that are suffering with some disease I’ve never heard of before. For example….

Have you ever heard of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease?

No??

Me neither, until I was introduced to Dona.

Think about this:

  • CMT affects the nerves outside the brain and spine
  • It is one of the most common, inherited nerve-related disorders and affects 1 in 2500 people
  • The motor nerves are most severely affected, and usually starts in the legs
  • Symptoms include foot deformity (very high arch to feet), foot drop (inability to hold foot horizontal), loss of lower leg muscle (which leads to skinny calves), numbness in the foot or leg, “slapping” gait (feet hit the floor hard when walking),  and weakness of the hips, legs, or feet (source)
  • Eventually, this all leads to weakness, injury, and an inability walk, and show in arms and hands.
  • There is no known cure.

 

Wow. Really? 1 in 2500? And Dona is a triathlete! Just think about how dependent we are on the senses in our legs, feet and hands as we swim, bike and run?

It’s just amazing to me…..to think that sometimes I complain about this or that…..but really, I’m not BATTLING something like CMT.

People like Dona are such an inspiration, and I’m grateful to know about her and her condition.


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Hotter’n’Hell Hundred 2012 – Race Report

Growing up in Wichita Falls, the Hotter’n’Hell Hundred was just something that took place every year and turned our little corner of town into a circus. I was enrolled in dance classes at the parks and recreation building, and remember vividly the massive number of people that would be downtown – in and out of the building – and the chaos that seemed to erupt.

What I didn’t really recall is what it was. In my little mind, it was just something with a bad word in the name. :) It wasn’t until sometime late last year, when I was browsing for 2012 races that the HH100 website came up. I got an instant smile. Bike racing! Bike riding! All back in the place I was born and raised! A chance to ride through all of the areas I remember from my past, including Sheppard Air Force Base! I sent out a note to the family and let them know my plans. Soon enough, I had commitment from both the folks and my sister. Eventually the attendee list included my second cousin and her husband – and he was going to ride the 100 miler too!! Needless to say, I was pumped about this trip all season.


The Friday before the event I flew into Dallas, met up with Becca and Adam, then we drove up to Wichita Falls. We got into town, got checked into the hotel, then went to packet pick-up. Driving into the downtown area, things looked so different. It’s been 20 years since I had been there, and I was glad to see such great improvements to the town. We got into the MPEC area and saw the spandex rainbow. Inside, the expo was no joke. We got my packet for the ride, and then my packet for the 13.1 trail run that I would do the next day. AND – Becca and Mom signed up for the 10K trail run! I was super happy that they’d get to participate in the weekend’s activities with me.

After packet pick-up, we waded through the expo a bit, then headed out for some dinner at the only Italian restaurant we could find on Yelp. Shelly (cousin) and Scott (her husband) met us there, and we had a great time – the food and the reunion!  After that, it was back to the hotel room to build my bike and get some sleep.

Ride Day!

Knowing that there was somewhere around 12,000 riders registered, I made the plan to be there early. Roll out was 7am, so let’s be there no later than 6am.  Up early, ate my breakfast (including my secret weapon – Starbucks Via), got the car packed and we (myself, Scott, Shelly, Becca and Adam) headed out right on time. We got to the parking area, found a spot, I hit the kybo, then Scott and I set out for the start line.

We came at it from the front and were instantly amazed at how many people were already lined up. We worked our way through the crowd and nestled into a cozy little spot. Eventually the sun came up. The national anthem was sung. The AF did their flyover. Then the cannon went off.  Slowly but surely we made our way to the official start line and our day began. I told Scott to be nice when he eventually would pass me. He thought I was joking but I wasn’t. I knew he underestimated what the pack riding would allow him to do. :)

My plan for the day was to stay out of the pack as much as possible. I wanted to limit my time in the draft so I could put in a good day’s work, try out my nutrition/hydration/salt plan, play in the wind and maybe take a few risks. With the huge crowd, it took until mile 38 until I could ride on my own. But even still, I spent a lot of time in the drops as huge packs would catch up and pass me.

The course had us going in all directions, and the wind did the same. 20-30mph had my speeds all over the board. 8-28! Some of the roads were awesome, and some were HORRIBLE! Railroad tracks….cattle guards….just crappy roads in general. That’s rural Texas for you.

Aid stations were supposed to be every 10 miles-ish. I passed the first couple, as I had plenty of water on board and wanted to try to get out in front of the crowds. I stopped three times, and each one was really easy. They had plenty of help – lots of methods for filling bottles (pitchers and buckets filled with ice water and gatorade). I think they had snacks and stuff too, but I never sought out those things. Even with 100+ people at each stations, they still moved pretty quick, and I didn’t have to spend more than a few minutes.

As predicted, Scott eventually caught up to me along a nice stretch of highway. For someone who had only recently started riding long, he was doing great! I would see him off and on throughout the remainder of the ride.  Turns out that he had a bit of drama in his last miles, including riding the last few on a flat tire! BAMF! I think he finished about 7 minutes behind me.

After the ride, it took us a bit to all meet up, but once we did, we headed back to the hotel, hopped in the pool w/ a few beers and just relaxed! We eventually hit up the Mexican restaurant for some post-ride refueling.

With bellies full, Mom, Jim, Becca, Adam and I set out for a little trip down memory lane. We drove around the Wichita Falls area and visited all of the places we had previously lived (yes, there were a lot….). It was fun to see how much the area had changed, and testing our memories on what road to turn on. Each little stop
brought up stories and memories – it was a great time but I was exhausted! We headed back to the hotel, I put on the Normatech boots, and within minutes I was zonked out!

Run Day!

As I mentioned, I was signed up to run the Wee-Chi-Ta 13.1 Mile Trail Run on Sunday morning. This time, Mom and Becca had to get up and ready along with me, as they were doing the 10K run! We got our breakfast and coffee down and headed out.

We were there a bit early – I wasn’t sure how busy it would be, so we played it safe. Wasn’t too bad though. We were able to sit around, chat, and people watch. I was amazed at how many of the folks were wearing bibs for the Triple Threat – MTB ride on Friday, 100 Miler on Saturday, and 13.1 trail run on Sunday! Rockstars!

The 10K’rs went off first, so I said goodbye to Mom and Becca as they headed out. Then it was my turn. It was really low key and I wasn’t sure what to expect except a creek crossing at the end. Turned out to be a little pavement to get us over to the trail, then the fun began. It was mostly single track, winding through some tree covered area not too far from the MPEC. It was humid that morning (a storm had moved through earlier) and in the trees there was no breeze! I was roasting and sweating like a hula pig!

I was really glad I wore my fuel belt, as the aid stations were few and far between. I got a little behind on my salt – I was having a hard time keeping moving while grabbing stuff from my belt, all while not falling. The single track required me to keep focused on what I was doing, or I’d end up in the brush or down a cliff.


One of the cool parts of this run, for me, was getting to run across a hanging bridge in Lucy Park. When I heard this was part of the course, the memories of this came rushing back. We had taken my
Grandmother out to this bridge on one of her few visits to Texas from Iowa. But as I came to this on course, all of my memories seemed so distorted. My memories were from the perspective of a 8-10 year old. Everything seemed so much bigger and scarier then!! But now it just seemed like a little bridge and no big deal (other than the fact that it wasn’t much wider than one butt, so as two runners tried to cross, it was a bit tight).

For the type of course it was, and stopping briefly at each aid station (and once to use the kybo), I was pretty happy with my time. Overall I’m pretty encouraged with my fitness moving into this build phase of my training.

I had such a great time that weekend, both at the race events and getting to spend time with the family. I would definitely come back again (and I might next year, as a prep for Rev3 Cedar Point which is just a few weeks out???)


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Ramblings….

I’m about to babble for a bit, so bear with me…..
I recently read a blog post from a friend/former teammate that made me realize why I’m having such a hard time blogging lately.  Back in 2007, triathlon was a new infatuation for me. Everything I did was like unwrapping a new present. I had a never-ending series of ‘firsts’.  First 10K run. First 50 miler on the bike. First Olympic distance race. First 70.3. First 2 hour run. First 5 hour bike. First time peeing on the bike! First powermeter. First PR. First 140.6.
But here I am – in my 6th season of racing – and I feel like I’m out of things to say. Aside from the ULTRA distance, I’ve raced all the distances. In fact, my 4th 140.6 is coming up this winter. 4th!! How did I even get there?!? The training requirements don’t phase me anymore. I know I’m going to have long workouts. I’m going to have 2-a-days. I’m going to have sore legs. I’m going to have a raging appetite. I’m going to see my massage therapist and she’s going to make me cry. I’m going to spend a lot of money.
And, I’m going to spend a lot of time ALONE. This has become my normal, and writing about what’s normal seems boring.
If you follow my revealed life on FB or Twitter, you know that I travel all the time! I’ve been with the Rev3 AG Team for 3 years now and have taken advantage of the opportunity to see the US from the saddle of my tri bike. Tennessee, Connecticut, Oregon, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas….all places I’ve been so far in 2012. And I’m not done. :)
This year I’ve struggled with food/weight. I’ve been on quite a roller coaster with fueling myself, but I’m not comfortable enough telling anyone what I’ve found because I still don’t think it’s my final answer. It’s an ongoing project, and I’m constantly learning as I go. I’ve been taking some risks – sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I finally feel like I’m on the right path (for now). I feel good and I’m moving weight in the right direction….more to come on this down the road. But because I’m not a master on the subject, I don’t feel like I should write too much about it. I don’t want to send someone else down the wrong path! But I do have some knowledge that I can share, and I need to do a better job.
Right now, I’m in limbo as an athlete. I enjoy the process, but I’m not committed enough to take it to the next level. (And even if I decided that I was ready to do so, I don’t necessarily believe that I’m physically able to go to the next level. But maybe that’s just a defense mechanism…..)
This season I’ve not raced a single local race (except the TT series). I don’t know who the local stars are anymore – and I don’t know how I fit in within the ranks. Honestly, I don’t really care – I’ve always been on the path of racing myself and not others.  Racing the Rev3 races has kept me in a field with lots of FAST people on really TOUGH courses, and I’ve felt SLOW all season. I think this has dulled my competitive spirit even more than it already was. I show up to a race already expecting to be lower in the ranks, so the ‘race’ factor is lost from the beginning. I’m there to perform my SBR tasks in the most efficient form possible, but there are no real expectations beyond that.
Am I having fun? Hell yeah! I’m having a blast. I’m putting together my yearly “favorite things” post – this time at the end of the season after using and abusing all of my gear. I’ve had a great line-up of sponsors this year, and even if it all ended today, I know what stuff I would continue to buy and use.
Ok….I think I’m done rambling. Now for some action items:
  • Food – I’ve had lots of requests for more ideas on quick and easy food ideas.  This is one of my top interests right now – my ‘cooking without really cooking’ (aka refrigerator raids) – so I’m going to post once a week about my eating habits.
  • Past-due race reports – I have a few of these! (sorry) They’ll mostly talk about the venue and production, more-so than my actual performances that day.
  • Favorite things – As mentioned, I’ll be doing some posts about the stuff I love right now.
What do you want to know about? I’m willing to take topic requests if anyone has them.


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What if you lost all of your "stuff"?

One minute you are at home enjoying a typical evening. Next thing you know, you find out that all of the “stuff” in your storage unit has been flooded by raw sewage and you don’t get to salvage any of it.

NOTHING. Boxes of pictures and memorabilia. Sporting equipment. Seasonal items. All gone.

Now you find out that neither your insurance, nor your landlord, will be covering your loss.

You get no help in recovering what you lost. NOTHING.

Total. Suck. :(

This recently happened to a friend/teammate and his wife, and I feel really compelled to help them out. Maybe it is the flashback to when my hometown was flooded in 2008 and so many lost everything. 4 years later, when I visit and run through those neighborhoods, I still see carnage.

Gross.

To be honest, my friend hasn’t asked for anything, but I know that lots of us, including myself, have extra “stuff” that if we knew someone who needed it, we would hand it over.

So, I requested the list of lost items and I’m posting it below. Remember, this was a storage unit – so all of their day-to-day stuff is fine. But these were their hobbies, and their MEMORIES. :( The pictures and sentimental items can’t be recovered, but I’m hoping that some of you will have one or two items just laying around that you’d be willing to part with.

If you happen to have something that is comparable/similar to what is on the list and would be willing to ship it to him, email me and I’ll get you the info you need to do so.

Maybe you don’t have anything on the list but want to help – how about a gift certificate or gift card? (Nashbar? Dick’s Sporting Goods? Wal-Mart?) Email me and I’ll get you the info you need.

Dining/Cookingware
True Brew Gold Kit K6 Brewing Set (primary and secondary fermenter, tubing, etc.)
1 Case of 22 oz. glass bottles
2 Dinner Platters
Westinghouse 1200 Watt Microwave
Coleman portable gas grill (the tabletop kind.)
Electronics
2 sets of Rock Band wireless controllers (1 drum + 2 guitars per set)
1 HP printer (no idea what model)
Sporting Goods (as you can imagine, this is where the list gets big QUICK. The hazmat crew that came in would not let us save anything that the flood had come near…as it was untreated wastewater…)
Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra shoes: men’s size 13
Michelin Kromion bike tires (set of 2) 700c
Air Stick Travel Bike Pump
Aero wheel skewers
Thule Rack: Foot Pack 480R, ARB47 AeroBlade bars, Kit 1478 for said bars
Scott Polarized Ski Goggles
Callaway Steelhead X16 Golf Clubs (4 thru PW, RH)
Nike Sumo SQ Driver 460cc 10.5 degree RH
Adams Tight Lies fairway wood set RH
Ping Zing 2 RH putter
56 degree Sand Wedge RH
Callaway TerraFirma X Golf Bag
Wilson nPro Open 100 Tennis Racquet size 4.5 grip
Nike Air Max Golf Shoes size 13
Women’s Nordica Ski Boot, XX-GTS (women’s sole length size 295 mm)
14 duffle bags
Nashbar Double crankset and ISIS bottom bracket
Shimano 105 clamp-on FD
Shimano 105 RD
Men’s Burton Cargo Snowpant size large 
Bags, etc.
We lost all of our luggage: we were mostly a duffle bag kind of family as it’s easier to pack than anything else.


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Rev3 Knoxville (olympic) – Race Report

Well, I suppose the beginning of race week is a *perfect* time to post the race report from my previous race just a few weeks ago (sorry for the delay….) I’ve been replaying the hills of Knoxville in my head anyway, as I prepare myself for Quassy….

Pre-Race

The hype of the race started early with some pro-sightings in the Denver airport. Once I got to Knoxville it was late, and I went straight to bed (after getting some food delivered to my room….gotta love college towns!)  The next day was filled with bike building, Rev3 expo, teammate meet-ups, Tri-Slide lube-ups at the practice swim, bike check-in, breakfast hunting, and some good pre-race dinner.



Race Morning

Transition wasn’t too far from the host hotel/expo, so my morning routine was pretty laid back. I broke a cardinal rule and tried something new on race day….

Two of these donuts, plus some Starbucks Via, and all was “good”. I gathered my transition bag goods and headed down to the river. I got my transition area set up, chatted up with fellow competitors, headed to the swim start, chatted some more with teammates, suited up, then FINALLY it was my turn to go (nearly the last wave!).


The Swim

I really like the Knox swim. It is mostly a point to point, with a little bit of an out and back to it in the Tennessee River. Compared to 2010, the water was COLD and CLEAR. But it was calm and spacious. I had little traffic and was able to sight pretty well.  I seem to have but one speed when swimming in a race – and I don’t really know what that is. I just swim. I got to the end and with the help of a volunteer (who were plentiful), hoisted myself up onto the boat dock.  Once I got my balance back, I stepped aside and took my wetsuit off.  I knew it was a LONG run to T1, and didn’t want to fight it later.

T1

As I said, the run to T1 was uber long. Not my specialty, and makes my speedy transitions look not-so-speedy. But once at my bike I got my helmet, sunglasses and shoes on, and was outta there.

The Bike

Well, the foothills didn’t shrink any from 2010 to this year. All of the same climbs, all of the same winding descents, and all of the same beautiful scenery. This course continues to be one of my favorites despite the fact that it kicks my ass.  I am just not fast here! (ok, I’m not fast anywhere…)  Unlike before, there was no wind to speak of, and I did my best to keep things evenly powered. The downhills were often into blind corners, and I was probably over cautious. At point, I got caught behind a car going up a climb. I can only imagine how wierded out the driver was, with cyclists everywhere, and nowhere to go on the narrow roads.

T2

I’m always pretty happy with my T2 efficiency. If only I could properly dismount my bike without coming to a stop first….

The Run

By this point, the temps had risen and with no clouds in the sky, it was getting hot. The run route was different from 2010 but I really liked it. Lots of time on a local paved trail and lots of shade from the trees. The best part was the new 82go water “bods” that were handed out at the aid stations. I thought they were simply AWESOME! (you can see me carrying one in the pic below). With the out and back path, I was able to see most of my Rev3 teammates – they are very inspiring! My plan was the same as always – nice and steady for the first half, then pick up the effort in the second half and finish strong. I did an “ok” job this time, but the heat was definitely taking its toll on me. I gave it what I had, so I’m happy with my finish.









Final thoughts

Have I mentioned that I love this race? I didn’t set any personal records this year, but I felt like I gave it my best shot. Gear-wise, I was VERY happy with my new Rev3 kit from Pearl Izumi, and the new Pearl Izumi isoTransition run shoes I used – so light and fast, and they drain well! With all the water I was dumping on me, not once did I have a squishy shoe. Also, I put some PowerBar Kona Punch gel to the test and was really happy with how my stomach did (practiced in training, but racing is the true test!). Of course, I had SBR Sports Tri-Slide EVERYWHERE – feet, chamois, armpits, neck…no chafing here! And Foggle in my goggles, too!

The Rev3 post-race time in the NormaTech booth was a great ending to the day. 30 minutes of bliss – I can’t wait to get my own for home! ;)

Onward towards Rev3 QUASSY!!!


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Great Clermont Triathlon Festival 2012 – Race Report

Pre-race
Well, I wouldn’t call it an ideal situation, but my travel itinerary to this race was TIIIIGHT! My flight from Des Moines didn’t leave until 3pm and was direct to Orlando. After more than an hour spent getting my luggage and the rental car, I wasn’t even on the road to Clermont until almost 8pm.  As I was making the 50 min drive, I had 2 agenda items – 1) find a Target so I could buy a car charger (I brought a cord, but mistakenly assumed all newer cars had a USB port like my ’09 Honda Element. WRONG! 2) find food!  Fortunately, just a mile from my hotel, I was able to accomplish both tasks.  I was elated when I saw a Little Ceasar’s Pizza joint. $5 pizza was the perfect and SAFE meal to eat a little later than I would prefer.

I lugged my bike, suitcase and pizza up to my hotel room, immediately scarfed down my dinner, then promptly built my bike.  By 9:30 I was in bed and on my way to sleep.  The alarm was set for 4am. Do the math from Central to Eastern….12 hours from flight take-off to race morning wake-up. Yeowza!


Race Morning
4am came very fast, but I was up and making my breakfast. I wanted to be at transition when it opened at 5:30 since I wasn’t able to get my packet the day before, so I was out the door shortly after 5.  I was in total reliance of my Google Maps Navigation as I headed out at Dark O’Clock towards the race venue. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going the right way, but soon I saw the venue, lit well and transition clearly visible. I got my packet, borrowed a tire pump from a friendly gal parked next to me, and got into transition.  I was early enough to get the end spot on the rack and quickly became the envy of all of my rack-mates. :)

First wave wouldn’t go off until 7:30am, so I had lots of time to get prepped, get a warm-up in, check, double check and triple check my plan.  I would be heading out onto the course without getting to see it first, so I’d be flying blind.  I did know that there was a nice climb right out of transition, so no shoes on the pedals and get into the proper climbing gear. Check!

The water was measured at 74* so I waited to see what the locals would do – wetsuit or not.  Most opted for the wetsuit, so I did too.  We all got down to the beach, heard a beautiful performance of the national anthem, and then the first wave was off!

The Swim
I was in wave 5 so I had a bit of a wait before it was my turn.  This actually turned out to be a good thing – the first wave that went off was confused by the swim course, and it was obvious they were doing it wrong. By wave 5 we knew exactly what to do and our group was efficient.

I lined up at the front and just did my thing.  I’m not aggressive in my swim, but will position myself in front of others and make them work to get around me. (bitchy? maybe) It was a triangular swim, and during the first leg, my HR and anxiety was a bit high. It was my first OWS of the season, so I wasn’t surprised.  The water was a bit choppy and I focused on finding the rhythm of the water and settling in.  I made the turn at the first buoy, and then really took off.  I started passing purple caps (my wave) and even a few caps from previous waves.  By the last leg I picked up my effort and really tried to go hard. As I was swimming up to the beach, I see a gal (ahead of me) stand up and start walking.  I kept swimming.  Then I passed her, still swimming.  And swimming. Then dolphin diving.  Eventually I stood up and came out at least :30 ahead of her. I ran up the beach and to my surprise – WETSUIT STRIPPERS! yes! Love that!

T1
The run from that area to transition was quite long and was glad my wetsuit was already off. Once at the rack, I threw my bike shoes on, sunglasses, helmet, then was out of there! The mount line was at the top of a short hill which then went right into a bigger hill that required some out-of-the-saddle action.

The Bike
People kept saying that this course was hilly, but I totally admit that I didn’t believe them.  It’s Florida! Their highest elevations are the causeway bridges! Um…..except for Central Florida where they actually have TRUE hills. Hills that I came unprepared for gear-wise. Short and steep. Long and grinding. It had them all, and lots of them. Aside from that, the course was beautiful and the roads were great. The course was very well marked and there were lots of patrol cars managing traffic.  I got buzzed by one vehicle, but for being my only incident of the day, I feel lucky.  I know there was some wind out there, but the course layout only really presented some headwinds a few times.  It really was perfect weather for a race!

T2
Bike In was in the same place as Bike Out, so the dismount line was on an incline.  I opted for feet out of my shoes, but came to a stop before getting off the bike. (I need to practice my dismounts a bit more, but given that this is the first race of the season, I played it safe. My CX buddies would be so disappointed in me!)  There was a long run shoot down the length of the transition area before entering. Once the bike was racked, it was on with my run shoes, grab my race belt, visor and nutrition flask, then head out. (I always put my race belt and visor on while I’m running – no need to stand around to do those things.)

The Run
The course was set up as two out and back sections – the first being about 2 miles. As I was hitting this mark (which was right around the finish area) I got to meet one of my Rev3 teammates (he was already done, and just ran up to say hi!).  The plan for the run was to take it conservatively on the first half, then amp it up on the last half. I was around the 4.75 mark when I noticed a chick in pink up ahead of me. I decided I was going to run her down (I needed some motivation).  I picked up the pace and soon was close enough to see that she was in my AG. I settled back for a moment and thought to myself “what if I pass her, then she decides to race it out? Am I willing to commit to this?” The answer: yes.  So, I leaned forward and went for it. I held that pace into the finish – :17 ahead of her. *fist pump*

Final Thoughts
This was a really good tune-up race for the season. I have some clear goals for Rev3 Knoxville and Quassy and know what I need to work on before then. Fitness-wise I’m on track (considering my setback early in the year, I’m happy where I’m at) and feel energized for the training in the weeks leading up to my next races.  I’ll definitely consider doing this race again.  The entry fee was reasonable, the logistics were easy, and the quality of the event was high. Kudos to the RD!

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