I planned to race the Squamish Triathlon, a non-drafting Olympic distance event in Squamish (a town halfway between Vancouver and Whistler) as a pre-race tuneup for the 70.3 in Sonoma next week. The added bonus of doing the event was the chance for Ross and I to spend some time with Malaika and Peter. Peter is this pilot we know that does death defying runs on the North end of Vancouver Island in float planes who in a past life won three Hawaiian Ironmans along with a crapload of other races of note. They are cool. The race in Squamish is gorgeous and winning it for my second time was great, especially after setting a new bike record after a really tough week of training. Things seem to be on track for next week… even though I am VERY nervous about the last five kilometers of that run! On for the stories from the week….
Okay, how humiliating is it to have your worst race EVER while everyone is watching to see how you do? 8,000 people received a magazine with me on the cover… I had to REPRESENT for my Xterra peeps! Unfortunately, I think I swam better two years ago in Los Angeles when I was off course heading for Canada and they had to send a jetski for me… This time my body shut down after one too many flights, one too many days living in AC, and one too many late nights in another time zone. After turning around immediately after coming home from Utah, immediately jumping on a bike I unfortunately ran out of time to ride a lot and travelling for 7 hours three days after an 11 hour travel day… Mel went down for the count. I just sucked in Chicago.
I woke up with a fever and a sinus infection, decided to start anyhow (the rule of thumb from mountain biking was always if it was above the neck, okay to try) but really had a terrible day. Started ok for the first 200 m of the swim (finally got to wear my Aquaman!) then blew to smithereens drowning in my own mucus and dog paddled the worst swim of my life into a head on current for a swim that seemed as if it would never end. It wasn't pretty. I kept looking to see if I could climb up a ladder on the side and run away to hide. I trotted to transition wondering if I should even bother getting on the bike. Told myself that maybe it was just the swimming that would be bad. Nope. When I got on my bike, I laughed as my Orbea Dance Team cheered me up the overpass (which felt like it was about a 30% grade that day) and committed to a lap. Unfortunately, the Orbea Dance Team was at the 2nd lap turnaround as well. Not wanting to let them down, I finished the second lap as well and laughing at them made my day from hell not quite so bad. I had to “git er done!”. I had some fun riding my new Ordu which sure looks fast with its fancy new wireless Powertap 2.4 wheel and my fast Limar aero helmet! The good part about my ride was my cadence, I stayed in the upper 90s to 100ish for the ride which was the goal. The bad part was the watts. I am pretty sure I can push that average for some 4h rides… yikes! Regardless, I finished the bike, got off and went back to bed at the hotel for 16 hours before heading home first thing the next morning. That is how my first trip for the Chicago Triathlon went. I hope a number of the other 8,000 participants had better races. Sam McGlone sure did, winning the women’s! Conrad represented for Xterra with a solid 6th place, so I am stoked for him.
The good part was spending time with Sundog Eyewear in their expo booth and checking out all the cool new styles for 2007. I would say their glasses were a hit at the race. I also caught up with Orbea and Saucony and did some autograph signings, chatted to a lot of the racers and met some of the road girls. All in all a good time and I will go back to show I really don’t swim THAT bad, even if I make jokes about my bad swimming all the time. My race in Los Angeles does not have to be very good to be better than this one! So, until LA, thanks for the cheering race fans and for me, eating some humble pie once in a while builds character. Or something like that…
This past weekend I chose to go to Boulder, Colorado, to do the Boulder Peak race as a little altitude tune up to get ready to race Big Bear on the 15th of this month. This was my second foray into altitude racing this season… the first being the Epic of Keystone. This race didn’t have the happy ending that my suffering at the Xterra had. I had no power, no gas, and no dignity as I rode around slow as molasses, and then got my shirt torn off by the wind currents created by the age groupers running past me, seemingly like gazelles since I was going so amazingly slow. It was a VERY tough day at the office. Continue reading “Boulder Peak and Mel Face Off”