Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bike shops

If you know me at all, you know that I am fiercely loyal. I’m loyal to friends, family and good service.  In this relatively new triathlon life that is mine, I have had experience with a few bike and running shops, some good and some not so good.
I started out racing triathlons on the mountain bike I had that had never been ridden much. It was a good option since I did not have a clue what I was doing and did not know if it would last. It did last so after my first season, I ventured out for an entry level bike. The guys at Bikers Edge in Kaysville were extremely helpful with the purchase of my Cannondale (above). If you are in the Kaysville area, I recommend them.

When this season rolled around, I decided it was time for an upgrade and was excited when Will from High Knees Cycling in St. George made a bike selection for me. Will and his team was our bike support crew during the March GPP Triathlon Camp in St. George. It was fun to get to know them and be assured we were being taken care of by people who had triathlon experience. I was apprehensive at first about buying a bike long distance but Will delivered a Ridley Liz to me and has been available many times for questions and to help when I’ve been in St. George.  If you are in the St. George area, please check out the best bike shop in Southern Utah!

There were times this summer that I could not get south for various bike needs, so I turned to Top Gear Bicycle Shop in Bountiful. I needed to get a quick fit on my Ridley to tide me over until I could make it down south to get a proper fitting. Brett at Top Gear took care of me at that time and several times since when something needed tweaking. When my bike was stolen and my friend let me use my old bike, Brett and Josh fitted it to me again and even changing out my cleats. During one visit, they showed me a more tri specific bike (Trek Speed Concept) that was going to work for me even better than the one that was stolen. They had it ready for me the day I was leaving for my last race of the year.
I won’t bore you with all the details of everything these guys have done for me but know that if you are in need of help with anything bike related, they have the state of Utah covered. If you are in Southern Utah, stop by and say hi to Will and crew at High Knees or Northern Utah, see Brett and Josh at Top Gear.  Love you guys!



Monday, December 9, 2013

HITS Palm Springs Triathlon recap

Considering it was December 8th, it really was a beautiful morning for a triathlon. Normally December in Palm Springs shows temperatures around 70-80 degrees but with the cold snap we’ve had around the country, temps had dropped to the 60 degree range.  This event was a relatively recent addition to my calendar thanks to a fellow triathlete who “talked me into it.” I’ve been told that I need to quit caving to peer pressure! The others who were to compete this weekend ended up not coming down. This should have been a clue to me to not go but I am all about wanting to do that one last race of the year. My friend and surrogate daughter, Ashlan, planned on making the trip with me. The odds were stacked against us from the beginning.
My week began on Monday with my bike being stolen off of my car in my work parking lot. It was a “thing” but it dealt me a devastating blow to lose it. I have never been accused of sitting back and waiting for results so in a fast 72 hours I selected and was fitted for a new bike. I still feel violated that this person decided it was ok to take something that wasn’t his but there is always a silver lining and I believe I have gotten a better bike that will carry me through to my Ironman race next year. The second setback was when we were leaving Ashlan’s house Thursday night. She has a steep driveway and when backing out I slid into a fire hydrant. Small amount of damage but off we went anyway.  The temps were so cold on the way to St. George. At one point even hitting 23 below.

We were able to stay in St. George that night to break up the long drive and Friday morning we were off to sunny California. We made it to Palm Springs in time to check in for the race and check out the expo. The HITS series triathlons have a distance for everyone. Saturday was the half and full-ironman distance and Sunday was the open, sprint and Olympic distance races. The weather was a little crappy on Saturday and the competitors had to deal with some wind and rain. We were scheduled to volunteer on the bike course for Saturday and while we were not really needed we did find a purpose. A half distance cyclist crashed and needed stitches and transported back to the start since his bike wasn’t functioning. This is the first year he started triathlon and this was his first long distance race. It was fun to talk with him and help him out and I think we talked him into competing in St. George in May.

I was scheduled for both a 20 minute bike and run so headed back to hotel. First time on the new bike and it rode great. We called it a day after that and found a place to eat lunch/dinner.
Babe’s. Great place and I think we sampled everything on the menu. By then we headed back to hotel and vegged out the rest of the day. 4:30 am came really early.

It was about 45 degrees when we headed to lake at 5:30. The care and detail that HITS puts into their races is amazing. Transition area is nothing like I’ve ever seen.
The water temperature was supposed to be 60-63 but it was more like 55. I’ve raced where the water temp was warmer than the air but have never felt this cold. We had an in water start and when the horn blew and I started swimming I could not catch my breath. After about 100 yards I had to stop for a minute. I actually could not get into a rhythm of breathing and started heading to the shore thinking that this was going to be the first time ever of quitting a race. After a minute of contemplation, I started swimming again and somehow made it to T1. Slowest transition ever – 7 minutes. I know some people had hypothermia on Saturday after the longer swims and I could see why. I put a long sleeve top and a windbreaker on and headed out on the bike. I should have had shoe covers and gloves on. My feet did not thaw out until mile 2 on the run and my hands were cold the entire race. It was a flat course and after my slow swim I was happy to pass several dozen bikes. Everyone was having issues. T2 was quite a bit faster and the run was really nice. The weather had warmed up and I could shed my long sleeves and was happy I could finally feel my feet.
This was by far the most difficult triathlon of my life but am happy to say that my mental toughness training paid off. One last test of that was that after a quick shower and loading of car, we drove the entire way back home, making it in about ten hours.  This was a great venue and with a few changes in my preparation, I will definitely do it again.