last year and now the run legs are substantially longer and feature the series of switchbacks twice: once going down hill and again...going up hill.
The gun went off and I hauled ass, knowing that most of the first mile was flat or down hill and the big hill was going to kill my pace. I hit Mile 1 in 8:11! The course followed the Shoreline for about 1/10th of a mile before it began the wicked climb back up the bluff. I ran for as long as I could, before power walking the rest of it.
|As predicted...the hill killed my pace.|
Run 1: 20:21
I flew into T1, threw on my helmet and bike shoes, and jogged out to the mount line.
Once I was out on the bike course, I spun easy for a little bit as I pulled on my gloves, took a drink, and settled into my saddle. Last year, my legs felt like lead for the entire ride and I loathed every minute of the rolling hills. This year was a complete 180. It was possibly one of the most perfect rides I've ever had. I passed people, rarely got passed, and only really struggled on a couple of random miles (mostly because my booty was getting kind of sore). I was almost finished, when I took a turn at about Mile 20.5 a little too fast, hit some gravel, and lost control of my bike. The next thing I knew, I was laying on my right side in the gravel with my bike resting on my helmet. The good news is that I didn't break any bones, my bike (once I fixed the dropped chain) was rideable - although the left brake hood, brake lever, and shift lever were unusable since they were bent inward and I had to ride with my handle bars sideways since the stem got knocked 90 degrees in the crash, and I managed not to tear my new tri top!
Bike Time: 1 hour, 17 minutes
Avg. Speed: 17.1 mph
|Can you tell where the crash occurred?|
The second run course was identical to the first; only in reverse. The cross-country portion wasn't too bad and I did more running than walking and running the long hill down the bluff was my favorite part of the whole course - just like it was last year. The view of Lake Michigan was absolutely magnificent and I had one of those "This is why I do these things" moments. Of course, hitting the bottom of the hill meant having to go back up...via those miserable switchbacks. I won't lie. My arm was hurting pretty bad and my legs were absolutely toasted, so I walked most of them. I hit the top and dropped right back down to a respectable running pace, knowing it was almost over.
I took the final turn and broke into a sprint. I was almost to the finish line when I heard the announcer say, "And here comes #121 from Tri Wisconsin...and it looks like she's sporting a little road rash!". I felt a little rush of pride, to be recognized as a member of Tri Wisconsin, and it put a smile on my face as I crossed the finish line...less than 2 minutes behind Mr. R&R (the closest I've ever come to catching him in a race).
Run 2: 23:03
Official Finishing Time: 2:04:11
I made my way through the finishing chute, locating Mr. R&R and saying hello to Dr. Beast (who kicked some serious ass...as usual), before the vultures from medical insisted on looking at my arm. The hydrogen peroxide stung like hell and when the girl scrubbed out the gravel, I may have been biting on my knuckles. Before long, I was sporting a nifty little elbow wrap, collecting my stuff from transition (after hugging it out with my fellow crash victim) and was on my way to Emery's to drop my bike off to be fixed.
The owner, Brent, was outside when we walked up (still in race clothes) and he took the time to assess the damage himself instead of handing it off to one of his guys. We browsed the store as I steeled myself to hear a huge number and a long wait time to get my bike back in working order. It turns out that in addition to knocking my stem out of alignment and bending the brake hood/brakes/shifter, I also managed to screw up the rear derailleur, and knock both wheels out of true (which doesn't surprise me in the least) - and the grand total to fix my idiocy was a whopping $45...and he'd have it done later in the afternoon! Wow. I mean just....wow. I've always had a really high opinion of Emery's, but this just raised the bar another notch.
All in all, it was a great day...now I just have to hope my damned elbow heals fast!