If someone told me a few months ago that I would be racing a half in October I would call them crazy. It was never in my race plan to start racing long course this season, let alone really any non-drafting race. All I had been training for was ITU draft legal style racing. In early September my coach suggested I that I sign up for a half. So I decided to make my half debut in no other but my college town.
The atmosphere was extremely relaxed and laid back for me because I had both of my best friends there to take my mind off of the race. I find it easier to race when you are not so caught up in the actual race but just enjoying the experience.
I am used to racing in the afternoon so the 7:30AM start time was a bit of a shock. But I rolled out of bed and got ready to race. Both of the transitions were set up the night before so I really had nothing to do on race morning besides warm up. My main concern was how many gels I should bring on the bike. Sounds ridiculous, but I was really unsure of how many to bring and where I should even attach them on my bike. It sounds like something small, but you have to be able to take them off while racing and you don’t want them flapping around or rubbing your leg the whole time. I am pretty sure every other pro was secretly laughing at me because I was asking so many newbie questions.
The swim went exactly like I planned it to go. I was the only one without a speed suit so I got a little nervous because I was unsure of how much of an advantage the suit actually was. I stared next to Jaz and Tenille because I knew they were the feet I needed to draft off of. I swam with Tenielle until we caught about 10 of the pro men. That was a circus! I did not want to lose Tenielle but I had to keep sighting to make sure I did not lose sight of her while swimming through the guys. We finally exited the swim together and I bolted through transition because I knew the first 5 miles of the bike were uphill and I wanted a little extra time getting settled on the bike.
The bike was long, windy, and hilly. I have only been riding a time trial bike since September so I did not really have many expectations. I knew the other girls were very strong on the bike so I just tried to stay with them as long as I could. At mile 20 I was riding alone and would ride alone the rest of the way. It is VERY hard to stay focused out there by yourself. I am used to riding in packs so my goal is usually just to not get dropped. In this type of racing, you have to actually strategize and make sure you do not get out of rhythm. I have a LOT to learn with cycling. Next year though I will be hanging with the big girls. Watch out J
The run was uneventful. I was 8 minutes down out of T2. That is not really motivating to hear but going into this race my coach said the race is not over until the end. So I took the first mile out way too fast…once again I forgot I was not racing
Olympic distance. I settled into a pace and maintained it most of the way. I did not eat enough on the bike so by mile 12 I started to get dizzy. I just maintained my form though and finished strong. I wish I would have pushed the run a little more but there was really no reason because I could not have caught up to 4th. Next time!
I ended up in 5th place and I am satisfied with the result. Long course racing is fun and I think I will try some more races. Thank you to Rev3 and all of the volunteers who made this event possible! It was very enjoyable and I will be back next year.