Sunday, July 22, 2012

Racing for a Geode

Last weekend was my second of four Olympic distance races this year, Lake Geode Challenge Triathlon.  Again, we camped for the weekend.

This was the first year Wes and I have done the race.  I’ve heard great things about it, and had signed up for it a few years ago but had to sell my entry (I love races that allow you to do that).  It’s mid-July in Iowa, so the race is known for being HOT!  It’s been warmer in years past, but it was still steamy for us.

Friday night we pulled in to the park, found some water to fill up our tank (didn’t think to fill it up prior to leaving the house since we didn’t have on-site water), parked the camper, and then headed to Burlington for packet pickup with Ebe.  Getting our info was quick and easy.  I found out there were three waves, and the women would be all together.  There’s money for the top finishers, so having all the women together makes it much easier to see where I’m at throughout the race.

Back at camp we grilled up some dinner with the Meaney’s who were camping near us.  It was pretty late by the time we got to bed, but that’s usually how it goes. 

Race day brought our standard breakfast with coffee.  As we were packing up the truck to head over to the race start, Shawn stopped by to let us know he wouldn’t be racing due to a flat tire and loss of ambition, but he’d still cheer us on.

We arrived just as transition was opening.  The body marking area was a bit slow going, but we had plenty of time before the race start.  The start to both the bike and run were uphill, so I took my bike out for a quick ride to make sure it was geared correctly.  With a few minutes left before the pre-race meeting, I put on my Xterra Speedsuit (first time wearing it this year) and did a quick warmup.  I had heard the water can be pretty nasty, but they have been working on it the past few years.  It didn’t bother me besides that it felt like bath water.  The official water temp was 83.

The waves were 3 minutes apart.  The start was an in-water start, and most people could touch the bottom so you didn’t have to tread water.  One of my current teammates (Stacey Jackson) and one former teammates (Jen Parker) were also racing.  There were both to the right of me, and all the other women to the left.  As soon as we started, the three of us were quickly ahead of the others.  By the turn buoy I could tell that I had a bit of a lead on them.  The race was paying $25 for the fastest swim, bike, and run times, so I was trying for those in addition to the overall cash (and really cool plaque).  

Swim exit

T1 could have been a bit smoother.  I really should work on getting out of the speedsuit before I have to use it again.

The bike was somewhat hilly, similar to the big pig and Kansas 70.3.  A few flat areas, but more hill than flat.  I took the bike out too hard to begin with.  When I looked at my powermeter, my watts were where I should be for a sprint, not an Oly, so pulled back a little. 

There is a little out and back section a few miles from the end that is all hill and curve.  Thankfully you didn’t turn around at the bottom of the hill, but instead partway up the next hill.  This was the first time I could see where I stood against the other women.  A bit after the turnaround I saw Stacey and that was it for the women.  I’m not a great runner, but I was pretty sure I had enough room between us that she wouldn’t catch me.

Getting ready for T2

The run was hilly with a few flat areas.  A few of the hills were steep, but the rest were gentle enough that when you ran down them you could actually run and not spend the energy trying to stop yourself from running too fast.  The hill just out of transition is one of the longest on the course.  Great way to start the run :(  Being that it’s usually a very warm race, the aid stations were every 3/4 of a mile instead of every mile.  They were well stocked with Gatorade, cold water, sponges, ice in little baggies, and several volunteers.  At the first one I grabbed two sponges and put them on my shoulders, and picked up a baggie of ice.  My only complaint of the race was not having the option of a cup of ice so I could just toss it in my bra and grab out a piece as needed.  It was kind of a pain to the get Ziploc open while moving forward.  Other than that, the race was VERY well run. 

Loving the sponges!

The run was an out and back.  At the turnaround I found out that I had over a half-mile lead.  With about 3 miles left, it was really unlikely that I would be caught, so just ran it in.  The guy’s race on the other hand was a mad dash to the finish.  I was grateful to not have to push myself on those hills in the heat!

Almost done
The finish line consisted of getting my chip off, having a volunteer had me a cold water, another volunteer wrapping a cold towel around my neck, the option of getting into one of two kiddie pools with ice water, or grabbing an ice cream cone.  Nice!  Before hoping in the cold water, I did a couple quick interviews (this has been a new experience for me this year).


I still wasn’t ready for the ice cream, but loved that it was at the finish line! 

After Wes finished up, I showered and changed clothes, had some of the post-race food including an ice cream cone and LOTS of watermelon, and hung out with friends until the awards ceremony. 

I ended up winning the fastest swim and bike, and the fastest overall woman awards.  I finally got a geode to take home with me.  A great way to start my birthday.

Awesome award!

In all, the race was extremely well run.  The amount and helpfulness of the volunteers was amazing.  I would definitely like to do this race again.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading your post and Congrats !!