Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chisago Tri - Pool Party!

This past weekend the alarm went off disturbingly early for Chisago Lakes Tri.  Anytime the alarm goes off under 5 am it's brutal...and I boldly refuse to ever let it go off before 4 am unless we are heading to Mexico or something sweet like that...otherwise I can't think of any other reason worthy.  Tom on the other hand...don't know what it is, but on race day he wakes up like an 8 year old on his way to Valleyfair! I wish I was more like this...The drive out to Chisago was long..but I like that, just zoning out and I remember we we were having a random April career chat on the way out there...halfway through the chat I thought...hmm looks like someone is focused, not!

Chisago has always been one of my favorite races!  For whatever reason this race gets a really good turnout and usually most of my friends race one of the two distances.  Also, the sprint distance is rather bike heavy which suites me.   Heading into this race I was stoked to hammer the bike and felt as a result of the longer bike I would have a pretty good shot to to make it onto the podium.  Well as the saying goes...some days it just isn't your day.  This was not my day!  I felt alright on the swim and good for about 8 miles of the bike and then I just felt like straight up shat!.  I was hammering my legs as hard as they would and I just couldn't get the bike to cooperate.  It was a painful struggle and left  me 4th woman off the bike.  Not a good position to be in when running fast isn't your "thing."  So I got passed, and passed again and again and right before the finish again!  Just pour it on!! 

Finishing felt fantastic and I was stoked to see the infamous ice pool empty!  Since the water was still somewhat sanitary I went for the full on head under plunge!  To say this felt good would be a huge understatement!
Kathi snapped this shot....I think it looks like I'm about to give water birth!
I finished 8th and was a bit grumbly about my slow splits...but that quickly dissipated when I got my 2nd place age group MUG...I am loving this post race beer situation entering the tri scene!  I  raised my mug to my cute man who had a fabulous race finish 12th male overall and also placing in his age group!  Tom has been having a fantastic year thus far and I am so happy to see him race well!   I enjoyed seeing  Jeff and Christina get their podium mugs and also seeing Lisa have one heck of a half ironman finish in some nasty hot conditions! Dolan and Youness and E-Monster all also had great racing days! Love my friends!

In the afternoon I met up with Pam, Chris and Dan for some mtb loops at theo!  It was a hot day and after 2 more hours of riding I was totally smashed!!!  Gotta get these mountain legs ready for Ore to Shore in a couple weeks!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Racing Frenzy #5 - Lifetime Tri

Wow...I am in the midst of a crazy racing frenzy...and in fact rather than writing this post I should be face down on the floor foam rollin' out these horribly knotted up quads!

After Curious George I decided I wanted to play in the dirt and thus have been adding as many mountain bike races as possible to my already decided triathlon schedule which was arranged during my Its January, I feel so fit and races are at their cheapest phase.  That phase happens every year and no matter how much I try to control it I just can't and I overbook the shiz out of summer.  Tom LOVES this..not! 

Lifetime Tri was to be my 5th weekend in a row racing...out of my 8 week racing frenzy! Hard to believe that this race has never made its way onto my schedule...its just always lost out to one of my faves...Heart of the Lakes!  I'll Its July and its so friggin hot and humid phase had just kicked in and I was seriously dreading the 10k run that this race offered as desert!  Well guess what? I was hot and humid...but it sure was a lot of fun! I shared some good pre-race moments with Cindy before the swim (thanks for the extra hair tie...I still need to figure out how to manage this long haired chaos!) Since it was too hot to wear a wetsuit I was shocked to feel so good in the water and that momentum carried me through the bike. The was different story and I was happy to finish just above 2:25 and I believe 16th amateur woman.  It was really fun to see Tom and so many fans cheering on the run and it actually made me enjoy the 2 looper!  I remember Lisa kept reminding me that once this was over I never had to do this distance again.  Thanks helped!

One highlight of my day was seeing Andrea post race (photo above)!  After messing her back up over the weekend she went from not being able to stand up straight on Monday to racing on Saturday!  I work with this chica and let me tell you...she is one determined, amazing lady!  So proud of her and impressed by her passion!  Love this photo as it totally captures how smashed she is!

Also loving how my race medal also acts as a bottle cool?! However the grand finale had to be the post races beers in the Mich Ultra tent with Tom, Andrea and Ross...bottle opener not needed! Check out the carnage... I'm not driving! 

On a another final note...bring on the cyclocross nastiness! Meet Chilly Willy! You can see the resemblance...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Minneman Pukefest and Elysian FunFest Weekends!

Minneman triathlon was a couple weekends ago!  Tom and I had volunteered for this race last year, which meant that we had a free race…love it!  I will be honest that I was really nervous about how this race was gonna go.  I’ve been having so much fun on my fatty lately that I had only ridden my tri bike twice since St. George!   I suppose I could have guessed it…this race was pretty much a smack in the face …I felt terrible the entire time….and especially the last 100 meters of the run when I started dry heaving…at this point I knew I was in 3rd place and as usual was super stressed about getting caught by some more gals.  I continued running thinking that I could hold it off…at least until after the finish line, well I was wrong…and for the 2nd race in a row I threw a sexy spew all over myself party as I struggled over the last 20 yards of the race.  My favorite quote after the race from Matt Payne was “nice…way to throw it all over the place!”  I remember thinking “I can’t believe this is actually happening…yes I am puking all over myself Gatorade commercial style…and this is only a sprint tri!”  I did end up on the podium and was really happy to be there all things considered!  It was also a very well organized event which I would consider doing again! 
Thanks Yndecam for capturing the moment!

Tom had an incredible race finishing 4th overall and 1st in his age group!  He even WON A TREE!!! I am one Proud wifey!  Since we have an apartment I thought it would make a nice Christmas tree, but instead we dropped it off at Tom’s parents house to be planted…of course we named it “The Champions Tree.”

This past weekend we did the 29th Annual Elysian Rookies Triathlon. We have been doing this race the past 5 years and absolutely love it….it is always a highlight of our summer as we get to spend the weekend on the lake with Kari and Mark and Mark’s parent’s at the River’s lake home!   We arrived Friday night just in time for some pontoon action and of course a few lucky pre race Bud Light Limes!  It was still ridiculous hot outside, but forecast called for a storm to come through overnight and cool things off.  Race morning came quickly and temperatures had dropped thankfully!  We picked up our awesome fluorescent race T-shirts and set up both T1 and T2.  My favorite part about this race is how for most participants this is the one race they do each year or perhaps it is even their very first tri and they are able to do it on basically whatever bike they own without being judged…I absolutely love the innocence of this race, it’s $35 late registration fee, and it’s scattered transitions.  I would hate for things to get too professional at this race as I think it would lose its “rookie” appeal.  The race distances are .4 Mile swim, 8 mile bike and 4 mile run.  Run heavy...and surprisingly a fairly hilly 8 mile ride! 
As Tom and I were getting our bikes set up in T2 I was checking out the other racers to see who might be my competition and all the sudden noticed someone in a USA tri suit with the last name “Haskins” on it.  I knew of the Olympian, Sarah Haskins, but immediately dismissed it assuming it was probably some random age grouper that had a USA tri kit from Age Group Nationals or something (and coincidentally the same last name).  Turns out I was wrong!! Now way!  It was indeed Sarah Haskins and she had randomly showed up with her husband who apparently is from Mankato area.  She is set to race the Lifetime Tri next weekend and must have done this one for fun!  She was genuinely nice and even stuck around to hand out the race medals!   Both Tom and I had pretty good races!  He finished 3rd overall (1st place was Sarah Haskins husband who I think used to be a Pro).  I was 2nd…or 1st Amateur (no puking!).  Tom Rivers (Mark’s dad) also did the tri for the 3rd consecutive year and looked strong as ever!  Once we got our medals we peeled out and spent the entire afternoon on the pontoon and in the water with the Rivers and the Larson’s!  We downed way too many silver bullets and left with a fresh tan!!  What a way to spend a weekend!  We had a blast hanging out with the kiddos Allie, Kate and Drew!  Thank you Marie and Tom for the splendid hospitality…can’t wait till next year!
Drew and Allie  "Cheese"  - Photo Credit to Ericka Larson

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lutsen 39er...MUDFEST!

This past weekend we took to the North Shore for the Lusten 39er race.  The longer distance 99er race was the main event, but I’m still on my mountain bike training wheels so I went with the shorter distance that I could actually wrap my head around...and thank God since it was an epic mudfest!   The awful flood that struck Duluth over the past week had me worried 1. We might not make it up to Lutsen 2. They might cancel the race.  Pretty ridiculous actually when folks in Duluth are in despair...but I was so excited for this race I would have been real sad to have missed it...besides RAIN = MUD = DIRTY and I was stoked for that kind of race! 

My parents came along for the weekend away and the four of us made it up to the race no doubt, and actually all we could see as a result of the flood was a seriously nasty brown Lake Superior.  We laughed at the thought of TCat swimming through that mess during the Superiorman Half in a couple months!  We also couldn't pass up a stop at Gooseberry was spectacular and in full roar!!
Hot Papa Calhoun!

We arrived at the Eagle Ridge Resort in Lutsen Friday afternoon and immediately I loved the atmosphere, so casual and laid back with a nice touch of energy...kind of like sitting in a coffee shop listening to someone play their guitar...chill.  We grabbed dinner on the patio, I even had a couple lucky pre-race Corona's and was so excited about the fact that I wasn't nervous for this race at all...I was just excited for  fun day...and I suppose my expectations were minimal.  

Pre Race chillin'
Race morning came quickly and soon enough I was trying figure out what was a proper place for me to position myself in the corral.  This actually involved me checking to see if any women were ahead of me and if so inching my way forward.  The star spangled banner was played, and a rifle was shot!  We were off!  Since the race was downhill they had a van in front keeping the race speed under 20 mph...Which was fine and I actually appreciated a chance to warm up the legs.  People were chatty in the pack and I loved how everyone was just out here to "have fun!" About 5 miles in we took a left and started a climb that I swear would never end.  They call this a category 3 climb, but I’m not even sure what the means...let’s just say it kept climbing and climbing and climbing...probably like 3 miles worth of it. During this section I was passed by a gal in the 39er and I just couldn't get my legs to go with her.  I stared at her blue jersey 200 yards off into the distance and then she was gone! The next 20 miles or so are pretty blurry and involved some tar, gravel roads grass, big rocks in the swamps...yes full on 2 feet of water pits.  I was nervous at the first swampy pit and after making it through I was ecstatic! "This is so much fun" muddy water was flying up even into the back of my bike shorts…it was wild!  During this section I was riding with about 10-12 guys and some were actually telling me they would help me catch the gal in first. What a nice change of pace from the guy you pass in a tri that can't believe he is getting beat by a girl!  I found myself really enjoying the pack riding way more than I expected and couldn't believe the advantage you can get riding in a pack. 

Things were going really well until BAM the guy in front of me t-boned a rock and went head first over the handlebars...I had to slam my brakes to avoid riding over him and his was gnarly!! I yelled to see if he was okay and he said "yes" and I made him say it twice before I kept on going. At this point the back broke apart and i rode about 10 miles by!! until I was caught by the chase pack behind me.  I jumped on and rode with them until we got to the last 4 mile section.  This was supposed to be "single track" but let me tell you it was nothing like the single track I had ridden at home, it was grassy and swampy and muddy and at some points it even appeared I was riding down a creek.  With about 1 mile to go I saw the blue way...I couldn't believe it. She was struggling in the rugged "single track" sections and I was able to catch her and make a pass on one of the turns.  All the sudden "oh my gosh... I am WINNING THE RACE!!"  I am not used to winning races and whenever this seems to happen I seriously PANIC!!  I would look back on occasion to see if she was gaining on me on the hills since I knew she was a powerful rider.  I also knew that the last part of the race involved a super steep perhaps 200 meter long climb..  Finally it was in sight however I was completely TOAST.  At one point the slope was so steep I toppled off my bike...I was trying so hard to get back on and looking back seeing the blue jersey gal was 15 yards was a miracle that I was able to get back on and pedal my way up the rest of the hill and across the finish line! 

 I WON THE RACE!!! I was shocked!!! I had never won a race before....6 years of Tri’s, running, etc and I won my first race on mountain bike!! Who would have thought??? I finally am worthy of drinking out of Tom's "winner's mug."  ( you see he has this mug from winning the Dreidel Dash 5k this past fall and if I ever would have coffee in it he would say "are you sure you should be using that? Hilarious!!) Take that Tom!
Post Race...I was Smashed!