Sunday, March 15, 2009

Miami International Triathlon

Today was the Miami International Triathlon in, you guessed it, Miami. More specifically out on Key Biscayne where it is very windy. It wasn't exactly the race I wanted to have but considering the training I have been doing and the lack of rest I had going into the race it was a very solid start to the season. The weekend got off to a very early start with me leaving for the airport at 2am Friday morning. I rolled into Charlotte no problem with lots of time to spare. American Airlines dinged me for an extra $100 to fly my bike which isn't a surprise, but then they forgot to load it on the airplane. This I have a problem with. If you are going to charge me that much extra you at least better make sure it actually gets there. I arrived in Miami at 8:30am where my homestay host for the weekend Iliana was waiting to pick me up. We waited around for an hour and a half for my bags then were told they didn't make it. As I was filling out my claims form my duffel bag came out on the carousel but still no bike. They told me it would be on the next flight out that arrived that afternoon at 1:30pm and would be delivered to me. By 4pm there was still no sign of the bike and no update on the website. I scrapped the plan to go out for a spin and headed over to the pool for a quick swim, then to a surprise birthday party for one of Iliana's triathlon friends. At 10pm there was still no bike and the website stated that the bag had been picked up by the delivery company at 5pm and it was out for delivery, hmmm. Saturday morning Iliana headed out early to do some training while I tried to sleep in only to have strange dreams about my bike. At 7am I called American's customer service line to inquire about my bike. Not only did they not know why the bike hadn't been delivered but they couldn't get a hold of anyone at the delivery company. Not good. The race meeting was at 1pm and bikes needed to be check-in then. Trying not to get overly excited about the whole thing I sent a quick email to the race coordinator that I might have a problem and was there any options. She phoned me right back with a reassurance that there would be any number of triathletes from the local Miami triathlon club, the Hammerheads, that would provide me with a top of the line bike for the race and she would get right on it. 10am, she calls back with the news that the bike shop sponsor for the race was going to loan me a brand new Cervelo P3 Carbon with everything I needed to race, shoes, helmet, whatever. Of course as we are talking my bike finally showed up, though I seriously considered pretending it was still missing. A quick build and we were off to the race site for the meeting and a quick swim, bike, run. The race meeting was pretty much the usual except for the non-drafting rules which since I have been racing Xterra recently and ITU before then where a little new to me and a bit confusing. It's not that the theory behind the rules were all that tough to get a handle on, but rather that the pro's had one set of rules and the age groupers a completely different set and since it was a two loop course we were all going to be riding together on our second lap. The age groupers were to stay far right, single file, and 3 bike lengths apart except to pass and they had 15sec to complete that. We were using the stagger rule and 7 bikes lengths difference between you and the rider directly in front of you (which is the second rider in front of you because of the stagger). Add the two together and things start to get pretty confusing. Add to that there technically wasn't a center line as we were riding on one side of a divided street and things got downright ugly.
My bike finally racked up and ready to race
Sunday, race morning was another early one. Race start was 7am (sunrise was 7:32am?!!!) so up at 3:45am for breakfast and off to the race. They had plenty of lights so you could see in transition but warming up was in the dark. The only cool part was they had put glow sticks on all the swim buoys so it look like we were swimming down an airport runway. It ended up being quite light by the start so no worries there. There were only 8 pro women racing and we had our own wave so it was a clean start. I was hoping to catch Sarah McLarty's feet but missed them and ended up towing Jasmine Oeinck and Joanna Zeiger around the swim course. The other four girls weren't swim specialists. Out onto the bike course the first lap was great, lots of room, no drafting issues. The second lap was a whole different story and I unfortunately felt like I spent more energy trying to figure out where I was supposed to be riding than actually pedalling. As optimistic as I was about my fitness it was also pretty obvious that I had spent far more time on my mountain bike this winter than my TT bike and quickly lost touch with the girls that I had swum with and was quickly being reeled in by the bikers behind me. Jillian Peterson, who eventually went onto win, rode by me like I was standing still. I rode into transition with fellow Canuck Cynthia Wilson and headed out onto the run in fifth place. The run was solid but I lost another place to Michelle Leblanc and finished sixth. Lucky for me they paid six deep. As I said, not a great race but certainly a solid way to start the season.
Miami style, after the race Iliana and I joined up with a bunch of her friends that had raced or volunteered and headed to the beach for some relaxing. I didn't bring my camera so once they email me pictures I will get them up. I was a good white girl and remembered to put on plenty of sun screen. Tomorrow morning it is up bright and early again for the flight back to Charlotte and drive up to Asheville. Hopefully my bike will travel with me this time.

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