Sorry about the delay in this one, folks ... I just finally got the rest of my photos uploaded online about ... oh ... two minutes ago, so here we go!
Exactly one week ago at this time ... I was at work. Probably just off of lunch.
After I got off work, I came home, packed, had Brandon help me pack up the car, and we headed up I-25 ... through Denver, north Denver, Erie, Loveland, Fort Collins ... and soon enough, past enough fields, farms, buffalo and cows, we hit Wyoming.
We continued on the next 11 or so miles into Cheyenne to our exit. Rather than stopping at the hotel first, we quickly went over the park where our race would be the next day. We dipped our toes in the water (kinda cold), wandered around a little bit and talked to the few race people still around after some meeting we missed to double check and verify the locations of transition and the swim start.
Afterwards, we checked into our extremely ghetto Rodeway Inn. Seriously, the place was falling apart. We were thinking about heading back to Fort Collins (and delicious famous dave's) for dinner, but ultimately decided not to given on time. Instead, we drove around Cheyenne. Where there is nothing really to eat. We saw a Denny's on our way in and decided on that ... but sadly, it was closed until the 11th (the next day). Which helped us a lot. So, we drove back into town and settled on Village Inn. We're so classy.
After dinner, we went back to this Taco John's Event Center we had passed by for a little relaxing mini golf.
Mini golf was not nice to me.
In walking around after mini golf, we realized that the Taco John's Event Center also housed a rink ... go figure. We find the one ice rink (albeit one not in use) in Cheyenne. It was currently just a hard floor for inline/roller skating, but still.
Obviously we took pictures.
I think I look more excited than Brandon.
At that point, it was time to go back to the ghetto Rodeway. We dragged the bikes into the hotel room, got ready for bed and curled up with some TV before sleeping. We did have an early wake up call, that is.
Night night, bicycles!
Well, 4:45am came a lot sooner than we would have liked, but oh well. We got up, pumped up our bike tires, filled our water/Gatorade bottles, got dressed and generally got everything ready. As it was only a sprint and I don't really do nutrition on races (something i reeeeeally need to get out of), I tossed the smallest member of Team Baby Dino, Ivan, in my bento box.
He's so cute.
It was then time to head downstairs for the continental breakfast ... which I was hoping would be like most of the continental breakfasts I'd experienced at other Choice Hotels ... cereal, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, toast and perhaps some waffle batter.
Yeah, no. First of all, breakfast was out a little after six when the dude at check-in said it would probably be out by like 5:40. Secondly, apparently due to budget cuts, breakfast was some sketchy looking pastries, boxes of cereal and packets of oatmeal. And nothing else. I'm a girl who needs her protein in the morning; specifically, her eggs. I can handle hard-boiled eggs in the morning if need be. Instead, my pre-race breakfast ended up being ... half a glass of sketchy orange juice and a packet of Quaker's instant maple and brown sugar oatmeal. Mmmm.
After the breakfast disaster, we said, oh screw it, and biked the mile to the park for the race. Once there, I saw some chick wandering around with some peanut butter and I gave serious thought to paying her for the jar. No joke.
I ultimately decided against it, though, and we went to pick up our packets instead. They had a bit of an issue finding mine until they learned I was an Athena. The girl gave me a skeptical look until she put me on the scale. 179. Yep honey, I made the cut by a whole 29 pounds. I'm good.
After that was body marking, where I got Steve in a Speedo homage #1: the calf smiley face.
Then, off to set up transition. It's funny, but the more races I do (this was tri #4 for me), transition gets easier and easier.
If you look, you can see Ivan in his bento box.
Then, it was off to do Steve in a Speedo homage #2: the port-o-potty shot.
Oh the sweatshirt clashes with the port-o-potty so badly ...
Since there were still a few minutes before the race, we wandered around and took a few more pictures.
Part of the swim course. That far yellow blob was one of the ducks we had to swim around.
Soon enough though, it was time to head down to the swim start. One thing this race did that I liked a lot ... and I'm sure only allowed because there were like 200 of us ... was that it let us all in the lake for a quick swim. For me, one of the few people not in a wetsuit, it was nice to help get accustomed to the water. After a quick spin ... time for the race to begin.
This race was the first I've done where it was a ... well, I don't remember the name of it, but each of us got our own start. One swimmer would go, and about five, ten seconds later, the next swimmer would go. I was about the 15th swimmer to go (descending age start). It was definitely ... interesting. The pre-race swim did help a lot; I didn't get that chest shudder that I usually do when I start off in cold water.
As for the swim ... it didn't go as well as I probably would have liked. Looking back on the times later, it was a faster average than last year, which was nice. Still, I got through it with really no hiccups, which is all I cared about.
T1 was not happy. I don't know what it was, but it just did not go well. I felt like I was moving slow, having issues getting my bike shorts on (i put my shoes on first. yeah, stupid), my jersey on ... everything. Still, I got out. Oh well.
The bike started off well. And then we crossed the highway and encountered the hills. Oh the hills. I know my cycling hasn't gone as well this year as in years past. In last year's tri, I was passing people on the uphills. This year ... I passed a few people, but very, very few.
Once I hit the turnaround, though, things felt a little better. One of the motorcycle marshals yelled at me saying that I hit 33 mph on one of the downhills (to which I replied, "yeah, i'll be going 6mph up the next hill") ... which isn't true (odometer said 29.something as a max speed). Regardless, it was kind of nice.
Besides all the damn hills, though, the course was awesome in that there were a TON of volunteers - so many it was hard to thank them all, though I tried. Quite a few had cowbells and some were dressed up. They made riding that nasty course a lot easier and I loved having them there.
T2 went a lot better than T1 ... even though time-wise, it didn't go much quicker. I'm a nerd and had to put on my engagement ring (forgot to before the bike) and body-gliding my feet (kind of non-negotiable) took longer than I would have liked. Still, I was feeling ... okay and went off to start my run.
I got on the run and my legs were heavy. Seriously heavy. Still, I plugged on through. About ... oh, a third of the way through the first mile, I saw one of those bank signs that gives you the temperature. It read 76 degrees. Given that I've started the run portion of some tris when it was close to 100 degrees, it was nice to see and feel.
The first water station was right at the first mile and I actually got both the water and the blue PowerAde. I'm not a blue energy drink person, but damn that tasted good. As far as time was concerned, I was going pretty slow, but it wasn't too bad.
Second mile was honestly just there. Most of it was along the same road as the first part of the cycle and it took us back near the hotel. The water station at the end of mile 2 was disgusting. That cup of water went on my head. Eeewwww.
Mile three I picked off some people. There was a slight hill, but when I went up it I was like, hill? What hill? Pffft ... (running hills around here really does pay off on race day).
As always, I sprinted into the finish, pulling it out of my butt.
The totally completely AWESOME part of this run was that it was the first ever time during a tri that I have not walked on the run. I will add the caveat that I did a tiny bit through the water stations, but that's because I haven't perfected the art of drinking on the run while not a.) choking and/or b.) getting it all over me. Still. NO WALKING.
30/54 female (lake swim)
4/8 Athena (my division)
I initially thought I was 13 seconds away from a podium finish as I was 13 seconds off the Athena in front of me ... but then I realized I read the sheet wrong and that I was the fifth overall Athena to finish and the one in front of me was not in my age group. Oops.
I was also not initially happy with my performance (save my run) ... until I realized that this wasn't an A race. This was a warm-up tri for RattleSnake. When I also looked at my averages from My Way or the Tri Way last year ... everything actually improved. So while I'm not necessarily thrilled with my performance, I'm okay with it given all the things I later factored in.
That being said, if I have a similarly crappy swim and bike at RattleSnake, I'm not gonna be a happy camper.