Sunday, October 9, 2016

That's Racing Baby: Wurst Tri Ever Race Report

The sprint distance is not my strength. Bryce has told me many times that I'm "a diesel engine, not a sports car," and it he right. I am not the fastest, but I can go for a really long time, and keep going after that. Today though, for a fun change of pace, I actually had a really strong showing in the sprint distance!
My friend Tasha and I woke up WAY too early (as in 4am for me!) and drove down to New Braunfels to participate in the Wurst Tri Ever. It is a spring with a 400m swim, a 14 mile bike, and a 3 mile run. I was excited to race in the Comal river, which is a gorgeous place and one of my favorite bodies of water (spring-fed constant temperature river- perfect for floating in the summer!) Well, I was excited when I registered, admittedly not as excited when my alarm went off after a very short night's sleep thanks to a cow-related fiasco. 

We got to the race site right on time, parked easily, and grabbed our packets. I got a good spot in transition that lined up with a tree to make it easy to find, and we went to the pre-race meeting. One of the draws of this race is that the swim starts with "Wet Willy," a multi-story slide that dumps you in the water to start the swim. However, in the meeting the race director explained that fast swimmers may want to bypass the slide and start on the other side, where the time-trial style start would get you in the water much sooner. So, although the slide looked super fun, I know my swim is one of my strongest disciplines, so I lined up on the other side to start the race. 

The Swim

I was probably the 20th person on the water when I got my cue to go, and dove in to the river, which was a perfect 74 and crystal clear. The swim is a bit odd, in that you swim a perimeter of the river area, get out, WALK (no running allowed) to a spring-fed Olympic pool to swim another three lengths, and then you're done. So although it's only 400m, everyone's times are kind of long because of the middle-of-the-swim transition. Good thing I've got a strong power-walk! I swam well, by far the fastest in my age group, and finished the whole series in 8:46
Tasha almost not tall enough for Wet Willy. ;)

Slide and river portion of the swim

Spring fed Olympic pool

 The Bike

After also posting the fastest T1 time by over a minute in my AG, I hopped on my bike and headed out on the hilly 14 mile course full of lots of turns and even a 25mph speed limit on one downhill (enforced by radar!) I dodged no fewer than 4 deer crossing the road, almost hit a truck head on that was passing under a one-lane bridge, and even still was easily averaging 19mph. Until, that is, my chain dropped. It not only dropped, it wedged itself between my crank and my bottom bracket and made itself very difficult to pull out and set back on the crank. I lost about 3 minutes of time jacking with the stupid thing, pretty miffed that I lost some momentum as the bike is always my best discipline. Even WITH this delay, I was the fastest bike split in my AG at 47:42. My end speed was 16mph which makes me so frustrated because my bike speed is much better than that, but, as my husband said, "That's just racing, baby. Nothing you can do."

The Run

Although I wasn't insanely fast on the run, I am very proud to say that I ran the entire thing. That does not happen for me often (I think this may be only the 2nd race I've ran the entirety of the run!) and I felt really good doing it. It was nice to be able to see the running work I've put in all spring and summer really showing some returns, and even though my heel got a rub from a trapped piece of gravel during the last half mile, I felt good and finished really strong, running a 9:09 minute mile the whole time! That was the 2nd fastest in my age group with a 24:43 split, but when I crossed the finish line, she said I was currently in first place! Yes!
Cute medals! And look at that hilarious swimming bratwurst! 

Finishing poolside on a perfect day, weather-wise. Not too shabby!
The "what-if" part of this sucks, but, it's all part of the sport and I had a blast no matter what. 

I am ALWAYS 2nd place when there's not just me, if I podium at all. It's seriously getting to be an "always the bridesmaid," kind of situation. (With the exception of Magnolia Hill, which is my only "real" first place finish ever.) I was stoked! But then, as everyone else finished up, I got bumped, and found out I missed 1st place by, and of course, two freaking minutes. Less time than I spent messing with by dadgummed chain. GRRRR! 

I wanted to tell the girl standing above me on the podium that I would have been there except my bike betrayed me, but I know that 1. That is super rude and not sportsmanlike and 2. That's just racing, baby. Pros, elites, and age groupers lose the field all the time because of mechanicals, or meltdowns, or what have you. I'm grateful it wasn't worse- that it didn't cause a crash, that I didn't hit a deer (!!) , and that I have the knowledge and fortitude to not let a hangup stop me, know how to fix my bike, and know how to hop back in the saddle and push on. BB, my bike, is in the doghouse with me since I JUST cleaned her drive train and have no idea why it happened, but I had fun, raced really well in one of my weaker distances, and still came out 2nd place AG out of 16 and 9th woman overall out of 154 women. THAT is the kind of race I like to go out on for the season!

Podium in a deep field- yes! 

AG winner wine glass, bike grease hickey on my neck.
Tasha wiped the floor with her AG in the swim-run duathlon option! 1st place!

2016 has been a season of extreme highs and extreme lows. I raced my first season of off-road XTERRA tris and ended up qualifying for the World Championships as the F25-29 South Central Regional Champion (Hello, Maui in 2017!). I hit the podium in almost every race I did, with the obvious and huge exception of my heartbreaking DNF at IM Boulder. However, although I raced as often as I did last year, I never felt the same burnout. My swim drastically improved thanks to going to Master's twice a week, my bike has been more enjoyable now that I mix road and trail, and my run is steadily improving, though it's not where I want it yet. 

I can't say enough wonderful things about being on my amazing team this year either. I really feel that having the support of my fellow Mavericks at Maverick Multisport  made a world of difference. It pushed me to do everything I could to represent myself, my team, and our sponsors well, and I truly think that is part of my success this year. Big thanks to Sugoi, Inifinit Nutrition, Argon 18, Cobb Saddles, Jaybird, ENVE, BlueSeventy, Swiftwick, Vittoria, Bolle, Shimano, CeramicSpeed, BSX, Primal Sport Mud, Rotor Components, and TriBike Transport.

Showing out for my sponsors in the October Austin Fit Magazine!

Another big thanks to Moxie Cycling, who have surrounded me with awesome, strong women all year who are passionate about bikes. I've had a ton of fun, made awesome new friends, and look forward to finishing out 2016 with a few rides and an off-road duathlon sporting my Moxie!

Here's to better luck next time, and always looking forward and climbing up. Because both good and bad, that's racing, baby!