Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Optum Health Performance Manitou RR

It was another jam packed weekend: With Liberty Half being contesting on Saturday morning, a VERY SPECIAL wedding Saturday night and the Manitou Sprint on Sunday morning, I knew it would be a great, but very busy weekend. I didn’t opt for ridiculous back to back racing, but I did make the drive to Baker Park on Saturday to watch and cheer for a few friends. It was a cold, wet and chilly morning, and watching those athletes make it happen on the race course was very inspiring. My friend Jen L. had a great race, and more importantly she was thrilled with her performance-Such a great breakthrough for her, and only a small preview of what’s to come this year (yeah, Ironman Kentucky)! It was also fun to watch my teammate Suzie in her Half Iron Debut. I’m just getting to know Suzie, but her positive attitude, big smile, and ‘say it as it is’ approach refreshing. You just can’t help but smile whenever you’re around her. Her motivation and passion for the sport will undoubtedly lead to GREAT things down the road for her. She’s also a ‘juicer’ (the legal kind-ie. lots of veggies and fruits), so I’ve been using many of her tasty recipes and ideas lately. Check out her blog here…

I got home from the race around 2pm, and had to quickly 'transition' to wedding mode for the 3pm ceremony. Despite the rainy afternoon, the outdoor wedding was PERFECT and beautiful. When you see warm, giving and loving hearts blend together, a little rain has no impact, and maybe it helped hide the tears of happiness I shed for such a special couple. Good times had by all.

Thankfully my Sunday morning race wasn’t too far away, and with a later start time of 8:30, it wasn’t too bad in the morning. I still had my race wheels and transition bag packed from last week’s race, so truthfully there wasn’t too much prep required. I guess that’s a benefit to racing so frequently.

I arrived at the race venue to see a much different look to the Manitou Tri. This year, it was branded with Optum Health Performance (formerly known as SCS Multisport) colors, and the transition area was set up for the Youth F1 Race and Junior Elite race. These kids are so fun to watch; in fact I was so consumed with these guys, that I was pretty far from race mode myself. I didn’t really have any specific performance goals (besides go fast), which I’m learning is not the best thing for me. I do much better with specific performance objectives.

It was time to get my head in the game. The water was a little chilly, but the colder ambient temp of 57 degrees made the 66 degree water feel OK. This is a two loop course 2x400m, which is unique and fun. The Elite wave finally took off- I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I lined up in the thick of the pack, and paid a big price for it once we hit the water. Man…the first leg to the turnaround felt like BEAT ON CY time. Finally on the way back in, I went way wide to avoid the mayhem and finally found some open water. I came out of the water at the half way point just behind John Shelp, and a lot of folks right on my heels. Unfortunately the next few waves had already started, so when we hit the water the next time, we had to swim around all those additional swimmers. That was a headache, but I was able to make up some ground on the 2nd loop and come out of the water right behind Kevin O’Connor (pretty typical at this race). The run to T1 was much more painful than I remember it, and again, I struggled to have a smooth transition. I finally took off, and started the 13.5 mile out and back ride. I used a Power Tap wheel, and was disappointed I couldn’t keep my wattage where I wanted it, but my legs just felt dead. I didn’t give up and just tried riding with a higher cadence to see if that would help. I was able to pick it up a little bit, but after a near death encounter with a truck coming into T2 a few years, I cautiously came out of my aerobars and in comfy mode as I approached T2. Again, my transition wasn’t super slick, but I grabbed my hat and race belt and took off for the 3 mile out and back run. My legs felt ‘Ok’, and I thought I was having a decent run, but in the end I was slower this year. My total race time was over a minute slower, but with all things considered, I’m happy with the day. I did a 3 mile cool down run before awards, where I gladly accepted another paycheck. This time is was one of those monster size CHECKS.
The actual check might as well be signed over to Apple… I told KY that if I won, I’d be pre-ordering my new iPhone 4 on Tuesday!

Now it’s back to focused LEADVILLE/IRONMAN training mode, and we’ll hold true to that this weekend, when we travel to Flagstaff AZ to do the BARN BURNER 104 mile Mountain bike race. Apparently this is not a technical ride, but at 7500ft elevation, it should be a good reality check for us. Not sure I've ever been on a bike for 10+ hours....A new adventure and hopefully a new belt buckle to come!

Congrats to all the racers this weekend- My productively on Monday mornings as taken a serious dive while catching up with all the exciting news!

...more photos to come...