I was super excited to race again. I don't know what it is about racing, but I really thrive on it. But that doesn't mean that I don't get nervous about them. The day before the race Paulo and I spent accusing each other of being grumpy. We were probably both right...
Race morning I woke up at 4am, ate oatmeal, drank coffee and Misha picked us up at 5am to head to the Butte. It was a chilly morning, but beautiful as always. Gotta love the desert.
Arrived at the race site with plenty of time to spare and a bladder the size of Texas. We both sprinted to the porta potties only to find them locked. NOOOOOO!!!! Thankfully there were more on the other side of transition to save us from certain death by internal bladder explosion. After that disaster was averted we checked in and set up transition. They had these awesome transition racks that someone had hand made. They were made of plywood with a slot perfect for a tire. They should totally patent that- they could make some serious money. No more of those flimsy metal bike racks where only half of the people rack the right direction with the occasional bike rack collapse with the overzealous T2 racker.
Will and Mark showed up before the swim and we got some fun pics in:
The race started late, but I don't think that bothered anyone. The waves were nice and spread out (which made for an awesomely spaced out bike course). I was in the last wave and Paulo in the second to last so we stood up on the hill and watched the first waves go out. In the first wave there was a guy in the FOP who out of nowhere took a 90 degree turn and swam out into no man's land. I felt a little guilty for laughing at it, but it reminded us all of a pic from our friend Khai's race a few years ago. I will try to find it!
After Paulo's wave went off the girls poured into the water. Not quite sure what it is, but women are always the most aggressive group to start a tri. Everyone seemed to want the front row. I just took a spot in the back to the right and figured I could swim on the inside past the slower swimmers after the first couple hundred yards passed.
The swim was pretty uneventful. I felt really good and had a great line on the inside of the buoys. Sighting was very easy because they put up plentiful buoys and it the lake was like glass. Best conditions for a swim I've ever had. I kept wondering when the yellow cap that I passed was going to be Paulo. For awhile I would bob up my head to see if I could recognize the smartass, but alas I never did. Coming out of the water I felt good, but my time was a tad long. I think the swim was possibly closer to 1.1 miles than 1.0. Official time was 29:20 which included a run up the beach.
T1: Couldn't get the darn wetsuit off (story of my life) so it was slow. 1:23
Coming out of T1 I saw MarkyV and he cheered me on. Actually he said "funny, I haven't seen Paulo!". That made me laugh. Then in the first mile I ran into Will who was in the middle of his run. We cheered each other on- that made me laugh again. The bike course itself was fabulous in every way. The first 15 miles were very challenging with a ton if steep short hills and several longer climbs. I was thankful to have put on my 11/26 before the trip because the 11/23 would have made for a serious suffer fest out there. The locals were fantastic and out in force cheering us through town. Once we got out of town the course was stunning. Not a car in sight for miles and miles. Just the desert hills, the sun and the occasional racer. I passed quite a few women from the first wave and quite a few men (the hills are my friends, it seems) throughout the 26.5 miles. I think I was only passed once- the benefit of being in the last wave. No major issues on the bike. Took in 1 bottle of gatorade and 2 gus (1 probably would have been better). Kept the intensity in high zone 3/low zone 4. Came into transition feeling pretty decent. Still no Paulo sightings.
Me climbing out of T1
Smartass out of T1
Bike 1:21:45 (19.4 mph ave)
Not much to say about T2. Came in, took care of business, got out. 0:38
Looking at an elevation profile does this run no justice. The elevation profile fails to mention the 2 miles of soft sand. And for some reason, hills look so much SMALLER on paper! Needless to say, the run was challenging. Started and ended with 1 mile of sand running. The end of the first mile was a steep hill of quicksand leading up to the bridge. I was feeling like a bit of garbage and anyone within 50 feet of me could hear my stomach sloshing (did I mention that I should have only taken in 1 gel on the ride???). Nonetheless, I had a race to win. A race against one person, and I had no idea where he was. I just knew that he was faster on foot than me. By, like... a lot.
So I had to grin and bear it.
At the turnaround I grabbed some gatorade and looked down the hill. I saw a familiar sight. NOOOOO!!!! There he is! GOOOOOOOO!!!!!
What transpired looked much like this, circa Kona 2006
And I commenced running like I stole it.
I ran right by aid stations, turned down water, gatorade, sponges. Barely noticed the beauty of the Elephant Butte damn that we had the pleasure of running on. I wasn't going to go down without a fight. I started having visions of him stalking me, just to surge past me at the last minute to get photo evidence of him "beating" me. Since he started 5 minutes before me I knew that he couldn't make that up in 3 miles. But by god I was going to cross that line first.
I have to admit I did let the fourth place woman go screaming past me. Honestly I wonder if it had been Paulo if I would have given more chase. But the quicksand was pulling me under. I just couldn't get a good grip. Then I saw Misha. WHERE IS HE?????
"I don't know... behind you, I'm sure". Relieved that he wasn't breathing down my neck, I pushed on with slightly less fire to the finishline, not unhappy to be done with that killer course.
Run: 47:27 (7:55)
Me, running like I stole it:
Paulo, running like his pride is on the line:
Total time (1 mile/ 26.5 / 6) 2:40:31 5th OA, 1st AG (really 2nd AG but the 1st was in the top 3 so I was bumped up)
I went over to the table, grabbed a muffin and walked back to watch for Paulo. All of that effort and the negative split run of my life was totally worth seeing Paulo's finish-line spew. It was classic. CLASSIC!
In the end we both had a really great time and were glad we went. The organizers and volunteers at Elephant Man were amazing and put on a first class event. If I ever have the opportunity to get down here again I'll do it in a heartbeat.
I'm thinking of trying to get the smartass himself to put up a guest race report here. That would be fun
4 days 'till KONA!!!!!