Arriving at the race site Saturday morning, what weighed most on my mind was “what do I wear?” This sentiment was shared by most of the athletes in transition. I don’t think the temps had hit 40 yet, and with it being such a short race we would be finished before they climbed! I opted for shorts, my race top, and arm warmers, but stayed in my additional layers for as long as I possibly could! At least the sun was shining – it was really perfect weather if we didn’t have to hop on the bike.
At this race, all females started together, which gave me a better opportunity to not go out too hard, worrying about who was ahead of me. When the race official started us, the pace started out a little slower than I had expected based on the women who were toeing the line. Soon enough, one female took off, and after holding back briefly to see what the others would do, I made the decision to chase! I soon realized that I made the right decision – I caught her around the 1 mile mark and felt totally comfortable and relaxed. She jumped on when I passed her, and the 2 of us went back and forth for the remainder of the first run. When we came into T1, I looked at my split (remembering to wear a watch this time), and was a little disappointed in my time. But I convinced myself that this would only help me on the 2nd run!
Caitlin and I left transition at the same time, and I took the lead on the bike coming out of the park. There was more wind than I was expecting on the bike, and at times I was afraid of losing my lead. There were 2 turn-around points on the bike, to give me an idea of where the other females were. At the first turnaround, Caitlin was not far behind me at all, and Suzanne Huelster was closing in on her. I just tucked into the tightest position I could and kept pushing. At the second turn-around, I found that Suzanne had passed Caitlin and was closing in on me! Nothing else to do but keep my head down and power back to the transition. I started to worry a little bit about my legs for the second run. Although my clothing choice felt perfect for the run, my legs were feeling the chill on the bike, and were feeling a little tight. But overall I was feeling great so I just hoped for the best.
When I arrived at T2 Suzanne was right there with me. Having raced with Suzanne since I first started in the sport, I knew what an exceptional athlete she is, and that I would have to work extra hard on the 2nd run! Unlike my Powerman race, I was back to my old self – feeling very strong off the bike heading into my 2nd run. I went out ahead of Suzanne, but could hear her on my tail the whole time. At about the halfway point she passed me, and the two of us spent the rest of that run pushing each other to the end. Coming into the last turn before the finish line, Suzanne surged up the small hill and I didn’t answer. She took the win by 2 seconds, and it was well-deserved!
As I had convinced myself after the 1st run, the slower time paid off as my 2nd run was :30 faster. I ended up with the 2nd fastest Run #1 (by 1 second), the 2nd fastest Run #2 (by 4 seconds), and the 4th fastest bike. So yes, I still need to work on my bike strength. Perhaps some race wheels will help me there 😉 Now I’m excited for my trip to Tucson – this race has left me feeling prepared!