Rev 3 Williamsburg, race number two for the season was a victory. With a pretty fabulous medal, if I do say so myself.
So this race was sort of new and sort of a repeat for me. Last year, the race was taken over by Challenge, but this year, it was “back in blue” as they like to say, and the course was altered this year, so while the area was familiar, the course was different.
Physically, I was definitely prepared for this race, but mentally, not so much. It had been a long two weeks of work travel and lots of extra hours in the office, so my head wasn’t quite in the game as I would have liked. I just felt sort of mentally unprepared.
And then the week before the race, I noticed the beginnings of a gash in my tire. Not cut all the way through, but not good. So I needed a new tire. You know what’s impossible to find? 650cc tires. My local shop didn’t have them, so rather than hunt around to other local shops, I found a shop online in Michigan that could expedite some new tires to me. I bought two, of course, because why not be prepared.
You know what sucks? Putting on a brand new tire. Those suckers are tight.
Thankfully, I took Friday off (and still managed to get in 95 hours for the pay period), so I drove down early and started to really think about the race. My ultimate goal was to have fun. The weather was going to be hot, but not as hot as last year. So that was a plus. Kristin had ridden the bike course and said it was flat and fast. Thankfully, it wasn’t completely flat – I like soft rollers, so that was good. Everything seemed to be leading up to a good race.
Last year, I did the race in just over 4 hours. This was a new course, and I figured it would be faster. My C goal was to be under 4 hours. My B goal was to be around 3:50. My A goal was anything faster than that.
Race morning was a lot of fun. Ran into some Coeur teammates, which is always awesome. Those ladies are fast! Definitely motivation to keep moving.
We watched the half racers go off and realized just how fast the current was in the water. They were struggling to stay behind the start “line” while treading water. So that was a good sign. Once we got in, I realized just how crazy the current was. Definitely impressive, but since there was a turn, that also meant a bit of cross current.
The swim felt a little off because the buoys were also struggling in the current, so things weren’t exactly where they were supposed to be. The first turn buoy broke off, so we turned near it, but not at it (thanks to the awesome volunteers). I think the turn was still wide, because we were very far away from the line of yellow buoys that were supposed to be a straight line. I had to pop up and figure out where I was more than once.
But it certainly was a fast swim! I hope this is an indication of how Augusta will go.
Swim: 25:47. Yes. Insane. And that includes the long “run” to the transition mat.
Transition was fine. Felt slow, but not a big deal. Kristin was there when I got there, so that was a nice feeling. Always fun to see friends.
On the bike, my lack of preparation showed right when I went to mount. Why? Because my cleat covers were still on my shoes. Rookie mistake. Problem easily solved, I was off. My goal was to hold at least a 15mph pace. I don’t pay attention to instant pace, just “lap” pace, which is every 5 miles on my watch settings. I was easily holding over 16 for most of the race. The course was lovely, lots of shade, and very well marked.
One very scary moment was when we were coming up towards transition and there was a huge line of cars. The cops were directing bikers to come around to the left side of the cars, so I did that, and as I reached the first car, I noticed two cyclists on the ground, one face down, and a pile of bikes next to them. Nothing I could do but send good thoughts their way, and I continued on.
I learned later thanks to Facebook that one cyclist had hit a really bad patch of road, blew both tires, and lost control, and the cyclist behind him was going about 21mph and couldn’t stop in time. Both crashed terribly and cracked helmets. And both will be absolutely fine. No major damage, no hospitalization. Thank goodness for helmets. And thank goodness for the other cyclists who stopped after seeing it happen, including some who probably gave up podium spots to help someone else. That’s what this sport is all about.
Had a Coeur teammate come up behind me while we were riding and introduce herself. What a fun way to meet someone in person! Super fun.
Bike: 1:37:59 (16.65 mph, 27.2 miles – which, since I was unprepared, I didn’t realize)
T2: 3:41. Where I neglected to take my cleat covers out of my pockets. Genius.
On to the run. This is always a mental game because I am a slow runner and run/walk. So I feel like I’m getting passed CONSTANTLY. That’s okay though, I still get to do it.
It was hot. There were parts of the run in the shade and part in full sun. I commented that that’s what a pizza oven must feel like. Blech. My first few miles were definitely faster, thanks to the shade. The volunteers had plentiful ice, and that was a huge help. So much ice shoved into my kit.
I couldn’t keep my cooling wings wet enough to stay cool, so I stripped them off partway through. I hoped my Zealios sunscreen would hold out, and I didn’t burn terribly (just a little bit of color) so I consider it a win.
This was an out and back, doubled for the half athletes, so there was a lot of opportunity to see other people. So much fun to cheer on other racers.
Finally, finally, there was the finish line. And in a moment of pure grace, I tripped over a bump in the timing mat (I saw it and hit it anyway) and went rolling into the grass. I stood up and took a bow, because what else do you do? I can’t wait to see the finish line photos. A volunteer scolded me because apparently it looked intentional. I scolded her back and told her to fix the timing mat, and we laughed. Nothing hurt but my pride.
Run: 1:23:02 for a 13:24 pace. I’d like faster, but I’ll take it.
And I ended up with the best finish time ever. 3:33:33. Not only is it an awesome number, it’s also SUPER FAST for me. Definitely doing this race next year to see if I can drop under 3:30!
A huge thanks to all the staff and volunteers. They really made this race incredible.