Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dawn to Dusk

Off-season racing fun got rolling a week ago Saturday at the Dawn to Dusk mountain bike race hosted by DCB Adventures on the Pemberton Trail at McDowell Mountain Park just outside Fountain Hills. I jumped on the co-ed quad team Cancer Sucks with George, Jo, and Todd for this great event.  I headed up early Friday afternoon to pre-ride the course as I haven't ridden the Pemberton Trail in years and luckily was able to grab a great parking spot.  Turned out this was pretty sweet as the parking lot filled to capacity Friday night and all latecomers had to park down the road and get shuttled in.  Not ideal considering the rain started falling and temperatures plummeted during the night.  We were smart and got a good nights sleep at the Holiday Inn!!!

George lining up for the start
4:30am wake-up to rain was lovely, but George loves mountain biking in the rain and it was a mass sprint start so he got to go first!! I rode 2nd with Todd and Jo in 3rd and 4th.  The first lap was a little chilly but no rain and the trail was running nicely.  We spent the time between laps huddled in the car chatting and trying to stay warm only venturing out to cheer the next rider on or get ready to ride a lap.  The sun made a brief appearance for my 2nd lap and so inspired me to really have a great lap, one of those special, totally in the groove mountain biking moments :)  Sadly the rain came back and my 3rd and last lap was pretty sloppy.

Finishing up Lap 2 (i think)
Fun weather
Base Camp
Everyone had a great time and we won our division convincingly!!! The weather only made it that much more epic.  The drive home to Tucson after the race was probably more painful than the race itself and I definitely felt like a train wreck the next morning!!! Not sure what I am getting myself into racing 24hrs in the Old Pueblo as a duo.  Thankfully my partner in crime Katie Ellis is in great shape taking the win in the solo division.

Post-race team celebration
Since then it has been nose to the grindstone getting in some great training especially on the bike.  Spend this past Sunday out on the 24hr course for the first time and pretty excited about the race in February.  Trail is in great shape and super fun.  

This is probably it for the year as far as blogging goes so Happy Holidays and wishing everyone a terrific 2012!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Northern Californial Part II

Tuesday morning we were off on our next adventure, a trip down the coast highway to Monterey and Carmel then a day visiting the Aquarium.  I was pretty excited as the Aquarium is something I have wanted to visit for a while, surprising eh?  all those fishies and stuff ;)

The drive was spectacular and California served up another georgeous day.  We ate sandwiches on the Santa Cruz pier and rolled into Monterey an hour or so later.  Travel guide (sister) Karen had mapped out the route and we expertly found our way to the 17-mile drive through Pepple Beach.  I am so moving there (if I win the lottery or find a really rich guy to marry me).  Amazing oceans views, sea lions, sea otters, what's not to love!!! 


Pepple Beach
Pepple Beach

We indulged Dad and stopped in at the Pepple Beach club house and strolled out to the 18th fairway.  I guess if you are a golfer you can appreciate the need to do this ;)

We arrived into Carmel and caught just the last little bit of the sunset before grabbing a great Japanese Seafood dinner in town. 

Jellies at the Monterey Aquarium
Up early Wednesday morning, we weren't quite the first ones in the door of the aquarium (but close).  I was a little nervous that I would be disappointed and expecting way too much, but I was very impressed.  We started with the feeding of the sea otters, very cute, then headed over to the open sea exhibit.  The walk through the jellyfish display was impressive and watching the schooling sardines in the giant tank, well I probably could have stayed there all day mesmorized.  We moved onto the kelp forest tank which housed one of my favourites, the leopard shark.  The penguins were a bit lazy and just hung out, but I guess that's what they do most of the day.  Had tons of fun at the splashponds where you could reach in an touch some of the creatures.  I convinced a young boy to reach in and pet the Bat Ray's.  Pretty sure a future in maring biology is in his future!!  Overall very, very impressive and well worth the trip.

Thursday saw us say goodbye to the parents after a great visit while I got to stay on for a couple more days.  The weather was starting to turn a bit ugly but thankfully cleared up perfectly for the Saturday morning Studio Velo/ Purple Patch ride.  The ride was the Alpine loop with an added drop down to the coast and back along hwy 1.  The ridge road, also know as the seven sisters served up some stunning  views to go along with the seven leg burning climbs. 

Seven Sisters - Mt. Tamalpais
We wanted to head out to watch the Single-Speed Cross Worlds in the city Sunday morning but just couldn't get motivated to brave the cold wet weather.  Instead we enjoyed a leisurely morning before I headed off to the airport. 

Back in Tucson and back to work.  Getting in lots of miles on the bike and loving it.  After two weeks back on the road I decided Thanksgiving was the appropriate day to take the mountain bike out for a spin.  A bit sketchy to start out with but so exciting to be back on the trails.  Good thing because I am signed up as part of a four man team for next weekends Dawn to Dusk mountain bike race in McDowell Mountain Park.  

Hope everyone enjoyed a great Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Northern California Part I

They say broken bones take about 6 weeks to heal but mine seems to be stubborn.  Still stiff and sore, six weeks from the crash I woke up on a Sunday morning and looked at my trainer upon which I was suppose to do a long ride and just couldn't do it, so out the door I went.  It is now coming up on almost 8 weeks and the healing process continues at a painfully slow rate.  I have been getting some good rides out on the road bike but the mountain bike will have to wait until next week.  Swimming is interesting... and running is still a bit painful as I think I irritated the bursa over my hip with the hard landing and I have just attempted one short one so far.  Not overly worried as long as the healing contines at a steady pace and just looking to use November and December to log some great bike base miles.  The one advantage of not going to Maui was that I traded my ticket into a flight to San Francisco and met up with the rest of the family for my sister Karen's best friend's wedding and a week hanging out in the Bay Area. 

Me and Dad :)
Got into SF Thursday evening, picked-up the parents, and spent the night in Sausalito chez 'little fish'.  Drove up to Sonoma Friday afternoon in the rain and got my sister to the rehearsal dinner while the rest of us enjoyed a lovely Italian restaurant in town.  Saturday, like a true triathlete, I got up early and headed out on the bike for a long ride through the vineyards over to Napa and back.  I neglected to look at the elevation profile of the route I chose and while incredibly lovely, my 3hr ride turned into almost 4hrs even after cutting out a section.  I can see why 27's and compact cranks are popular here!! 

Got cleaned up just in time to get to the wedding on time only to have my sister's bridesmaids dress zipper split open unexpectantly minutes before the start of the ceremony!! Mum's to the rescue, my sister was expectly sewn into her dress, and later cut back out of it:)))  Congrats to Jenny and Dave on their beautiful wedding and future life together!!

Benziger Winery - Sonoma
Sunday we jumped in the car and headed out to do some wine tasting.  We headed over to Gundlach Bundschu first, the oldest family run winery in Sonoma.  As it was Mum's birthday we treated her (and us) to a bottle of their Vintage Reserve Cab we enjoyed later with a great dinner.  Next, in search of a more fruity selection we stopped in at Benziger.  The estate there was beautiful and showcased their organic, biodynamic, and sustainable farming methods. The wine was pretty good as well.  Picked up a nice Sauvignon Blanc and surprisingly a Port before taking the scenic route back to Sausalito.

Monday morning it was back on the bikes.  This time my sister joined me for a great ride up Mt Tam over to Stinson Beach and back on Hwy 1.  Amazing views and lots of climbing!!! Perfect way to start the week.  After a short turnaround it was back to Muir Woods and Mt Tam with the parents for a four hour hike through the giant redwoods.  Pretty sure the legs were absolute done by the end. 

Muir Woods

Mt Tamalpais State Park
Mt Tamalpais State Park
Next up we headed south along the coast road to Monterey and Carmel....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Triathlon Magazine Canada

Finally got my copy of the September/October issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.  Took a while to get it shipped all the way to Tucson ;) Nice little article, hopefully I uploaded it with enough quality to read.

This picture was taken on the second loop of the bike at Xterra Canada in Whistler BC.  If you look at my left arm you can already see the bruising from dislocating my shoulder on the first lap!! Sometimes I just don't know when to quit ;)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How NOT to ride your MTB

I have been procrastinating writing this post for about three and a half weeks now.  Don't know if it is because writing it down will truly make it a reality that I won't be competing in Maui this coming weekend at Xterra Worlds.  It's been rather hard following everyone's FB, tweets, blogs and knowing that I am missing out, especially since this year there is actually going to be a challenging swim at Fleming's beach (surf beach)

Anyways, the story goes as follows. The morning after Xterra USA after a leisurely sleep-in and departure from Snowbasin back to Park City, Emma and I loaded up the bikes and drove up Guardsman Pass to ride the Wasatch Crest Trail.  A stunning point to point trails that was suppose to find us a couple of hours later back at the house.  The weather was beautiful and trails were in great condition.  We were rolling along casually on what would be considered a non-technical trail, mostly as the name would imply along the crestline of the mountains, occasionally dropping into the trees for some switchbacks.  After the quick stop for a photo op and another for me losing my multi-tool out of my saddle bag, Emma warned me of the upcoming section called "The Spine", an exposed section of sharped ridged rocks on a steep descent.  

Day started out picture perfect

Stunning views
I had full intentions of at least stopping at the top and making an informed decision as to how or if to ride this sections but caught a bit off guard I found myself already dropped in before realizing it.  Not just dropped in but dropped in and way off-line.  A moment of panic had me hit my brakes hard, big mistake, lock up the tires, slide uncontrollably, and finally hit the ground HARD.  Because the terrain was so jagged I didn't slide at all, good because I didn't launch myself over the edge, bad because instead of some road rash and bruises I sustained structural damage.  

"The Spine"

Why I should have gotten off and walked
A quick look at my elbow showed a seriously nasty cut already gushing blood which obviously was going to require some medical attention.  Too bad we were about as far away from any access off the mountain as we could get and without a medical kit.  Lucky for me the rider right behind me had a band-aid and handkerchief we managed to work into a tourniquet with the help of Emma's hair elastic.  We then proceed to inch our way down towards the top of The Canyons ski resort.  After the shock and adrenaline wore off a bit the pain really started and I did have a couple moments of thinking I am not going to make it down on my own.  I also was pretty sure that this much pain was not being caused solely by the cut and I had likely done much worse damage.  After some seriously sketchy downhill hike-a-bike we came across one of the resort trail builders and he graciously offered to drive us down to the top of the gondola then were met at the bottom by Emma's neighbour waiting to drive me to the Urgent Care.

The aftermath
To make a long story short, the urgent care facility took xrays but couldn't really tell whether my elbow was broken or not then proceeded to stitch up the cut with, what I found out 3 days later, rocks and dirt still lodged inside.  I drove home Monday with the help of some Vicodin and got in to see JT at Southwest Hand Orthopedic Wednesday with a fully infected elbow.  Friends in high places are always important :)  Back later that afternoon, got the cut all cleaned out, stitched up, and casted. Diagnosis - slight avulsion fracture and torn triceps tendon = no racing Xterra Worlds.

So after three weeks, the cut is pretty much all healed up and the cast is off.  I'm allowed to move my elbow to  keep it from completely locking up, though it is still pretty stiff and sore, but no pressure or resistance for a couple more weeks.  Crawled into a tub of chocolate ice cream (a couple actually) for the first two weeks but have started back running and riding the trainer to keep my sanity.  Already planning the next adventures and will be back at it in no time.   Not the way I wanted to end the season, but what can you do?

Best of luck to everyone racing in Maui Sunday, wish I was there...... next year :)))

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Xterra USA Nationals

The Xterra USA National Championships was held for the 3rd time at Snowbasin Ski Resort, just outside Ogden Utah.  This race, on top of being the championship race, was the "must score" sixth race in the Xterra USA series.  The other 5 scoring races were your best 5 of the 6 regional championship races.  I had just squeaked onto the podium taking 5th at last years race, also finishing up the series in 5th, and was looking to better that placing and hold onto my 3rd overall ranking in the series.  Mel and Shonny with their amazing racing and consistency had put the top 2 spots in the series out of reach.  With the altitude (5,000 to 8,000ft) and lots of climbing and me being a lowlander and one of the larger athletes at 5'10 this course would not be considered one that suits me.  However I had managed to work in a 2 week training camp in Park City prior to the race to adapt and now living in Tucson had Mt Lemmon to work on the climbing skills and so was feeling pretty good going in.  I knew my running was still a little behind where I wanted it with the time off due to injury before the HyVee race but it was coming around nicely and, well, I would just have to Canada UP!!!

All smiles setting up T-1
Emma, Mel, Mical and I rented a condo Lakeside, another edition of the Villa of Fast Chicks, right near the swim start so race morning was a breeze even with two separate transition areas.  We were expecting a media frenzy with Lance Armstrong in attendance and weren't disappointed, thankfully they seemed absorbed with everything he was doing and had little effect on anyone else's pre-race rituals.  The only issued ended up being three times as many boats, kayaks, jet-skis, etc that made the already difficult buoy sighting with the sun directly in our eyes downright impossible.

Beautiful morning at the Swim Start
The weather shaped up to be beautiful, a little chilly warming up but guaranteed to be perfect racing weather once we got onto the course.

All ready to go!!! (me on the far left in pink cap)
The swim, except for the trouble finding the turn buoys was fairly uneventful.  Aussie Ben Allen killed it and got out of the water almost a minute ahead of the field and I tucked myself nicely into the first pack of guys for a nice draft.  I finally had a speedy T1 and was out of my wetsuit and onto the bike with a nice gap on the chasing women.

Into T-1 just ahead of one Lance Armstrong!!
The bike course starts out with a short section of pavement to get to the start of the dirt and climbing.  Up Wheeler Creek I swore I hit the rim on my rear tire going over one of the rocky sections and was desperately hoping I didn't have a leaky back tire.  I jumped off quickly at the first road crossing to double check and while it felt a little soft it didn't seem to be going flat.  Still in the lead I started up the singletrack climb hoping to keep Mel at bay until the top of the first descent.  No such luck, she passed me a bit before the top.  Even after checking my back tire I still couldn't shake the feeling that it was going flat and ended up babying the descent.    

The rest of the bike was pretty uneventful (and my back tire never did go flat!!)  I slowly got passed by the mountain goats and rolled into T2 in 6th with 7th through 9th right on my tail.  Emma caught me pretty quickly and we both slowly reeled in Shonny (who was amazingly racing with knee brace on due to a 90% tear of her ACL, she definitely gets the Canada Up award)  With all the twists and turns on the run course it was hard to tell exactly how close the race really was but in the end 5th through 9th ended up being separated by only 3 minutes or so.  I held onto 6th, unfortunately the first spot off the podium, but did keep my 3rd overall in the series.  Congrats to all the chicks out there, the depth in the women's race just keeps getting better and better.

Xterra USA Series podium 4th E Garrard, 2nd Shonny V, 1st M McQuaid, 3rd C Jeffrey, 5th S Snyder
I would love to say that I am putting in a great block of training leading up to Xterra Worlds in a couple of weeks, but that is a story for the next blog entry....

Thanks for reading and as always huge thanks to my friends and family, coach Gareth Thomas, and all the sponsors who support me; Fuji/Breezer Bikes, Rudy Project, Extreme Endurance, Champion Systems Canada, Nineteen Wetsuits, Maxxis Tires, Honeystinger.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Xterra USA Preview

Wow, look at all this blogging :))) Arrived in Park City Utah last Monday to get in two weeks up at altitude ahead of the Xterra USA Championships over at Snowbasin Resort. The weather has been fabulous except the one day that Mel and I headed over to pre-ride the course and froze, figures. But it is shaping up to be an amazing weekend of racing, just two days away now.

There has also been a ton of media buzz here for the race, largely due to the fact that one Lance Armstrong is showing up.  As such I have been lucky to have gotten some good media attention including a couple of videos, one of which was a short segment on the KSL News 5 Morning show here in Utah, and a nice mention in Sports Illustrated.  I couIdn't figure out how to embed the videos and article in my blog so I have just listed the links below along with some beautiful pics I took pre-riding the new section of the bike course yesterday!!! and my new bike;))

KSL News 5 Morning Show - Xterra USA / Snowbasin

Xterra TV fun video up at Snowbasin

Sports Illustrated - Xterra USA  Lance vs Conrad

Snowbasin Resort from the Sardine Peak Trail

New singletrack on the bike course

Pineview Reservoir (swim venue) from top of the bike course

New wheels for riding the new bike course :)))

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Colorado Fun & Pics

Wasn't inspired enough to write a race report for the Xterra Beavercreek race but here are some pics from the experience and much more fun drive home.

Xterra BC Swim Exit @ Trey Garman/Xterra
Xterra BC Bike @ Trey Garman/Xterra
The next photo is where the bike course topped out at about 9,500ft.  It is also about where my head exploded.  My legs had given out about 1000ft lower down.  

There are no pictures of me running because I wasn't actually running.  More like short spells of shuffling between longer spells of walking which is better than the "sitting down with my head between my knees to keep from passing out" that I really wanted to do.

Jenny and I at the top of Leadville 100
 The day after the race I got talked into joining Brian and Jenny Smith for a "spin" on the Leadville 100 course Jenny was going to race a couple of weeks later.  Jenny wanted to do the section from Twin Lakes up to the top of Columbine (at 12,500ft).  Famous last words "it's a fire road climb, big chain ring"  (my A$$)  the last section I was in my smallest gear, chin on my stem just trying to keep my front wheel on the ground.  I though about getting off and walking but from the other riders out there I was passing it looked just as hard or harder to walk.   Admittedly the view from the top was spectacular.  My legs however did take about 5 days to recover!!!

Enjoyed a nice open water swim with the Smith's just outside Gunnison the next day before the long drive back to Tucson.


Million Dollar Highway

Million Dollar Highway

Decided to take the scenic drive home.  Ouray is one of the coolest towns ever and has a great chocolate and coffee shop, bonus.  US 550 or the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Silverton was truly a spectacular treat and made the next 10+ hrs of NOTHING worthwhile.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

HyVee Triathlon

Hanging out here in beautiful Park City getting used to the altitude ahead of the Xterra USA Nationals next weekend and finally have some time to put together my race report for the HyVee Triathlon a couple of weekends ago.  I skipped over Xterra Beavercreek as there was really nothing to say about it.  I made it through the race but that was about it.  I did have a great ride the day after on the Leadville course with Brian and Jenny Smith, and a scenic drive home so will posts some pictures of that in the next post.  

After Beavercreek the body was done, like really really done.  I stopped in Durango for lunch on the drive home and had to use my arms to swing my legs around and host myself up out of the car.  Then I barely was able to hobble into Subway to grab a sandwich.  A week off was absolutely necessary.  Not really ideal for the timing of HyVee but there wasn't any other way.  On top of that my achilles decided it didn't like me either and forced me into four weeks on the elliptical trainer leaving me only two light weeks of running heading into the biggest money race of my life, oh well.

So arriving in Des Moines I had no idea how my race was going to go and really didn't have any expectations.  I was also looking at one of the best pro fields assembled outside a world championship event.  Admittedly a guaranteed paycheck for simply finishing the race was a bonus and as it turned out quite a few of the girls were there suffering through illness and injury for just that reason.  HyVee and 5150 certainly did not disappoint in putting together a great event, from being met at the airport and instantly shuttled to the host hotel, to the best swag bag ever.  The venue was well set up and organized and the great PR translated into a phenomenal amount of spectators and a great atmosphere on race day.  

I ended up rooming with fellow Arizonan Angi Axmann who was probably the best thing to happen to my weekend.  With my motivation and enthusiasm being a little on the low side her's certainly made up for it!! (if you know or have ever met Angi you know exactly what I am talking about :)   I also got to hang out with Xterra chick SueAnne for some extra laughs and good times.  The days before the race were pretty relaxed,  getting in a bit of training and taking lots of naps.  (isn't that what race week is for?)

At the pre-race meeting on Friday the organizers told us that the river was a little low and shallow for their liking and had asked the army corps of engineers to add about 8" of water to the section of river we were going to be swimming in (the age groupers were swimming at a lake a little ways away)  True to Murphy's law it rained most of Saturday adding a bunch more water to the river system and by Sunday morning what was once a calm, virtually current free body of water was a swiftly moving river.   Having raced the Tiszaujvaros World Cup several years ago I knew how much fun we were in for (sarcasm)  The swim was supposed to be a two loop affair but after watching the first girls to jump in for warm-up go absolutely nowhere it got changed to a three loop swim with the majority of it looping in behind the pontoon where we were protected a bit from the current.  What this meant was the first turn buoy was less than 100m from the pontoon.  30 elite triathletes in a single line headed towards a single point less than 100m away with a strong cross-current was going to get ugly.

Photo by Paul Phillips @ Competitive Image
Wearing number 19 I was decidedly right (downstream) of center on the pontoon for the start and knew I was going to get hammered.  A little out of practice with the full-contact swim starts of ITU races I was beaten up and ended up behind the lead group through the first lap and looking to make up time on the next two, but definitely ahead of the non-swimmers who were having a seriously tough time even getting through the swim.  It was officially one of the craziest swims I have ever done.  On the second lap I somehow wasn't paying attention and ran smack into the concrete bridge pillars, first time that has happened.  The tough swim did mean that we were nicely spread out going out on the bike and drafting on the 4 loop bike course was pretty much a non-issue (at least for me).  I got out of the swim just inside the top 10 and settled into the bike.

Photo by Paul Phillips @ Competitive Image
The bike like the swim (and later the run) was multi-laps, as Sara McLarty said before the race this was going to be a non-drafting ITU race.  With four laps and 17 corners per lap and a good breeze blowing it was a challenging but fun bike course.  Being used to MTB where you rarely get settled into a single pace I felt pretty comfortable with the course and was riding well.  I definitely lost a couple of spots to the stronger riders but was super happy to roll into T2 in 17th spot.  Before the race I had been thinking that against this quality of field a top 25 was realistic and anywhere from 20-25 was having a great day, now the goal was definitely inside the top 20.

Photo by Paul Phillips @ Competitive Image
I got passed pretty quickly by superstar runners Gwen Jorgensen and Radka Vodickova and was feeling just a little bit un-snappy (hmm, yep only 2 weeks of run training) but while I couldn't seem to turn my legs over any faster I also as the 4 laps ticked by was not slowing down at all and started reeling in the girls in front of me.  I moved up a spot on the last lap and was just shy of running down the next two girls to finish up in 18th.
Photo by Paul Phillips @ Competitive Image
Overall a great race and experience to be apart of.  While I was a little overwhelmed by all the racing in the front half of the season chasing the invite to this race it all seemed pretty worthwhile in the end.  Next year though I would love to come into this race with a bit more focus and see what I can do.  Will worry about that next year.  For now it is back to the dirt for Xterra USA and Xterra Worlds :))) and yes Lance is racing... bring on the circus ;)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hey look, I have a blog....

Been a bit negligent in the blogging department so will try to update likely in a couple installments.

Colorado Part I - Boulder Peak Triathlon

The Boulder Peak 5150 Triathlon and Xterra Mountain Championships in Beavercreek were the last two races to wrap up the first half of the season.  Having enough of packing up bikes and lugging them through airports I decided to make a road trip to Colorado.  Heading out Wednesday before the Peak race all loaded full of Trader Joe's goodies I made the two day drive up to Boulder with a quick overnight stay in Albuquerque.  Quite the boring drive, I vowed to take the scenic long way home.

I had never been to Boulder and was pretty excited to see what all the buzz was about this triathlon mecca and also pretty excited to be staying with Xterra friends Will and Shelby.  The flatirons are definitely pretty spectacular and I can see why so many triathletes gravitate there.  After a good nights sleep in the cooler Colorado temperatures I headed over to the famous Flatirons Athletic Club for a quick swim Thursday morning before checking out the bike course with Will and Guilherme.  I had been told about Old Stage hill but I guess never really paid much attention or asked any questions and was a bit surprise to learn it was about 18% in some sections.  I thankfully had a 25 cassette instead of a 23 on my bike and didn't have to go scurrying around trying to swap it out the day before the race.  Really I would have been happier on a 27 but decided to just make due with what I had. 

Saturday was the usual pre-race stuff, light workouts, pro-meeting....  I was feeling pretty good considering the altitude and was pretty relaxed and excited about race day. 

The pro's once again had a separate wave start after the amateurs so it was a nice leisurely 9am start time.  Boulder reservoir was hopping with excitement by the time I got there and Barry Siff was on the mic doing his thing!!!  The pro race was a chase format with the women getting about a 15min head start and everyone racing to the finish with a bonus for the first overall across the line.  I wasn't really concerned about that as realistically I was looking simply for a good enough finish to get me in the top 20 in the 5150 series to get my invite to the Hy-Vee race, being in the money would just be bonus but the field was super strong and full of altitude dwellers. 

Gun went off and I knew I was in trouble right from the start.  Being a swimmer for most of my life I am usually as comfortable in the water as on land, but I had a moment about 100m into the race where I wondered whether I might actually drowned.  Not sure if it was altitude related but I felt almost paralyzed without the strength to stay above the water never mind swim.  I think I did a few breaststrokes and moved myself away from any failing arms into clear water to try and regroup.  I took me until the halfway turnaround before being able to settle into a decent pace and get my head back in the race.  Lost a bit of time to the leaders and finally got out of the water in about 6th, 20secs or so behind the leaders.  I have never been so happy to get out of swim leg in my life. 

Started the bike pretty conservatively riding right with Kristen Peterson. Since Old Stage was very early on in the bike, I figured I would get up and over it just riding my pace then see what the legs and lungs could do from there.  Lost touch with Kristen and a flying Nik Butterfield over the top and rode the rest of the bike solo in 8th, feeling pretty good but really not knowing how close the rest of the field was behind me.  Got into T2 just being caught by a group of 4 and headed out onto the run with fellow Arizonan Angie Axmann.  Previewing the run it looked to be a relatively flat 3 loop out and back.  Reality strangely turned out to be much different.  I think the altitude, lack of training due to over-racing and a nagging Achilles niggle had finally caught up with me and I really struggled to hold the rather pedestrian pace I was running at until the end.  Finished up in 9th and hoped that it would earn me the points I needed for a top 20.

After a quick post-race ice bath in the flood level Boulder Creek I sat down and re-added up the points and found myself sitting in the rather depressing 21st spot in the 5150 series.  With only the top 20 making the first cut and another 5 being added after the New York Tri, it looked like I was going to have to just sit and wait and hope that less than 5 people passed me at the last race.  There was no way I was going to add another race into my schedule, I could barely walk the Monday morning after the race and was seriously considering making the Xterra Beavercreek an aqua-bike.  I was already up in Colorado or I would have skipped the race altogether.  To jump ahead a little in the timeline, it turned out that someone in front of me passed on their spot and I got my invite without having to worry about the NYC Tri. 

Packed-up my stuff after a quick spin Monday morning and headed down to Colorado Springs for the day to drop off my bike at SRM (stupid power meter) and spend the evening with Tracy Thelen and hubby before headed UPPPP to Beaver creek.......