Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tri at the Grove

Last weekend I had the opportunity to head up to Eugene, OR for a race put on by Rolf Prima Wheels.  I was excited to head up and check out where my wheels are built, hang out with everyone who works there and meet a few other athletes that ride Rolf Prima as well.    

I made it there by noon on Friday after my flight got delayed by 3 hours out of SFO. I made the best of this delay and instead of sitting around in the airport doing nothing I ventured back to my parked car, changed my clothes (in the car) and went for run. I stumbled upon a path that heads north from the airport along the bay so it was actually pretty enjoyable since I was expecting to be running by big warehouses and airplane hangars vs. the ocean. I arrived, ate and put my bike together and then got to do a swim in a beautiful outdoor pool close to the office. 
This is where the wheels are built! RP has 10 employees and hand makes every set that goes out the door.
My first pro panel. We got some good questions about nutrition, pacing, goggles and more.
My first time riding a disc. I like!
Race morning came quickly after the pro panel, dinner and gathering all my stuff together for the morning.  Luckily, the race started at 8:30 (such a civilized hour) so the morning was not quite as early and I was able to get a good nights sleep. The race was held in Cottage Grove which was about a 30 minute drive from Eugene. The swim course was in calm lake surrounded by evergreens and the bike course was on the roads surrounding the lake. I loved riding through the evergreens. The run was an out and back along the lake and was fairly shaded, although it did not matter since the clouds hung around in the morning keeping everything cool.

I got in for a longer warm up since I went into the race without really resting for it. Tired arms for me means I need to make them "numb" before trying to go fast.  This is a trick from my swimming days---I just beat them into submission and then they don't hurt as much.  Anyway, the water was fairly comfortable (ie, not freezing) and I felt pretty good before the start.  I put in a hard effort on the swim and Kate hopped on my feet for a ride.  I actually did not notice her until she accidentally hit my toes and I will admit, after I knew she was there I upped the pace, or at least tried to up it, so as to have a gap into T1 since I know she is a strong biker.

I made my way out onto the bike about :10 ahead of her with a fast transition and then I had a better mount than the disaster at Rev3 Portland although I still want to improve. I feel like I have lost my flying mount mojo so I think I need to do about 5-10 flying mounts per week to improve and make it more fluid.
The swim.
I put in a solid effort on the bike but did not totally kill myself so I would recover quickly from the race and get right back to training.  Kate came around me a couple miles into the bike and I thought it would be good practice for me to ride 10 meters behind her for the race.  I have a tendency to just let people go so I wanted to challenge myself to stay with her as practice. The pace felt manageable and I was having fun on the ride. However, I dropped my water bottle at about mile 9 and went back to pick it up because 1) it was the only one and I had, and 2) they told us littering on course means disqualification and even if it did not I wanted to set a good example and respect the roads and neighborhoods on the course. This did mean that I lost about some time to Kate so I decided to up the pace and catch back up to her and then ease off the gas. This was actually kind of fun and I had a good time trying to catch back up to her. We ended up going back and forth with a few age group men and made it back to transition at virtually the same time.  

I left got out of the T2 just ahead of her and allowed myself to ease into the run. Kate came up to my shoulder about 1/2 mile into the race and we ran next to each other until about mile 4.5.  As we were running next to one another at a pretty good pace I was tempted to ask her if she just wanted to maintain the pace and run it in together. I figured we were there for a race, but more importantly, it was to show newer triathletes how much fun it can be and get them excited about racing. I did not say anything though because I was afraid she would think I was not that tough...I mean who asks DURING a RACE if you just want to tie?!!?! I also thought, and this is no joke, that she is a tough racer who has stumbled across finish lines because she pushed so hard AND is Australian--I mean, they are tougher than North Americans for sure! So, basically, I did not want to come off as a North American weeny racer. I kept my mouth shut and figured it was going to be a race to the line. I started to notice she was breathing hard so I upped the pace after the last aide station and was able to get a gap. I pretended I was in one of the ITU style races where they all run together and then people inevitably start to fall off toward the end. I wanted to be the last one standing! I put in a pretty good effort the last 1500m and finished :11 ahead of Kate. It was a great day of racing with her. I had so much fun. Interestingly, she had the same thoughts as I did about running it in together but did not want to come off as I wimp like me so kept her mouth shut, too funny!

Tree lined finish chute.  The entire run looked like this.

My prize.  Perfect for Andy...I brought it home in my bike case since he did not make the trip.
The rest of the time in Eugene was filled with a BBQ at Brian's house (the RP owner) and getting to know my gracious hosts, Morgan and Lisa. Morgan even took me out for a beautiful 30 mile ride before I flew out on Sunday morning.  

After arriving home I got caught up on sleep, ran my normal errands and then got back into to training on Tuesday. I was also asked to do a radio show in Yountville last night. The hosts wanted to incorporate some sports talk into their weekly show since the Olympics is in full swing.  I was a guest along with the managers of the local running store in Napa. It was great fun. I did get a bit nervous though! I did not want to get stumped for words and start saying too many "ums" or "ya' knows." Once we got chatting I felt a bit better but I was definitely fidgeting with my wedding ring a little bit while I talked. Good practice...interviews are tough. My mom and dad were able to listen online and said I did not sound too bad. 

Chatting on the radio amongst the wine bottles, so Napa...

Another view. 

Here is a link for the podcast if you are so inclined. I am on during the first 15 minutes of the show. 

The website is  The shows are on every Tuesday from 6-7 Pacific time. I might start to listen a bit.  There are some pretty interesting people here in the valley and I like to learn more about the place I call home.

Next up is training while trying to figure out how to watch Olympics on TV and the internet. It definitely takes some planning!

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