Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3, Lake Stevens, Washington

This was a race of first times.  First time I have flatted in a road triathlon.  First time I have been the lucky recipient of a penalty from a referee (to be fair that is in an Ironman event as I did get a penalty at the ITU Worlds in March this year for having my shoe fall off my bike in transition).  First time I had too much time before the start of the race by being EARLY.  First time I forgot the adaptor for my disc wheel.  And lastly, the first time I completely kept my head together when all was going sideways around me.  I am so happy with second place in Lake Stevens this weekend.  I raced four races in seven days as part of my plan to train hard for the Las Vegas World Championships and all four days were totally solid so my form is really, really great right now.  Although I won this race last year and of course, TRY to win whenever I start, who am I kidding?  Racing a 3 day UCI stage race against some of Canada’s best at Transrockies did not leave me 100% and over a week without proper run training is a tough ask at a half.  Tyler Stewart ran FANTASTIC at this race and it would have been tough for me to run as well as she did no matter what I was up to this week… she was fast.   My cycling ego is counting the minutes lost on the side of the road fixing flats and waiting out penalties but really, unless I throw down in Vegas is just doesn’t effing matter.   However, it would have been nice to have my bike split to run with her at least for awhile and make the show a bit more exciting.  Que sera, sera.  Read more for the story….

 

All in all, I did have a pretty darn good race even if the times are painful.  I had some pretty challenging days after Trans Rockies after travelling, getting a nasty cough and then having my hot water heater blow up in my basement.  I was mentally pooped.   I was so lucky to have my friends and Scott at my house making me laugh so hard at pilates/core/bootcamp that I could forget what a cluster my life is right now.  Friday I wasn’t sure how it would go because I had a bad cough and some really bad swim training but my legs were coming around on the bike.  I postponed travel to Saturday to make sure my cough was settling down a bit and by the afternoon managed to make it to Lake Stevens just in time for the Pro meeting.

I really worked hard to try to get the most out of my day.  It was a success starting from the swim.  My Profile Design wetsuit nearly earned me first out of the water which would have been awesome aside from the fact Jen outsprinted me to the mats.  I did go out onto the bike first which was fun.  I had sank to the bottom of Thetis Lake on Friday so this swim was much better than I had expected even if I do still swim faster when we don’t wear wetsuits.

Out on the bike I had so, so much fun.  I was riding a super fast Pro disc wheel and Di2 which is completely money on these hilly courses.  My so comfy Shiv and Romin saddle went well with my new duds made by Champion System.  The Elite Trisuit has a proper triathlon pad which is so incredibly awesome when you are riding – it feels like you have proper cycling shorts on.  No longer will I be a squirmer on the saddle!

I was absolutely stoked to have the mental freshness to really push myself as hard as I could even if there were moments where I could tell my cadence was off.  Regardless, I had a solid lead for the first lap and was not passed by anyone until one age group man got me at the beginning of the second lap.  About 6 miles into the second lap I heard the dreaded hissing sound as my rear wheel went flat.  Amazingly my first thought was “This is as good a time as any to practice this.”  Sadly, I did not have an adaptor for that disc wheel with me nor did I have any tire levers.   It turns out the valve actually snapped in the wheel so I obviously did something wrong when I changed to fresh tires for this race.  One less thing that should be left to a blonde.  When I stopped I realized I didn’t have an adapter so I started calling to passing by athletes:  “Hash pipe?  Anyone have a hash pipe?”  Seriously.  In case you are also wondering what I was talking about, the adaptor for a disc is L shaped like a little pipe and thus is described as a hash pipe in triathlete slang.  I am an idiot.  There wasn’t a disc wheel in sight as the age group field I had just passed went riding past and with that in mind, what do you think they were thinking when I asked that?  Dumbass.   Should have asked the next person:  “Got any weed, man?”  We are in the Northwest after all.. haha!

So a along came Colleen Sullivan who stopped to help me and told me I had been ice bathing in the river with some friends of hers at TransRockies.  Karma.  She gave me her CO2 and the adaptor fit into the hole in my wheel.  I pried the tire off mountain bike style (no levers) and got it all back together, blew it up and off I went.  I rode about 2 miles where it felt like I was riding a snowmobile belt before I realized my tire was unseated and about to blow.  So I got back off, took the air out and then properly reseated the tire on the rim.  She stopped again to see if I was okay.  What a champ.  I then realized my Genuine Innovations Big Air actually fit and would inflate the tire.  Doh!  Then I was really ready to go.  Off I went.

So I started to catch the girls who had passed me at that point (all of them).  Once I got past Hailey the motorbike rolled up beside me (while I had a line of 6 age groupers to my right) telling me that I was riding too far left and she was giving me a yellow card.  Seriously.  I got a yellow card for not drafting/running over the age groupers to my right.  That yellow is meant for blocking.. ie not letting people behind me by.   Is that really the call to give someone who is riding 10 miles per hour faster than the people to her right?  Wouldn’t I then be DRAFTING since I can’t slipstream into a pass?  WTF?  Also, keeping in mind that when I was riding I was passed by 2 men the ENTIRE RACE I can’t imagine I was doing a hell of a lot of blocking.  That call was questionable.  What was crap was the marshall in the tent who asked me a laundry list of questions after taking his time FINDING his clipboard, writing my information one character per thirty seconds and then calling me back to write on my number?  All of the girls had passed again.  Nice cherry on my bike split.  I was passed by everyone in the race at least twice.  Nice.

So coming off the bike I was told I was 5 minutes behind which was changed to 7 minutes after 7km so I thought I was losing time when really, I was 7minutes back the whole time… I had just lost a ridiculous amount of time sitting on the side of the road on the bike.  I think that took some wind out of my sails thinking I was continuing to lose time when I wasn’t and at that point I probably started losing more time.  I actually tried my hardest on that run but my legs were not spinny after so much mountain biking this week and so little run speed so I really needed someone to drag me along to make me go.   I felt strong if not totally fast, ran well and didn’t die at all and I was seconds slower than last year without the nailbiting finish anyways so I am feeling fit and given some of my terrible half Ironman races this year this one will go into the category of REALLY GREAT race, even if it wasn’t a W.  Congratulations to Tyler Stewart for a really dominant performance.  Also congrats to all the girls I was racing with today:  Hailey, Mackenzie, Christine, Jen and Rachel.  Thanks for making me work for it.  We are all going to be better as a result.

So that ends block #1 to Vegas.  I get to recover from this week’s racing mania for a few days and then I have one more smaller training block that includes the Whistler XTERRA on Sept 4th.  Think you have what it takes to be a Canadian XTERRA Champion?  Canada up, eh?  Bring it.

Thanks to Specialized, Shimano, AVIA, Maxxis, Profile Design, Nathan, CycleOps, Sundog Eyewear, Powerbar USA, Champion System, Titec, ESI Grips, Genuine Innovations, and USANA for supporting this obsession.  I really love what I do and who I get to share this with.. thanks guys!!

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