This race was one of the toughest, hottest, most fun races I have done yet. It was about 12 minutes long for an Olympic, 97 degrees for the day, 10+ extreme UV index, high humidity, super steep hilliacious climbing for the first 2 miles in and out of transition and fairly hilly run- a quarter or which was on sand!
Race morning I was a little nervous about my gearing on my bike- this course definitely requires a 28 cassette and I only brought a 23. This was my major learning point of the trip. Always always make sure you know the course in case your gearing is off. With the grade of hills out of transition, I was imagining myself walking my bike up the road ( “please let there not be a Slowtwitch gallery picture of me WALKING my bike on the course, God!”). Blaaahhh!…
This was one of the first swims that I was actually able to draft the whole time- wow, what a difference! The effort felt quite a bit easier than usual but I didn’t feel I had the power to get around and make it on my own so I sat in and let my super speedy Profile Design Macho speed suit do its thing. I knew it was going to be a long, hot, death-march type day so I was happy to be a little conservative in the swim. I came out with 2 other girls and we were about 1:20 down from the leader (kind of a lot of time but I felt great out of T1 so I think this was the right choice- I am rarely under a minute down anyways…)
Straight out of T1 we rode on a gravel dirt road for about 200 meters. Pretty awesome- just have to cross your fingers with your tires and hold on tight…..but made it out the other side ok…
Then we started climbing…grades were really high in some places- like probably 15+%… I said earlier that I had a 23 cassette (EVERYONE else has a 27/28) and it was a total standing, grind-fest for the first 2 miles up and down these crazy climbs. I got caught at the top of the last hill, which didn’t surprise me at all but then really pushed hard on the downhill and got away again. One of the things that is really awesome about my Quintana Roo CD0.1 bike is that it is soooo super aero. Riding downhill I am able to stay with people much heavier than me- which rocks going downhill in races. Thank sooo much to Skip at Nytro for helping me with my bike..Nytro does so much for the triathlon world- they rock!! http://www.nytro.com/
I had the new Altair profile design wheels on and they rode super fast too- very happy with them and an AMAZING value if anyone is in the market. Also had the new Profile Design Volna Aero bars for the first time- which literally have taken 1.5 pounds off my bike- amazing how much aerobars matter!! I had no idea!!
….Anyways, I got to the front of the bike race by the middle of the first loop, but it took me quite a while to catch Bree Wee- who was in first most of the bike. Super strong cyclist and super fun person…and awesome picture of her racing a cow on the rev3tri.com site: http://rev3tri.com/live-posts/pro-bike-action-photos/ganadores-2/ With about 8 miles to go, I started to get really really hot. This is when I learned my second lesson of the day. Remove the vent block in my Rudy Project Wingspan aero helmet when it is 97 degrees out…you think I would have figured this out by now. The Wingspan has this great design where you can interchange the vent space pieces depending on the weather:
Check out all the massive vent area if you freaking remove the cover!!
But obviously there is user error if you don’t actually use this great function =) So my head was getting very hot – I decided to start singing to myself. I figured this might take my mind off the fire burning under my helmet…so what better song to sing than “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers:
I came into T1 first off the bike with about 30 seconds- so figured I had some time to put on some socks…and Yes, I am the only pro I know who wears socks in an Olympic distance race….
I was fairly confident that I was one of the faster runners in the field but you never want to be too confident of anything so I definitely tried to get into a comfortable cruise rhythm pretty quickly- not too fast, not too slow. The one issue I was having was the heat but three things saved me:
1- Lots of salt the night before. This is a trick that a lot of pro use…I literally drowned my food in salt the night before a hot race and have not had a cramp since doing this..(but no guarantees!)
2- Hammer Endurolytes and Hammer Heed- such great products and such a great product company!! Being a biochemistry major and a med student, I have researched nutrition products a lot and I am absolutely convinced that Hammer has the best stuff- which is why Team IE only uses Hammer. There are several specific reasons for the superiority of these products…I am doing a full write up on hammer products this week so check out the TEAM IE blog this week for more details on this if you are interested: http://teamieelite.blogspot.com/
3- CARRY YOUR WATER WHEN IT IS HOT!! Big deal. Mark Lorenzoni and Dana Thiele of Ragged mountain racing have repeatedly pointed out to me how Ryan hall carries his water bottle with him away from the bottle station for miles after pickup- while all of his competitors take a few sips and drop the bottle. This is a big deal when it is hot and water can be a major unrecognized resource on the run. Water on your head – also very important to keep core temps down in hot weather- use water however you can on the run to stay cool. Once core temps rise, trouble ensues so you have to prevent against this.
The run was super hot, hilly and a significant portion was in the sand so it was epic. After the first loop of the two loop course I could tell I was pulling away pretty comfortably so I tried as much as I could to back it down. No need to burn any more matches than you have to in March. However, I was getting super hot and just wanted to stop running so I think my mind and body were battling with what pace they wanted to run…
Mind: “Slow down, chill out, don’t be stupid, do what you do best- chiiiilllll”
Body: “Just hurry up and finish, this kind of sucks, hot, painful, don’t slow down – I just want to lay down- get there so we can lay down and eat”
Funny- because usually the mind and body have the opposite conversation; I think they met in the middle this time.
Crossing the finish line for my first pro win was huge- I was so happy that it was at a Rev3 event too. The race director and event directors are such warm, nice, caring people. I had a blast with them. Thanks so incredibly much to my genius genius coach Greg Mueller!!!
Thanks to Champion Systems for making the best suits in the world! Cant wait for the new pink one I just got!
Lastly, here are some cool interviews and videos on me at the race: