Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Desert Triathlon

When you go to the desert on an adventure, you're bound to run into dinosaurs. We found this guy somewhere north of Palm Springs! And an adventure it was. Taking off from SLC late Thursday evening put us into St. George after midnight. In December I decided it would be a great idea to do a sprint triathlon a couple of weeks before the half ironman. The venue was the same as the HITS tri I did in early December. I was fortunate enough to have talked a couple of fellow tri club members into competing as well so we decided to make it a weekend trip with lots of driving.

The plan was to get to Palm Springs in time to pick up packets, do the group swim, and get a quick bike and run done. You know what they say about making plans? Ha! The day started out just fine but then the rain started coming and didn't stop for most of the way.

At one point, an hour or so before our destination, a BMW decided to make a U-turn in front of me on the freeway going 65 mph. He must have hydroplaned and his life may have flashed before him as he looked up at my truck just inches from the driver's door as he passed in front of me heading towards the center barrier. Nerve wracking to say the least. We made it in time to pick up packets but missed the swim and the weather was not conducive to running or biking. After checking into the hotel and getting settled, dinner was at my favorite place, Babe's. It has the best barbeque!
The alarm was going off early so we headed back to get our gear ready for the race in the morning.
It was wonderful to wake up to clear skies and mid-fifty degrees. The sun rising over the lake was a welcome site!

Race morning is always exciting with anticipation of what's to come. We set up our transition areas with lots of time to spare and met a few of the people racked around us. This was going to be a very competitive race, one woman next to me had done Kona four times! Oh well, I wasn't in it to win it; just to get wet in preparation for Mexico. The water was about 65 degrees. It felt so pleasant compared to the fifty degrees it was in December. Carmen and I were in the last wave and Melinda was about 20 minutes before us.
The whistle blew and we were off! I started way too fast and was barely around the first buoy when my brain started asking me how the hell I was going to swim a full ironman. I pushed the thoughts away and focused on the moment and came out of the water four minutes faster than my last tri. It was a little chilly so I decided to wear a wind breaker on the bike and it was a good thing for me to do. The bike course is relatively flat and even though I was in the last group getting out of the water, I was able to pass several dozen on the bike, averaging just under 18 mph. The best part for me though was starting the run and having strong legs. I didn't feel noodle legs that often happen and was able to run strong. The run was around the lake mostly on trails. It was a little shy of a 5k but I was able to manage about a 10 min pace which always makes me happy in a tri. I was even able to pass someone in my age group in the last quarter mile! Overall it was a good race, taking quite a bit of time off my last one. I finished 7 out 12 though because there were some screaming fast old ladies in this age bracket! The winner-Kona lady-was 28 minutes faster! I'm not sure that is even an attainable goal for me!
We all did great and were glad to get that first one out of the way for the year.
Amazingly enough, the weather did not hold, so after getting cleaned up and heading back to Utah, we dealt with pouring down rain most of the way!
I am proud to have worn the kit for my race team - - and look forward to a good year of representing them!
Let the tapering begin - nine days until departing for Mexico!