but, i bit the bullet, and I thought "what better way is there to see a city, than to race through it?" So, i went ahead and entered the LA Triathlon. The race is a point to point, starting at Venice Beach, and ending in Downtown LA. The bike course heads up Venice blvd, eventually doing a bit on Sunset Blvd, and turning around to go back downtown. I had organized to borrow a bike through Couchsurfing.com, which was amazing. The bike, although significantly smaller than my own, was a Quintana Roo Tri bike, complete with carbon fork, stem, etc, and ultegra components. so, needless to say, quite a step up from my Cyclocross with 105's. (but, with a note, not as pretty as mine). It was very exciting to be at such a large race. total participants in the olympic distance were 1116, and in the sprint 576. plus a "bike only," and a relay division. Compare that with the squamish (~200 participants), and Vancouver (~500).
previous to the race, we (my friend, Joshua, who lives in LA; Josh was previously raced up here at the Squamish Triathlon in July) went to the race expo (which was larger than any expo i have ever been too!), down to Venice beach to check out the water, and drove the bike course. i was a little nervous about the following aspects:
- i have never swam in big surf. I was scared that i might drown in the waves ;) although, in reality, i knew that i wouldn't drown, but i had high chances of getting a slow swim, and lots of gulps of salt water. Also, was slightly scared of those marine creatures called sharks. especially since we all look like seals in our wetsuits
- i was worried that it was going to be super hot outside, very muggy, and polluted. and, that those aspects would create the race to be a lot harder, and i will not have hydrated enough.
- I have never rode in aero-bars before. was worried that i might bite the dust, or for some reason, the bike might breakdown.
- i was worried that from racing last week, and again yesterday (a mere 6 days later), my legs would be super tired.
overall 416/1116. Overall Female 43/199. My category... 1/7 Woot! (if i had entered the women, 25-29, i would have placed 4/38. which, i like. but, is also surprizing... are triathletes in Vancouver that much quicker?)
like i said, i was a little intimidated by the surf. although Josh kept insisting that it wasn't so bad, and that i would be fine. we were the last olympic wave off. but had bright orange caps, which was nice and easy to gauge if you were being passed in the wave. The swam tired me out. Well, the surf tired me out, both going out and goin
g in. going out included a big gulp of salt water, and hard running and dolphining. it was me and two other Clydesdale men out in front. the swim felt slow, but i also felt like there was not much i was able to control. it was the hardest swim i have had all summer. The nicest thing about it, though, was that there was barely anyone around me for most of the swim, and that i was able to find a pair of feet for a while. we finally
merged with the sprint distance athletes who stared shortly after us, and headed for shore. Wanted to run out, but running on sand is hard. and, my heart and breathing rate was soaring. so i decided to walk through the sand, until it was more packed, and run through T1. swim time: 26:26. this is the slowest i have gone all year (since the other 2 results include T1 times).
other than the sand running, pretty good. forgot to un
-velcro my shoes which were already in my pedals on the bike. that lead to a hard start to the bike. opted for socks, from the mistake of last race and blisters. but, had a great rack location. accidently hit the helmet of the guy beside me to the ground. tried to quickly back my bag for the volunteers to later pick up, but this was a *big* hassle. and, off to Venice Blvd. T1 time: 2:28.
by far, the best part of the race. While driving the course, i was a thinking that the ride was going to be quite hard. Lots of false flats, and undulating hills, and one big (but short) climb. I loved riding in aero position, and the bike went well. Ended up spending most of the ride with a group of men in their 40's. they kept a good pace, and it was nice to have a speedometer on the bike. the ride was fun, and had a lot of variety. Other than my knees hitting the bars when i had to get out of the saddle a few times, and the fact that the bar end shifters sometimes confused me (because i am used to integrated sh
ifters!), i thought the ride was fine. i drank a surprizingly a lot of fluids on the ride. Bike time: 1:15.14 la la la! lot's faster than the 1:22's from the previous races. but, again, don't know my transition times from the previous races.
we dropped off out T2 bags at the expo the night before, and, the volunteers were to set them out for us. I couldn't find my rack very easily, and got a little lost, which i was annoyed about. had put some fast laces into my shoes, and that was nice. enjoyed not tying them. appreciated having socks. this transition was normal. no
thing special, other than getting lost. t2 time: 2:15.
as always, the hardest. i started off feeling quite good, surprisingly. i wanted to negative split on the run, but this is hard to do when you don't have a watch. my feeling good off the bike quickly disapated, and i found myself feelin
g exceptionally slow, and not enjoying the run at all. i also had looming in front of me the hill, which looks like a wall as you approach it. in my head, i knew that i wasn't going to be able to run up it. i tried. but, the first time, i only got 1/2 up it, running. the second time, i walked the whole time. but, i have a fast hill walk. so, that was okay. i do remember though, that there was one point on the run when i thought "hum. i am not sure if i want to do this. i don't know if i want to finish...." i was really frustrated. but, no blisters, thanks to socks and body glide. also was soaking wet at the end. i found myself pouring a lot of water on myself. and, lots of sweat as well. might have also peed a bit as well?! but, not quite sure on that one ;) eep! TMI? run time: 58:55. very surprisingly, faster than last 2 races.
overall time: 2:45.17. for a 1st place in my category by a whooping 21 minutes. shocking, actually, for not feeling 100% great about the race. and, also suprisingly, a PB. strange how that works, hey?
post race. did not feel like eating (or even drinking a free beer at the garden!) much at all. loved the ice towels they give you. waited for a massage, and subsequently missed the shuttle back to the beach; but, i was somewhat okay
with that, since i got the massage ;) eventually found our way home. ate a yummy sandwich, milkshake and watermelon for lunch, and went for an hour nap. felt like the recovery went *very* well. wasn't exceptionally dehydrated, or anything. YAY!
and, of course, congrats to my friend Josh who had a PB on his race, coming in with a 2:56 racetime, with a strong swim, fast transitions, and solid bikes and runs. he came in 11/26 in his category, and was happy with his race overall, which is *awesome.*
so, who knows where I am going to be next fall, and if i will race in LA again. perhaps we will do this all over again, and i will have the experience to know what to expect for the next time. i thought the race was fun, and well run. so, maybe. just maybe. time can only tell.
but, for now, i leave you with these super style-ish triathletes ;) haha!