While not my first race of the season, this is THE local race in the area I've just moved to. It's a gorgeous course in the middle of the mountains. Hilly, so not one where you're likely to set a personal best, but the hills give it variety and add fun. The organization of this course and the enthusiasm of the volunteers is top notch.
Race morning was relaxed and happy. I was up early to eat breakfast and head out. Got a gorgeous picture of mountain peace on the early morning ferry ride.
Once there, I was in a great mood. I love the race morning energy. I have done some of my training with a local triathlon group, and it was awesome seeing all the people I knew. I also found a couple of people who are members of my Alberta triathlon group. I am incredibly blessed to be part of two amazing triathlon families.
|Getting body marked by Ali, one of my Mountain Spirit teammates.|
|With Brent and Yvonne, Team Trilife teammates.|
I had a stellar swim. 35:08. My garmin measured the course as being a bit long, but open water swims are what they are. It's also possible that I swam crooked. :) Had good feet, and felt really strong. I found out later that I knew the person whose feet I swam on, as well as the person who I kind of edged out to get on their feet. (I didn't intentionally edge her out, but it did happen.)
Coach Angie had told me to hammer the bike. Truth is, I usually play it safe on the bike, so this was different for me. Hammer the bike, manage the run. Those were big parts of my race plan.
I loved the bike course. A lot of it was along the edge of a lake. Lots of rolling hills. No seriously steep ones, but definitely enough to keep you interested. I was biking hard, though at an effort level that I expected to be able to maintain. A couple times I considered how much this bike could make the run hurt, but I pushed those thoughts off to the side.
Unfortunately, it seems I hammered it hard enough to break my bike...
I was approaching the end, and only had 3 km to go.
TWANG! Broken spoke. I knew immediately that had to be it. I'd had a broken spoke a couple weeks prior and never knew when it happened. Google told me that I should have heard a huge twang. This time, that's exactly what I did hear.
I got off my bike and took a look. As I thought, broken spoke. With only 3 km left, I thought I'd be able to ride it in easy. That wasn't happening. The wheel was jamming, obviously it was nowhere near true anymore. It wasn't jamming in the brakes, so opening them up didn't help. It was jamming in the frame itself.
"Only 3 km." 3 km is such a short distance when you are on your bike. Suddenly, I knew that my bike was not going to carry me the rest of the way to transition. Fact. Whatever choice I made was based upon that fact.
This is where I am really happy with my reaction. I stayed totally calm and assessed the situation. I was "only" about 3 km away from the bike finish. I couldn't ride my bike. The race time was about 2 hours in. Cut off for the race is 4 hours. I took a moment to consider if I could walk 3 km in socked feet and then run 10 km within the time I had. (Walking in bike shoes, particularly in my speedplay cleats was not an option.)
I decided I could. Unfortunately, I couldn't even roll my bike. So, I carried it. About 2 km. People kept asking if I needed a spare tire. I know how to change a spare! If only that was what it was.
With about 1 km to go, there was a volunteer out on a bike. He offered to trade bikes. I took him up on it. Fortunately, the remainder of the bike was either flat or downhill, because I could neither clip in or figure out how to change gears. (He carried my bike back to transition and switched bikes.) Vince, a really amazing person.
1:50:19 on the bike, including both transitions, which I had at 3:10 and 1:40.
I knew I was very close to last. There is a guy that does the race every year, and comes in last, so nobody else will. I knew he wasn't far behind me. I acknowledged that thought and let it go.
The run was hot and hilly. I stayed steady and strong on it. I was feeling a bit fried, but held on through the whole thing. I was happy, and I smiled. The volunteers were amazing. I've never seen such great positivity from volunteers, even when it was so late in the race. The threw water at me when I asked, and there were a couple people out with hoses on the course. It helped a lot to deal with the temperature. It wasn't my fastest run, but I finished it with everything I had.
1:15:08 on the run.
This is one of those races that reminded me why I do triathlon. It brought back the magic for me. The magic that I've been reaching for and getting hints of. The magic that isn't magic at all, but rather is the strength I carry within myself. The strength that I found a well of when I needed to reach for it.