Weekend in the Mountains Report, Part 1

So I did a triathlon this last weekend, but the race wasn’t necessarily the starring act of the weekend.  I’m not entirely sure what part could take top bill, so I’m going to talk about the whole thing.  Yes, I know this is 6 days post event.  Oh well.

It was a busy week, but we left on time.  Up, up we went to Asheville with the great fortune to stay at a friend’s place on the tippy top of Town Mountain.  Tippy top.  Around the corner from the governor’s western residence.  A distinctively arty gate in the front, lots of flat screen TV’s, beautiful appliances and one of those smart houses.  There were intimidating touchscreens on the walls next to the light switches that I was afraid to mess with, so I didn’t.  Remy enjoyed the large bath tub and I tried to get in with him because there was plenty of room, but I was instructed otherwise.  “Mommy be out!”  Yes SIR.  Geez.

The house was super nice, but not so nice was the stream of transmission fluid streaming out of the bottom of our car at 5pm Friday with a race early, early the next morning.  Not so nice at all, but a flurry of calls to the local dealership and AAA got the car off the mountain and into Asheville Ford before they closed for the evening.  Oh, and a rental vehicle so I could go race.

A little extra stress and unplanned outlay of $$’s.  Yikes.  Even so, I was up at 4am and we rolled off to Lake Logan by 5am.  We made it without getting lost, which is harder than it sounds in the foggy, pre-dawn conditions.

This course is awesomely gorgeous.  Even better, it’s in the mountains and a good 10 degrees cooler than the scorching temps we’ve been getting down in the piedmont.  

I went into this knowing I had a really long shot at winning, but that wasn’t of most importance to me.  I dug deep last month at Triangle Tri and know that I’ll need to do it again in my two A races later this season, so this particular race wasn’t a “go for it at all costs” kind of event for me.   It was an opportunity to remember what an Olympic distance tri feels like, to try and pace smartly, and to see where I am with my fitness.  I think I achieved these things and also highlighted where I need more work.

The womens’ field was split into two groups– the under 35’s went off 8 minutes before the 35+’s.  It’s generally a fast swim with flat lake water and wetsuit legal.  However, I’m notoriously lazy in the water if there’s no one there to push me or draft off of.  I guess drafting could be seen as lazy too, but there you go.  Case in point.  Anyway, I swam alone and could have gone faster but oh well.  I was out of the water first in my wave so it looked impressive.  Lesson here for the A races?  Alicia, you lazy butt, work harder in the water even if I have to do it off the front of the group.  I don’t want to see another 31 minute swim split (for an Oly) even if they do open the dam lochs again.

I then proceeded to rock out T1.  I swear that this is reliably my best leg of any triathlon.  I didn’t even have a very good rack spot for getting in and out quickly.  Too bad my skills in this arena don’t totally transfer to T2, but I’m a stickler for wearing socks for anything over sprint distance.

On to the bike.  Although in the mountains, the bike course stays in the river valley so it’s not too awful hilly.  There’s one hill of note that we traverse at the beginning and end of the course, but otherwise we have rolling terrain a gradual net loss in elevation for the first half then the reverse of the way home.  Everything felt fine on the bike and I worked at an intensity that felt wise.  Only problem was related to starting in the very last wave.  I got stuck behind a couple cars that were stuck behind some cyclists.  These cyclists were travelling at a speed that was substantially slower than I wanted to go, so it wasn’t ideal.  After about a half mile of this, I managed to squeeze by.  I surely lost time here, but I’m not sure it was enough to have made an apppreciable difference in my overall placement.  For that matter, it’s too bad I didn’t lose more time (more on that later).  I’m not sure of the precise distance of the bike course, but I rode a 1:01-something and that’s solid and minutes faster than last time I did this race.

I already mentioned T2, so on to the run.  My plan was to pace myself conservatively on the first half that is all uphill.  The first mile most so.  Then I was going to turn around and bullet downhill to finish strong.  I’d say that I did that well enough for this practice event, although I probably had it in me to go a bit faster on the first half.  That run split of mine isn’t something to be exceptionally proud of, but, again, there were reasons to have gone slower.

Go slower?  Why?  Well.  (pause)  This race is really cool in that it has $100 prem’s for each of the following:  1st MOA, 1st FOA, 1st Masters M, 1st Masters F, and 1st for fastest split for each of S / B / R for each gender.  I knew from the start roster that I was an incredible long shot or any of the SBR split prem’s and that 1st FOA was an even longer shot.  However, I thought I had 1st Masters F all wrapped up and for all appearances, I did. 

Except for the tiny problem of me placing 3rd FOA just 3 measley seconds ahead of Bri Gaal, who rocked it out big time wtih a 2:07:03.  Bri, being a youngster, was in a separate wave, so even though we were so close in time, we didn’t get to give the crowd the excitement of us chasing each other down the finish chute.  Surely she could outsprint me because who frigging can’t outsprint me?  A turtle?  So my relative speediness placed me 3rd FOA and out of contention for the $100 prem for 1st Masters Female.  The girl that got the check went 2:21.  Not her fault AT ALL, but ummmm…. remember that car with the transmission problems?  Just sayin I really, really could have used that bit o cash, but like they said, “third is third.”  (Mild expletive deleted).

Overall, I’m happy with my performance.  A 2:07:00 is a solid result for a 40 year old woman in an Oly distance tri.  First female was Missy Kuck from Ohio who wasn’t terribly social with the Carolina gals.  She did have that self-confident strut going on though, so that’s cool.  Whatever.  Gail Kattouf finished second in 2:05 high after some low key down time in her training schedule lately, so that’s super impressive.  Including Bri Gaal’s 2:07:03, the top 4 women broke the previous course record held by Gail, so there was some fast racing going on.  Other out of towner ringers on the men’s side include Starkowicz and Kenny, who cleaned up on the mens’ overall and all of the S / B / R prem’s.  

OK.  That’s all for now.  This will never get posted if I don’t break it up into two parts.

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