Saturday, February 28, 2015

Road Rage Duathlon ~ Olympic distance ~ St. George, Utah ~ 2-28-15

Wes and I raced in the Road Rage Duathlon, Olympic distance, in St. George, Utah. We drove up on Friday after the boys were finished with school. St. George is about two hours away and it is an easy drive. We went straight to our hotel and checked in so we could unload the bikes and gear. After that, we went to packet pick-up. It was located in a local bike shop. I was able to try on my race shirt to make sure it fits (which is always a bonus). The shirts were a yellow short sleeve tech shirt with the race design on the front. We ate dinner at Firehouse Subs before heading back to our hotel for the night. The race was scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. so that allowed us to get a good night's sleep before the race.

We woke up at 6:30 a.m. and began getting ready. Our hotel offered a hot breakfast so we ate there in the morning. We had prepared our gear the night before so that made for a smooth morning. The weather had been questionable for that morning but before we left the hotel, we looked up the day's forecast and it said there was 0% precipitation. With one step out the door, we realized they were wrong. It was dark and overcast and had recently rained.  We left the hotel at 7:45 a.m. so we could arrive at the transition for it's 8:00 a.m. opening time. As we drove, a light rain began to fall. We easily found the race location and unloaded the car. We took our bikes to transition and were the first two bikes there. This allowed us to get the best bike spots right near the bike in and out location. Once our gear was set up, the rain really began to fall so we went back to our car to wait till closer to the race start. At about 20 minutes to race time, we made our way back to the transition area.

When we were 5 minutes to race time, we made our way to the start line. It was cold and we were wet but we were excited to start our race. They were offering two distances for the race: sprint and Olympic. The sprint course was a 1.5 mile run, 10 mile bike, and 1.5 mile run. The Olympic course was 3 mile run, 20 mile bike, and 3 mile run (two loops of each sprint course). Right before the start of the race, the Race Director announced that due to the rain, the Olympic distance bike course was going to be shortened to only one loop, 10 miles. I had been worried that they were going to cancel the bike course all together so I was okay with the change. 

They announced that we were 1 minute from start and started a countdown at 5 seconds out. Then we were off. I started near the front of the crowd which leads to me being passed by lots of people in the beginning. I pick a steady pace and stick to it. I have learned that going out too fast will burn my legs out so it's better to not get carried away by the crowds. As I finished the first loop and began the second loop, I started to pass people. As I always say, "A steady pace, wins the race." At about this point in the race I also began to finally have feeling in my feet since they were like bricks for the first loop. I was finally warming up even though I was soaking wet. As I was about a half mile from the end of the first run portion, I saw that Wes was a little over a minute ahead of me. I was excited to see this since he is a faster runner than me. It showed me that I had kept a good pace for the first 3 mile run. 

As I was making it into transition, he was heading out. While I was still running, I took off my hat and neck gator so I would have a faster transition. I got to my bike and immediately put my helmet on. I had ran with my bike gloves on over my running gloves, do I didn't need to worry about putting them on in transition. I had placed my bike shoes under my gear bag to keep them out of the rain. It worked but was pretty much pointless since they were about to be soaked anyways. I quickly untied my running shoes and put my bike shoes on and headed out of the transition area. 

I started off on the bike portion in the pouring rain. I was nervous about crashing due to the slick roads so I wasn't going to push the ride too hard. I planned on slowing down before each corner as a precaution. If I thought I was wet before the bike ride, I was wrong. Once I picked up some speed on the bike, it began to throw water all over my legs and into my shoes. Now I was wet. I starting passing people and soon even passed Wes. I ended up riding most of the course with a group of 3-4 women who were riding at my speed. We went around one corner where someone yelled, "Way to go, guys!" I yelled back, "We're girls! Girl Power!" The girls around me laughed at that. I know that I could have gone faster on the bike if the conditions were better but I have my first half distance triathlon in one week and couldn't risk a crash. I finished the bike and made my way into the transitions area.

I took my helmet off and reached into my gear bag and pulled out my visor. I was too warm to put my cold weather hat back on plus I wanted something dry. I took off my two layers of gloves too because I knew that I was not going to be able to tie my running shoes with the gloves one. I forgot to undo the velcro wrist straps so it was a bit of a process to remove them but they finally came off. I tied by shoes and was off. As I exited the transition, a friend of mine who had raced the sprint course cheered me on. That's always nice to hear. 

My legs were tired and a little heavy at the start of the run. I had to tell myself that I only had 30-35 minutes left and that I could push through it. I started passing people almost right away on the run. I passed one guy who I could tell was really upset that he was going slow. I felt his pain because we have all been there. At about the one mile mark, I saw my "white whale". I always try to find someone in front of me to try to pass. She was wearing a white jacket so I thought it was fitting that she be my target. I ended up passing her at about the 1.25 mile mark. After the turnaround at 1.5 miles, I really tried to pick up my pace. I once again had to self talk and tell myself that I only had about 15 minutes left and that I could do it. Shortly after that, I saw Wes. He was a little bit behind me and heading to the turnaround. We waved to each other as we passed. Once I passed the 2.5 mile mark, I picked up my pace again. I no longer had anyone in front of me so I just had myself to race. I made the final turn into the finisher chute and tried to sprint but my legs were not going very fast. I gave it what I could and pushed through the finish line. After I was handed my medal, I saw that my son was there and he took a picture of me with my medal. 

The volunteers took my timing chip which was nice since I really didn't feel like bending down to undo it myself. I took the camera from my son and sent him back to the car so he could warm up and stay out of the rain. I knew Wes was just a few minutes behind me so I waited to watch him finish. 

He was cold but finished strong. 

We took our customary finishers picture together and then went to the snack tent. I picked up a water and a string cheese. We then went over to the transition area and packed up our gear. We loaded up the car and went back to hear the awards ceremony. My friend, who cheered me out of T2, won first place overall male in the sprint distance! After the awards were given out, we made our way back to the car. We then went back to the hotel for some nice warm showers and to pack up our luggage. We had asked for a late check-out and I'm so glad we had. 

Overall, this was a great race. It cost us $25 because we used a Black Friday special last November. For that we received a tech t-shirt, a finisher's medal, during race water and Gatorade, post-race food and drink, a beautiful race course (even if it wasn't the best weather for a race) and free race pictures. We will probably sigh up to race this one again next year. Final results were: Run 29:36, T1 1:10, Bike 38:05, T2 1:28, Run 31:21 for a total time of 1:41. I placed 33/56 overall, 12/27 female and 2nd in age group female 35-39.