Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oklahoma Race Report

I did it!! My fourth year of Junior Elite and I finally won a race. I was thinking about it the other day, and I realized that although I've had a lot of potential these past couple seasons I've never held up that banner at the finish! So I'm happy- I think PanAms is a good race to win too :). I didn't do a very good job of holding up the banner though haha- it was so heavy!!!

The race for me was a bit crazy. I got a flat in the first 5minutes of my bike warmup/bike to the race course. I race on tubulars, so I was in a bit of a panic as soon as it happened. It was only 6am so it was still dark out and I don't think I was quite awake yet at that point. I quickly pulled over to the side of the road, whipped out my cell and repeatedly called Patrick until he picked up. As soon he answered, my brain kicked in a little, and I realized I was probably only a kilometer away from the hotel. My tire wasn't completely flat yet, so I bump bump bumped my way back to the hotel. Luckily I was in good hands. Kurt and Craig took my wheel to try and fix, and they gave me a spare wheel to warm-up on. In the end I just ended up racing on that wheel, and even though my bike felt way heavier, and the shifting was a little off, it didn't seem to make much of a difference for me in the race.

It was a non-wetsuit swim today, but the water was cold. And the air was cold! Our coldest day so far here in Oklahoma, and soooooooo windy. I did my warmup in my wetsuit because I've been known to have major issues with racing if my core temp gets too low. I left my wetsuit on as long as possible, but I was still shivering at the startline. They didn't call us up based on itu rankings, so I had a pretty crappy start number. I thought that as I ran up to the startline I would have to pick the spot at the end of the line, so I lined up beside the south americans that had been called before me despite the fact that I did not want to start next to them. Then I realized that other girls were choosing whichever spots they liked, so I tried to run over to be beside Gaby or Christine, who I know are strong swimmer, but the officials started yelling at me. Apparently once you've 'chosen your spot' you are not allowed to move. LAME! There was 61 of us on the start line, so an absolutely massive field for junior racing. As soon as I hit the water I got stuck in the dreaded 'washing machine'. Even worse it was the slow swimmers washing machine. My dad who was watching from above said that after the first 100meters I was almost in last. I stayed really calm and confident though (I'd usually be panicking at this point), and gradually made my way through the main pack. Finally I caught up to Marianne and Alex who were leading our little chase group. Seeing the front pack not too far away, I put in a huge surge, and pulled Alex and Marianne to within 15ish seconds of the lead pack.

The run up to transition was super long, and I had planned to absolutely give it my all for that part, but my feet and legs were so numb from the river that I didn't make up much time. I managed to really really hammer the first minute of the bike and caught up to the pack. I'm happy about that because I'm not sure I would have been able to do that last year. Or maybe it's just because the pack was ridiculously slow... Lucky ms. Ridenour who always gets picked first for positioning, found clear water right off the bat, and had an amazing swim. She lead the whole swim and bike solo, maintaining a gap of approx 30seconds.

I yelled my head( tried to just stay encouraging, but I got frustrated a lot too) off pretty much the whole ride trying to get the pack working together, to catch up, but no luck. I felt like I pulled the whole first 10km by myself. But then by the second lap the other canadians shared the work with me. Alex got her wheel stuck in a crack going around the turn-around, and went down. She was up and right in the pack again, but her brakes were rubbing so much that she could hardly pedal, and had to stop and fix it. And then re-fix it everytime she hit a big bump (which were all over the place). That was devastating because I know we would have come 1, 2.

T2 was a bit slow on my part, for some reason I tried to rack my bike by the seat rather than the handlebars, and struggled with that a bit. And then my feet were so frozen I had trouble putting the race flats on. I got into a groove pretty quickly though, and by the first 600ish meters I had already caught up, and passed Christine. I felt super relaxed the whole run. A girl from Mexico caught up to me at the turn-around, and we ran together the whole way. I put in a few surges on the second lap to try and drop miss Mexico, or at least make a gap between our followers, but I don't know if I gained anything or not. Coming to the last 400ish meter, PK told me to surge, so I tried my bestest. And coming up through transition I just ran really strong- and I won! I kinda like how you couldn't see the finish until about the last 70meters, because then there was less of 'the finish line is so close- yet so far away' feeling that happens at some races.

Marianne finished 3rd which was so great! I haven't found any results yet, but Gaby had a great run, and finished 5th or 6th. Rachel and Christine finished strong as well- in the top ten for sure. The boys had some bad luck. I think 5 of our boys went down on the bike. But Connor Hammond had a great run- finishing in 3rd, and Ian came 5th I think. And Aaron, Matt, and Cole were close behind. Well I better go run and cheer on our elites! Go Canada!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Good Day

First, a few pics from the crits (that I stole off the internet...) :
sprint finish!

We had a beautiful 20 degree day today- not bad for May!! And I got to spend most of it outside, so that was nice. We had a short, but pretty tough 4.3ish km swim in the pool, followed by a waaaaaaayyyyy too long, Absolutely Freezing, 800m swim in the lake.
I struggle a lot with the cold. And May 1st Thetis Lake swimming is really really cold. Luckily I came prepared with an absolutely amazing neoprene/water repellent wetsuit shirt to wear under my actual wetsuit (best investment of my life!). So that shirt is the only reason why I am still alive at this moment. I still struggled though. Everybody else made it back to the beach, and then way way after them came Matt (he has issues with the cold maybe even worse than me.. buuuut he's a considerably faster swimmer) and then way way way way way after Matt I somehow made it back. oh sigh.
No major panic attacks though on my part, aaaaand Patrick didn't even have to rescue me! (thank you absolutely amazing shirt:)
We then went straight from the lake swim into a 90min hilly base ride. Then a tiny little 90min break before we were on our way to the track for 4x1km with some 200's. My left hamstring has been ridiculously tight and sore from weights yesterday. (actually my WHOLE BODY is ridiculously tight and sore from weights.) But my left hamstring in particular was really bugging me, so I did a lot of running on the grass, and decided not to do the 200's today.
Everything has been coming together lately though. Swimming has been gradually coming along- This week has actually been pretty awesome for me in the pool(finally!). I guess today was a bit rougher in the pool, but I think that's mostly from overdoing the weights yesterday. Running felt fast today for the first time in what feels like forever, and biking has been solid. I just about finished the newton heights crit in the pack on wednesday (I got dropped in the second last lap- but close enough). So everything is going pretty well. Just have to Stay Healthy! fingers crossed!!! And get that sister of mine healthy too.