I was excited that this race is fairly close to my BFF's house in Charlotte!! I drove to her house first and picked her up before heading to the race site to check in, bike the run course, and swim a bit in my new wetsuit in the lake. She got to do a little trail walking while I did my routines. Since last week, Charlie at Two-Wheeler Dealer took a look at my wheels and taught me a few things about changing my tire (just in case) and mostly gave me the confidence that I was not set up for another two flat race... Turns out that last week was totally user error and I had caused my own heartache!
We left that race site and she had scoped out a place near her house that served breakfast all day, so I was able to have my pancake dinner. Not super necessary for a sprint distance, but I love my routines!
My alarm was set for 4:15 allowing me time for coffee and breakfast, but I woke up at 3:30 and could not get back to sleep. Race morning is like Christmas morning for me. I was too excited to sleep! We arrived at transition at 6:30 am with plenty of time to get set-up and relax. I know I get there too early, but I like to have time without feeling stressed!
As has become a new habit, I met a few fellow Team Zoot teammates before I sat down to write my morning goal post.
Swim: 400m (supposed to be 750m) /15:44.07 8th of 45 Female
Other than the course being super short, there is not a lot to report for this swim. The lake is beautiful, the temperature was perfect, and I am getting used to being back to wave starts. As I exited the swim, Denise was there telling me my position in the green caps which was super motivating to keep pushing hard!
Transition 1: 2:47.6 1st of 45 Female
The transition includes a pretty long uphill run to the transition area. I did run it and I don't wear socks on the bike, so I think those two things helped me be 1st in all age group women in this transition!
Bike: 18 miles/56:47.1 2nd of 45 Female
If you have read any of my other race reports, you know the bike is my happy place. This course was long for a sprint distance and had a couple of pretty solid climbs... and I loved every minute of it. I did have to brake on one of the downhills, which I hated doing, but there wasn't anyone in front of me and I didn't know what to expect in terms of road conditions and traffic at the bottom of the descent, so I hit the brakes to feel like I was at least a little in control of the situation. My max speed was 31mph even while braking!!
Transition 2: 1:03.6 12th of 45 Female
Once again, my T2 is slower than I'd like, but I did improve by 25 seconds over last week. I wish I didn't need socks to run, but the giant blister on my heel proves that I do. AND... the 15-20 seconds I lost to those faster in T2 isn't that big of a deal in the overall time.
Run: 3.1 miles/28.18.5 17th of 45 Female
As I was heading up the big first climb out of transition, Denise was telling me that I was currently in 5th of all females (including the advanced/elite division). I had no idea how many were in the elite group and I knew the speedy runners in my own age group would start closing the gap soon, so I worked hard (even on the uphills) to keep myself in the running for an age group podium. I did get passed by two women on the run, but there were 2 women in the elite division, so I ended up 5th overall female... crazy!
This run course is beautiful and mostly shaded... but very challenging. I can usually use my long legs to make up time in a downhill section and thankfully the downhill sections were long enough to let me get a rhythm going, but those uphills are my kryptonite. I did walk more than I wanted to on the uphills and I know that hill running is the lowest hanging fruit in my quest for improvement. I am extremely happy with my pace and time. The run course was a tiny bit short which helped me fend off those speedy runners that were closing that gap.
The course ends with a long (like half-mile) downhill to the beach and the finish line is in the sand. Denise was there to meet me and celebrate with me! What an awesome day!
Overall: 1:37:01.8 1st of 8 F 45-49, 5/45 Female 64/171 Overall
The internet by the lake was spotty at best so Set UpEvents was not able to post results to the website. They did post a list of finishing times, but there was no age gender included on that list, so we would have to wait until awards to find out podium placements. I had done a little stalking of previous years' results and the other ladies in my age group and thought that I would have to really push to get on the podium at all. Based on Denise's recon during the race, I did think I would be on the podium, but was so proud and shocked that I was able to win my age group.
This course is definitely set up for strong cyclists! With a shorter bike or a longer run, I am sure those speedy runners would have caught me.
As always, I loved hanging out after the race with new Team Zoot friends and was super proud to have had a strong showing with Denise there to watch! This was race weekend #6 in a row and I am loving every minute of this season so far! 4 more NC races in the next three weekends and then it is 1 weekend off before 70.3VBR. Another huge shout out for Coach Sami for coaching me through this season of racing and training!!