Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heart of the Lakes Race Report

I can’t imagine more Perfect conditions for the 24th running of the Heart of the Lakes Triathlon (AKA the MN State Championship). Initially I was worried with early morning temps in the 50s, but as it turns out, it made for a very speedy day on the course. Course records fell, and that created and enthusiastic buzz in the crowd.

For the first time in many years, it was actually a wetsuit swim for the Elites. That typically doesn’t help me vs. my competition, but I was ready either way and figured breaking the 1:40 mark would be much easier given the wetsuit ruling. DKT and I lined up on the far inside line and I stayed on his feet for all of 5 meters! Last year I remember the swim being extremely rough so opted for the inside line this time around. By the time I was on line with the Swim Buoys, I was surprised to see what appeared to be, the entire Elite wave in front of me. Man those guys took off at a crazy pace. I finally got myself back in the pack and kept pushing my pace for the remainder of the 800m swim. The run through T1 was tough (I think it’s the toughest part of the course), but I hopped on my bike and was ready to push the pedals for the 21 mile ride.

My legs felt pretty good, and having the men zoom by in the early miles really helped motivate me to push the pace. As I arrived into T2, I put on my flashy new Nike LunarLite shoes and took off on a mission. That mission was to put together a good run split and in doing so, break the longstanding amateur course record set by Becky Gibbs (now Lavelle) back in 1996. I didn’t catch the first few mile markers to see my pace, but I was feeling strong and steady. With a few early climbs I was happy to stay close to a few guys ahead and stayed focused on maintaining a strong pace. The course is a 5.3 mile loop around the lake with the final 1.5 miles flat and fast. I was checking my watch along the way, and I knew there was no room for a slowdown. I would have to find the ‘hurt box’ and keep at the constant self coaching. As I approached the finish line I was greeted with the enthusiastic voices of Jerry MacNeil and Coach Kris announcing that I had broken the Amateur record. Mission Accomplished!

It was fun watching the rest of the top women cross the line, then I went back out on the course to watch Kerry make his way to the finish. He worked hard on the run and earned an AG podium spot!

To cap an already prefect day, Kerry won the Bike in the generous Gear West raffle. This raffle is top notch. Can you believe that Gear West and its generous sponsors give away the following items at ALL TEN SERIES races:
• Kurt Kinetic Trainer
• QR Wetsuit
• TYR gear bag loaded with Bell helmet, Shimano Carbon shoes, yanks, Trek Bike computer, pedels, goggles, sunglasses, Speedo Fastskin, Hammer products.
• Zipp 808 Tubular race wheels
• QR Tequilo Bike.
Yes folks, its worth registering for these races just to be entered in the raffle (but you must be present to win). Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to be part of this amazing Triathlon community??? Yeah, I know.