On Friday D mentioned possibly wanting to do a Sprint Tri in Lowell on Sunday. I figured my coach would veto this assuming my next race was Timberman on the schedule so no need to screw with it. But she said go right ahead- no rest just go out and have fun. I already had an OWS/bike brick on the plan so why not just add a short 5k. All sounded like a good idea.
So I registered Friday afternoon. D decided not to race :( but as usual was an amazing sherpa! Race morning I had my scrambled eggs and we got going out of the house. When we got to Lowell I realized I had left my HRM strap at home and my race belt (whoops). I figured oh well the race is for fun anyways.
Pre race the transition area was a mess. They kept it open while the Olypmic distance racers were going. I listened to pre-race announcements- all they told us were the swim course. No info on the transition, bike, and run- which had a horrible map on line and little to no marking (we will get to more on that later). I did my usual PB&J an hour before start time and a few min before the start had a hammer. Put on my wet suit and stood waiting the start count down.
Swim went really well! I was in the top 10 women out of the water. I did the 1/4 mi swim in 6:08- pretty good day in the water if you ask me. I got out felt pretty good. Moved okay though transition but since I wasn't really mentally prepared to race I didn't mentally prepare for transition. I had planned on testing out the theory of pulling on my new tri top in T1. That took forever it was a tangled mess. I will not be doing that for my 70.3- lesson #1 learned.
I headed out on the bike to the messy area of mount- the cops did a horrible job with traffic om the 4 lane road and the mount line wasn't marked. Again could have been a great help for the pre race announcements! Anyway- I was having a decent bike- I knew most of the course from the oly I had just done in Lowell. The bike went off in an area I didn't know and that is where it fell apart.
I came down off a hill in aero and hit a little bump in the road. Then it happen the dreaded PSFSSSSSSSSSSS! Crap I blew out my front tire. First thoughts this can't be happening to me. I am having a great race no effin way. Well I calmed down popped the wheel off and started attempting to pull the tire out of the rim. The kevlar bead just wouldn't let go. I needed tire levers- I didn't have any. A few people rode by and apologized, a couple asked if I was okay and kept riding even though I said NO. Then came along my savior- just as I was about to put the tire back on and hoof the bike back to transition. I just couldn't bear the thought of my DNF being blamed on a flat. My hands were bleeding from trying to pull off the tire but I wasn't ready to give up. This guy stopped and helped- pulled the tire off put the tube in and inflated my tire. He even stayed behind me for a bit to be sure the tire was okay. I don't think I could have said Thank You enough!
My bike took forever- I think it really took about 42 min to do the 11 mi taking out the time to change the tire. Official results 1:11- YOUCH! Lesson #2- I need tire levers and another change a flat class or 2!
I put my head down and just wanted to finish. I took t2 as it came. Did what I could. And headed out for 5k when really I just wanted to stop. My fueling was thrown all off my the tire problem and I just wanted to be done! But- I put my head down and got the task done. The run course had little to no marking and since I was so far in the end I had really no one to follow. I made my guesses on the course based on the little map I had seen on line. Another great pre race announcement where the run course is and where is the turn around.
Like I said I had a tough time with fueling and t2. I forgot to grab any fuel for the run and of course the run course had no aid station until the turn around. Lesson #3- continue fueling even through hiccups. I made it to the first aid station and grabbed 2 waters. I had no idea it was the turn around until I saw a hand written sign and the volunteer told me. Another good to know from a pre race announcement!
I trudged through the second half of the run. Made sure to try to keep it together for the race photographer. God I can't imagine how bad that pic is!? Surely a put your head down and get through this! I finished the run in 32:24- not great but I just wanted to finish.
According to the race results- I raced Athena for this race- I was the 1st in the Athenas out of the water, 5th out of 5 on the bike (damn flat), and 2nd best run time. Man if I could take that flat back.
I am really just trying to see it all as a learning experience. I am really hoping it took my bad racing juju out of me before Timberman. Though the competitive part of me is crushed! I know it was just a fun last minute add but I had really hoped for decent results. Again- learning experience. I keep telling myself- hoping soon I will fully believe it.
My hands are finally starting to recover from the cuts caused by the flat tire and I definitely learned lesson #4- it is time for a small first aid kit to be kept in my tri bag. I could have used a way to wash them out and bandage them before the hour long ride home. So as for the other lesson's learned #1- I will wear my tri top under my wetsuit for Timberman, #2- already had another flat class and added tire levers to my saddle bag need another lesson or 2 in the coming weeks, #3- FUEL, FUEL, FUEL- I may need to put that on my handlebars!
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