After a spring of bike races with the Folsom Bike ladies, I shifted my race focus to a few triathlons this summer. My final race of this season, being IM Lake Tahoe 70.3, provided a spectacular opportunity to train and race in one of the most beautiful areas in NorCal. While the ladies continued to podium at some of my favorite Summer road races, I was swimming, cycling, running, and swimming again in and around Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is a spectacular place to swim. Clear and clean, the race started at Kings Beach with perfect conditions. This was also a “rolling” start…basically everyone starting together….and I wasn’t sure if this would help my swim or not. Somewhere along the way, I ended up next to a gentlemen in a yellow wetsuit, which was amazingly easy to keep track of under water. I kept as close to him as possible, and soon enough was out of the water. OMG, and they had people to take off your wetsuit?!?!? Yes, please.
Out onto the bike, I was so ready for this course. From Kings Beach to Tahoe City, through Truckee and up Brockway Summit, I had spent many weekends riding this loop of roads. I felt fantastic and enjoyed all the spectators cheering along the course. More cowbell, please!
The bike finished in Squaw Valley and the run course was 2 laps on the bike path from the Village and out to HWY 89. I exited T2 soon after another woman and I figured I would try to keep her within my sights. This kept me pretty focused while the miles ticked away. I never did catch her, but as I closed in on the last few miles I could still see her and knew there was always a chance that my overall time would be faster given the rolling swim start. The last mile and especially the finish are a total blur. Oh hey, volunteer “catchers”….why yes….I will take your assistance this time around! Does anyone have a salt lick, please?!?!?
What a day. First in my age group and third overall female. As always, it’s an army of people that contribute to days like this. Coach Jesse Moore, Erin Gorrell of Folsom Bike, and Judd Van Sickle at UC Davis Sports Medicine have kept me healthy and on point with my training. My cycling teammates and swim buddies have pushed me to be a better athlete on numerous levels. My family is the ultimate support crew in training and the key to any successful race day. And my friends and co-workers…they put up with the crazy training and are the most positive influence in keeping things balanced and in perspective. 2015 is a wrap!
It was a beautiful morning with an ocean temp of 62 and a moderate chop. I started in the ninth wave with a two-minute stagger between waves. Got out fast for the first 600 but then started catching lots of slower swimmers. Things only got more congested as the swim progressed and I spent a lot of time going around or over clusters of bodies. Eventually, I decided to go outside, swimming the long way round but in open water. Swim was slower than planned but good enough under the circumstances.
T1: Easily the longest transition I’ve ever done, including some of those crazy TBF races. We first ran through deep sand, across the beach up to the boardwalk, then nearly four city blocks to a separate park where the bikes were racked. Total distance, half a mile. When I finally did get to my bike, I got in and out moving as efficiently as possible. Took a little extra time to put on socks, well worth it since it was cold and my toes were numb.
Spent 20 min getting HR down, settling in and starting to drink/eat. Then it was time to crank up the power and go. The first 16 miles were all steady long rollers, like climbing up and down Folsom Lake Crossing over and over. Miles 17-21 featured a cat 4 climb that pitched up to 8%, then a short crazy descent with about 12 switchbacks, kind of fun actually. After that is was more coastal rollers all the way home. I focused on keeping my power at the very top end of what I knew I could do, climbing steady, then grabbing my biggest gear and staying on the gas and in the aero bars on every downhill. Staying aggressive and pushing all the way was a big test of will for sure but I felt I’d been holding back too much in Olympic distance races earlier in the year and I was determined to sustain the same power as I had in those much shorter rides and also hoping that I wouldn’t pay for it on the run!
Bike: 2:47:11 / 3000ft / 20.2mph
192w NP / .81 IF – right on plan
T2: In the Saturday pre-race brief they announced there would be volunteers catching the bikes, so it was a surprise to realize that was not the case as I nearly dropped my bike trying to pass it to a very confused volunteer. I had to quickly orient myself to find my rack space. Otherwise, it was business as usual.
Run – Temp was around 70 and cloudy, perfect race conditions. My plan called for going out in z1 plus walking 20 sec at each 1 mile aid station for the first 3 miles, but I felt good so I went out strong and tried to stay steady early without pushing too much, but no walking either.
Miles 4-10 I settled into a good rhythm of pushing right to the edge without going over, making sure to hydrate at every aid station and telling myself over and over “you can do this”.
Miles 10 -13 I really started to hurt and it became even more of a mental game. The focus shifted to making up the next rise or to the next corner without slowing down or going negative in my head.
By the start of mile 13 it was simple, I just needed to finish strong. There were tons of spectators encouraging us now and I could feel the pull of that finish line.
The last ¼ mile was a beach run in deep sand, just brutal, but oddly fun too. When I crossed the line in the sand, I knew I had dug deep all day and honestly left everything out on the course.
Run 1:44:33 / 7:59 average pace
Total 5:14:14 – 30 min PR
For my second HIM, I couldn’t have hoped for a better result. I learned that pain is a relative term and I can go much deeper for longer than I ever thought. I just have to be willing to suffer during the race and continue to train hard. It was just one of those great days where for once, everything does come together and I’m so grateful for that. Thanks for reading!
Exorcise with exercise.