MAUI, HAWAII --
Well, like I said, this race was somewhat of a fluke for me. This year, I hadn't seriously trained, had been traveling A LOT for work, it was two weeks after a 4-day MTB self-supported race/ride (which was merely aerobic), and with a lot of other big life changes going on, I had somehow qualified, made it there (on time)...and had an incredible time. And survived it fine. I mean, hey, if I'm gonna be "middle-of-the-pack", WORLDS is where to do it!
THE RACE --
The race was fantastic.
Hard as heck.
An "athlete's" course.
There was no real "fun" factor to it nor any sections where luck would give anyone any advantage -- was solidly brutal from start to finish. Lots of heat, aggressive riders (mainly from the slower swimmers battling it out for the front positions once on the singletrack), steep hills, heat, humidity, congestion on the trails (bottlenecking - susan, i'll explain later, but it's not fun when walkers are holding up your line :-).
There was a lot of hype and press. Mr Lance Armstrong, several Olympians (yo Frodeno!!) and other athletic gods were there to try out xterra, which is great for our sport. (Lance was really solid, but had a pretty big spill on the bike...which you can see videos on the internet...not gonna post em here.)
Since I'd swum (swam?) 1500m straight maybe a mere two times all year -- Worlds and at Santa Cruz (which was so cold and traumatizing that I wasn't very motivated to swim much more since) -- I wasn't expecting too much on the swim. And I was right....my time totally sucked. But I saw a gorgeous turtle (Hanu) swimming under us, simply looking up at us, checking us out. It turned out to be my favorite moment of the race! Spectacular!
The bike and run portions included a lot of serious climbing, which normally I love, in a sick sorta way. The descents were so fast/short that there wasn't a lot of time for recovery. Of course, descending remains my weakest link when it comes to the bike. I can pedal in the biggest ring, but somehow people (usually bigger than me) go zipping by, not even pedaling. However, Lesley Paterson and Renata Bucher blow my whole theory about little people losing time due to gravitational disadvantages. So, that, and I guess I still rank self-preservation pretty high :-)
Overall, it was a fun course, in a smashfest sort of way. During the bike/run, I tried to remember to glance at the ocean, at the distant islands, every so often. What a great way to spend the day...absolute smashfest w/700 other insane athletes...to include all the big boys and girls! :-)
EVERYTHING ELSE -
Good good times. I think I ate more, socialized more, played more, etc....than any coach/mother ever would've recommended. There was no propping-up-of-the-feet, no real resting, etc.. Somehow, I managed to swim, bike, run almost every day before the race...not necessarily hard efforts, rather for fun, pre-riding the course, commuting, etc..
And after the race, well, after the big championship dinner (where I promptly downed some red meat and at least two coffees), we all got a second wind and somehow ended up in Halloween costumes and shutting down the dancefloor. (Note, as hot as tri/mtb guys are, many of them seem to have some bizarre interest in dressing up as hot women, which in itself is fine, but sorta throws off normal chicks' equilibriums.)
Then, somehow, still managed to get up the next morning at sunrise...still running off all the previous day's adrenaline I suppose. Felt great til about 24 hrs exactly after the race....when I hit the wall pretty hard. Somehow, laying on a Hawaiian beach w/friends experiencing the same 'crash' isn't too bad.
So, that's it in a nutshell. Now, I think I should actually train next year: (a) to qualify (can't miss out on Maui!), and (b) to do better than middle-of-the-pack. Just think...
|Biking thru Pineapple groves...|
|Trying to relax -- great view upward!|
|Pre-ridingw/the girls...all fun, games and grins.|
|Real riding during the race...climbing...not so much outward grinning. |
|Almost over...really? Maybe I shoulda pushed a bit harder. Where's that turtle?|