Since Brandon moved out here, we've pretty much done every race together. The first he missed that was gender-legal (he didn't do Tri for the Cure '08 because that was women's only) was the Turkey Trot last year. But, with the exception of the aforementioned Tri for the Cure, we had done all our tris together ... and he was with me for TftC08 anyway and helped me get through that race.
For Boulder Peak, the second of three in the Boulder Tri Series we signed up for last October, Brandon didn't come with me. It was pretty much the only thing he asked off for in his July bids ... and didn't get it off and he COULD NOT get out of it. Sad day. So, it was only me heading up to Boulder that morning ...
Like 5430, I went up to Boulder the day before (so Saturday) for the pre-race expo and packet pick-up. Heard about the nasty hill (Olde Stage) ... and not much else. The only cool thing about packet pick-up was the tent of Ironman-branded stuff they had on SUPER CLEARANCE. While none of it gets cracked until August 8th, I picked up two IM Boulder 70.3 cycling jerseys, two visors, one hat, one pint glass, one coffee mug and two stickers for ... $40, I want to say? Each jersey was $5 and they're normally $80. Yeah. No-brainer. Unfortunately, the stuff's all sitting in a bag hidden behind the futon, but y'know.
After shopping, I drove back down to Denver, had sushi for lunch, breakfast for dinner (becoming our pre-race standard) and went to sleep.
Like for 5430, I woke up butt-ass early for the long-ass drive to Boulder. Transition had already opened by the time I arrived and had to park a bit further away than we did for 5430. Still, I got in and set up just fine.
Sun rising over transition.
Transition! Ivan and Nelson are in the trans bag (post concerning that later), there's the crappy sunscreen I bought that didn't work and left me slightly fried ...
Now customary smiley. Thanks, Steve - a couple of Coloradoans now do this regularly.
Unlike 5430, I didn't take Bob for a spin; I just set up trans and basically hung out. I was telling myself not to be nervous so as not to poop the multiple times I usually do race morning ... but then I couldn't at all and that made me nervous instead so finally I just plopped in the port-o-potty line and forced myself to go.
Quick note here: AWESOME that they had someone pitching most of the line extra rolls of TP to make sure EVERY port-o-potty had enough. There's not much worse than using a port-o-potty after an event and having NO toilet paper.
Soon enough, though, it was time to leave transition and head down to the water (after popping a salt tab).
After getting down to the beach, I popped in the water and swam a bit, but not too much as my wave was one of the earlier ones and I didn't want to miss my start.
Which ended up being good, as it was VERY hard to hear waves announced. I did ask the powers that be about it and they couldn't use the soundsystem because it was before 7am (noise violation codes or whatnot). But still, I can't help but wonder how many people missed their wave as a result.
In any case, after chit-chatting with a few people, it was time to go.
I let pretty much the entire wave go ahead of me before I started swimming so I could attempt to crawl with no distractions. Unfortunately, like 5430, I ended up breast-stroking most of it ... which I found out has the unintended consequence of killing my watch. ARGH. This should hopefully be the last race of that (more later). In any case, I survived and exited the water happily not last in my division (though close).
Time: 42:47 (1224th overall)
Transition in this race took a bit longer than it did in 5430, but I put on an extra pair of bike shorts to help out the lady bits and I popped a salt tab. Time well worth it, in my opinion.
As I had heard many nightmares about this course from many different sources, I made sure to take in some nutrition (mmm, no-bake cookies) within the first few miles. Legs felt kind of crappy, but that is to be expected, after all.
I saw a woman in front of me as I turned onto one of the main roads and eventually caught up with her, knowing I made some progress (because I knew I was definitely one of the last out of the water in my division). We ended up passing each other back and forth for pretty much the entire ride, which helped a lot, actually. Lightened up the course.
Much too soon (okay, like five miles in), we made the turn that would take us to Olde Stage Road.
It. Was. As. Bad. As. Advertised.
Two to three miles of straight up CLIMBING. According to some Google research, the first mile is an 11% grade and the rest of it averages an 8% grade. It was MISERABLE. There were several people off their bikes and walking. I never got off and walked, though I did have to stop three times just to catch my breath to ward off a potential asthma attack. I was in baby gear all around ... and going anywhere from 2-5mph up the hill. Averaging probably 3.5 mph.
What's more cruel is there's a water station near the top ... if you haven't done the ride, and all you have to go on is the costumed volunteers (in devil costumes, mostly; probably because you feel like hell at that point) is saying, "Wee, you're done!" ... you don't expect more climbing. But there WAS. And it felt like a cruel, cruel joke.
Teaches me right to not 100% scout the course out ahead of time.
Anyway, after the end of the horrible hill, you get to go blessedly downhill. The first section has a speed limit of 35 mph - a strictly enforced speed limit of 35 mph (you go over, you dq'ed). Doing the ride, you see why; riding my brakes and not pedaling, I stayed around 31, 32 mph. At the bottom of the hill, there's a nice turn that if you're not careful, you could take one hell of a tumble. Which people have done and to avoid such further incidents, they implemented the speed limit. Makes sense to me.
I did hit 40ish later on the course though, so yay. :)
Another falsehood was that after Stage, the course was flat and fast. It was ... for probably until mile 15. After that? Rollers. Rollers that burned. Rollers that sucked. I commented to someone at some point that I thought it was supposed to be flat and fast after Stage. I got a nod and a grunt in response.
The woman from the first few miles and I were really going back and forth at this point, though she eventually passed me for good within the last five miles ... where my legs just started giving up.
Other points of mention:
- The guys in daisy dukes, fake pigtail wigs and knotted up plaid shirts at the second aid station? AWESOME. I hooted and hollered at them (which they loved).
- There was a suicidal rabbit at one point; dashed across the road in front of the girl in front of me; almost got killed; dashed back in front of me; almost killed both of us. Saw it dash back again ... don't know what happened. I presume it made it, as I didn't hear sounds of crashing. I think if a cyclist hit a rabbit said cyclist would probably crash ...
And though I said my legs started to give up, I still tried to finish the bike (a non-Oly distance 42K) strong. Some really old guy passed me at one point and I said to myself, "Really? You have GOT to start moving here." And I did. And it was good.
Time: 1:41:49 (1173rd overall)
Peeled off the bike shorts, tossed on the race skirt (with number), changed shoes, Body Glided feet again (10K, figured I should), tossed another salt tab.
I wasn't so sure on how the run was going to go. All I was hoping for at that point was to do better than I did at Rattlesnake. I wasn't expecting a HUGE PR or anything - I was training through the race and all - but I did want to improve if anything.
The first mile didn't seem like that would be accomplished. I had to walk quite a bit starting out and I just couldn't get into any sort of groove.
Then, just into the second mile, I fell. I was actually noticing all these big ol' rocks in the path and thinking, "Hmm, someone might trip on these" and down I went. Left palm, left leg. Palm, ankle and butt all got road rash. I popped up quickly and ran a bit afterward, but the stinging of the gravel (and, let's be honest here, my pride) forced me to walk shortly thereafter. Luckily, the aid station was soon and I got water to clean my hand out as best as possible, drank a ton myself and kept on going.
From a week later. It's almost healed now, but it took over a week and a freaking half to do so.
Mile three was fairly uneventful ... except that it had a few hills. I stopped at all the aid stations and took in the Hammer gel right at the halfway point to give myself a little extra boost.
I knew my miles were pretty slow at that point, but given the time on my now blurry watch, I knew I could walk the rest of the way and still essentially PR. Obviously I tried to run a bit more and I did, but unfortunately not much.
Still, I managed to run it in the chute and sprint to the finish ... chicking one guy pretty badly and almost passing another right at the finish line.
Time: 1:10:41 (1141st overall, 11:17/mile)
65/73 division (F2529)
My swim was almost at the bottom of the division; I caught quite a few people on the bike; a few of those caught me back on the run.
This was a race that if you look at the numbers alone, I was slow and crappy. However, that's still a five minute PR for a race that I didn't feel ready for. I was training through this; I didn't feel like I had put in the miles. In some senses yes, that showed. However, I was still able to PR, tripping a mile into the run and all. I'll take it.