Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Buffalo Olympic Triathlon Race Report

The one problem with racing every weekend is that keeping up with race reports becomes increasingly difficult. These past few weeks have been a blur. We enjoyed a special graduation ceremony at Eastview Saturday night, raced in Buffalo (about 60 mile Northwest of home) early Sunday morning, and hosted a Graduation party at our house Sunday evening. No time to spare…We were organized and on a mission..
Here’s the fun cake for the Special Graduate! The Party was great fun, but I was certainly ready to crash come nightfall…of course, it was all well worth it

After two duathlons in two weeks, I was very eager to get back in the water and start a race where I belong!! Unfortunately I ripped the arm of my BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit just a few days earlier, so I was a little worried what I’d end up with for raceday. That wetsuit has been my saving grace, and although I knew I could still race with the fist size hole in the arm, it wasn’t going to help me reach my goal for the day. I needed a great swim to get it done, and thankfully I was able to pick up a new suit at Gear West on Saturday morning. I’ve been a huge Blueseventy fan for the past four years, so there was no question on brand, but this year, b70 introduced a new line of suits designed specifically to help “triathletes” (added buoyancy in the leg area-Think built-in pull buoy). I talked to the Rep, and a few pros who’ve tried it, and it’s been very well received. Knowing full well, I do not classify as a real swimmer, I opted to give the ‘triathlete’ suit- the BlueSeventy Axis a go.

So much for that age old advice”Don’t try anything new on race day”. I took the tags off the wetsuit in transition on race morning, to go with my brand new shoes and race kit for the day.

I couldn’t believe how warm the water was (June in MN is typically freezing). I headed to the lake pretty early to get a feel for the new suit. It was very buoyant, but it felt a little looser in the upper body than my old suit. I could feel a little water coming through the arms, and I’m not really sure if that’s by design or if the suit is too big. Anyways, it was finally time to take off, and the Elite men and women started together. It was a rough, fast, and congested start, but after about 200m, I had open water. I could see a pack of two swimmers about 25m ahead, and was able to bridge up to them fairly easily. I stayed on their feet for a while, but I just couldn’t find any rhythm there. After the final turn back to shore (maybe about 500m left) I decided to work on my own and go around them. I was happy to see a sub 20min swim when I exited the water, but at that point, I still had a lot of work to do to reach my goal. It’s a long (uphill) run to T1… I was very surprised to hear someone say I was the first female out of the water, as I would have expected Heidi or Susan to be in front of me. I guess the suit worked its magic-It’s a keeper.

T1 was nothing exciting-I usually pride myself on fast transitions, but I struggled to get my suit off as efficiently as usual. I guess I’ll be cutting the bottoms after all. I jumped on my bike and tried to settle into a groove. Well that didn’t happen, but in the end I’m fairly pleased with my bike split. I rarely have any mechanical issues, as I’m pretty diligent about checking things over, but my self made areo drink system (between my areobars) came loose and was forced to hold it up throughout the early part of the ride (sure wish I had a regular bottle cage on my bike at that point). I drank as much as possible (it was my only bottle) and finally pitched it at the 9 mile aid station. Once the bottle was gone, I could finally focus on the important stuff-RIDING STRONG. I had a few moments of doubt out there as I couldn’t get things going, but eventually things started to feel better…or maybe it was the tail wind back to T2 that did it for me.

I figured if I arrived in t2 by the 1:28 mark, I would have a good shot at breaking my goal time of 2:10. I was pretty close at that point and took off out of t2 on a mission. The path heading out of the park gets pretty congested with all the short course athletes already on the run, but just up ahead I could see my favorite athlete in motion. I snuck up behind Kerry and after a little loving butt squeeze, I told him to stay with me. We ran together until the 1.5 mile mark, where he got to turn around. Unfortunately for me, I had a lot of running left with a delightful climb mixed in for good measure. The course did not have any mile markers or an exact turnaround spot, so it was really hard to know if I was on pace. I tried my best to maintain good form and keep moving. Once I hit the short course turnaround on my way back, I was able to look at my watch and see if I was on track. I think I had 11 minutes to get home, so I had no time to waste. The roads were so congested (imagine bike traffic and two way run traffic (1500 racers)) on one side of the road. It was so chaotic, but my focus on dodging traffic was taking my mind off the world of hurt happening in my legs. The path to the finish line was a zoo of people, and I came around the final corner and saw 2:08:50 on the clock, heard Jerry McNeil giving an enthusiastic welcome and Kerry there to give me a big hug. Perfect.

Buffalo Tri is a local race gem. The community embraces the event like no other and the race directors are so diligent about making it a top notch event. For the third week in a row I was able to walk away with a nice paycheck. This race gave away $1000to the winner, which is just wonderful. It’s so awesome to see these Race Directors support the athletes like that-Wow. Kerry also took home great prizes for his Podium AG finish in the sprint- He finished 15th overall and third in his AG… Pretty impressive considering he just rides his mtn bike these days.

I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to race a great course, see great friends without the added headache and expense of travel. We are so lucky here in Minnesota to have so many great choices for summer racing. See you next week!