2011 Kickoff At the Desert Classic Duathlon

This year’s race at the Desert Classic Duathlon sets a new record for me in early season racing… in that I have never raced in February “for serious” before.  And by “for serious” I mean compete in a race that includes other pro athletes that are trying to win, of which there were many on the start line at McDowell Mtn on Sunday.  Starpower including Leanda Cave, Christine Jeffrey, Jordan Rapp, Ben Hoffman, Pedro Gomes, Nathan White, Cody Waite, Trevor Glavin, BOTH of the Wassner twins, Lisa Ribes…. and more!  Wow.  That was a lot of race winners in there.  So when I said… let’s just take this out easy girls… everyone was laughing.  At me.

The laughter all started the day before when I rolled into Joel’s place.  Joel was my homestay for the weekend.  Everything about staying with Joel was like being at “home”.  He has a wicked party house with an awesome kitchen, a garage full of bikes where the mountain bikes outnumber the road bikes (only way to go), a sweet car but a practical truck and (start the drumroll) a sweetass wine cellar organized by country.  He didn’t even realize that I am a rabid fan of Riesling (although I would put in a bid for Alsace as the best region) and I was thoroughly impressed with the rest of the rather large collection.  It is a shame I didn’t sample some of the Italian gems in there… but I digress.  I was racing this weekend, remember? 

Good times all around.Innocent

Well, I almost forgot the race.  I got up super early to do the Shootout group ride on Saturday in Tucson and anyone who knows me knows that I have a hate relationship with early.  So when I drove to Phoenix I was so tired and was facing another morning of early but had too much to do to get ready to actually go to bed early.  So when my alarm was ringing again at dark-thirty on Sunday morning I hit snooze.  Three times.  Hmmm.

Then I hopped in the car and headed in what I thought was the right direction to get to McDowell Mtn Park, a place I have enjoyed countless mountain bike events at in the past.  Well, apparently my inner compass is dysfunctional in the morning because I kind of found a stupid long way to get there and rolled in with about 15 minutes to spare before the start.  Crappers.  I did about 8 jumping jacks to warmup for the race and wished I had more clothes with me since Leanda looked not only menacingly fast but frustratingly comfortable in her base layer.  Boo for bad clothing selection.

I was, of course, completely dropped in the first mile of the race.  Leanda and Lisa shot out of a cannon on the start and were essentially gone immediately.  The rest of the girls just dropped me normal-like.  Luckily I have actually trained so within a mile or so my legs realized it was go-time and not bed-time and I started going faster.  I had to stop myself from running the fun bermed trails the way I would ride them on my mountain bike.  So many good memories of racing at McDowell!  And, having the run sections off road meant I could make some good time on the downhills and uphills on speedy road triathletes, which helped me make my way to the front of the main group with Christine in tow when we got to T1.  Leanda I think was a full 45 seconds or so away out in front.

mel chris desert du

Classic XTERRA battle 🙂

Then I forgot how to do triathlon again when I ran away with my bike without my helmet on.  Triathlon 101: Don’t unrack your bike without a helmet on.  Stupid girl.  Rack the bike again, Christine left without me, helmet on, get bike, oh and get going.  Off I went with some super slow corners out on the road as I wasn’t sure how slippery rain soaked roads were or how good my handling skills would be with my hands cold.  Did I mention it was freezing out in not-so-sunny Arizona?

kerry yndestad photo bike

Kerry Yndestad’s Desert Du Photo from Facebook

Leanda was super strong.  I cut into her lead a tiny bit but when we did the big up/down/uphill section I think she stretched her lead again to stay safely in front of me.  I did outrun her by a bit on the second run but not enough to really challenge her as I was 29 seconds back at the finish.  I was stoked with the effort and happy for Christine that she was solidly in third at the finish.

So for the first race of the year it was certainly a good eye-opener and an awesome workout.  I think the sun at this time of year makes me happier and thus able to train a bit harder.  Which is necessary given the season is right around the corner.  Leanda is a rockstar so coming second to her is a solid day at the office for me.   Congrats to Nathan White for winning the men’s race and to my Specialized teammates Jordan Rapp and Ben Hoffman for taking 2nd and 4th in a very close race.

Thanks to Joel and his hilariousness for a fun weekend – good luck in IM New Zealand (and send some love to Christchurch!).  Thanks to Brian and Scott for inviting me to finally do the Classic. I love the Phoenix Tri Club for all they do.  Thanks to John Barr for letting me live in his place in Tucson for two whole weeks!  And thanks to all of my SPONSORS for getting behind me this season and getting stoked about my huge schedule this year.  I am pretty darn motivated by the new and exciting challenges I have set for myself.   Looks like things are coming along in good time.

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