Well another weekend race in the books and this was more time well spent on the trail and not short on the learning lessons... We signed up for this race just a week or so ago and were we going into it with some serious training lag behind us but it was suppose to be just a "tune up" race anyways. . . Its funny how that all changes when the gun goes off however....
Bonelli Park Off Road triathlon action with a half mile swim, 15 miles on the mountain bike and a hilly 3 mile trial run to round things out. Monique and I knew the park well and have done a few races here before on the road but we were in for a welcomed surprise to find new trails and and challenge in a race just down the street from her parents house.
This was the second year for the off road triathlon and with the recent rain the trails were packed, fast and full of green around every corner. The cloudy morning helped ensure the perfect temperature for a race and we were in high spirits as we started a warmup for the day. Familiar faces started to make their way into the transition and it was a "at home" relaxing feeling mixing with the excitement of seeing some old friends. I guess it is that "home field" advantage but it made for a cheerful warmup.
The water was perfect. I wanted to swim and it was calm, no current, no freezing face, no rush. I really didnt care about the race or pushing myself to puke levels and it helped to have a long slow warmup. I usually do maybe a 100yds to warmup in the swim but this time I swam about a 400-600 yards. Short speed strokes, long easy, turning around the buoy... A real warm up and I felt great. I gotta remember that for the future. I think I need longer warm ups and with my bike it was about 1 hour total before race start.
My swim was solid. I got clean water the entire way and for the fist time I didn't fade towards the end of the swim. Getting past the minimum distances in the pool has paid off... I felt power until the last stroke and exited out of the water with the lead pack.
Just when I though I was relaxed and having a good "training race" the reality of my competitiveness and my laziness hit me... Out of transition and on to my bike I realize my back tire is flat. CRAP!!!! I cannot stop now! I am not going to give up this position! I thought I didn't care about this race?? In the span of one second I went through a plethora of emotions and thoughts that I just cannot describe... You probably don't/shouldn't hear them anyways ;-)
The compulsion to move forward had me forgo a pump and attempt the first lap with a flat. I did not have a "spare" on me, pump on me or in the transition and I was too caught up to go back. It was not totally flat and I could get by with a squish back tire for a bit I thought...Not smart.
I was floating around this way and that, ping ponging my rim off of rocks, sliding out, crashing and loosing countless time. So lame. Things in perspective I agreed to go back to my car between laps and finish the race safely. That first lap was long.... Between laps I go back to T1, grab my keys, get to my truck and pump that baby up to 50psi for insurance against the slow leak... I knew about the slow leak for weeks and even bought a new tire yesterday but was trying to rely on the no-tubes fix instead of changing the tire. Ahhgg.. Lesson learned. The second lap felt SOOO fast. Screaming up, down confident turns. Tire pressure ROCKS!! ; -)
On to the run and I was somewhat more "rested" than I normally am after the bike. Maybe I go out to hard on the bike in race? Great perspectives gained from this race... I knew the run had some nasty climbs so I waited and attacked when I knew it was right. I felt solid and strong on the climbs and started passing people again. No pressure of being run down or setting some specific time I was free to focus on form, cadence and all the stuff I should be focusing on. I felt like I could run for days and ran to the finish at a comfortable pace. I needed that... Fun race finish-no pressure.
I chatted it up a bit at the finish line aand then grabbed the camera and started running the bike course in reverse to take some snaps of Monique. She was powering around the course with a bloody elbow from taking a slam around one of the turns but it was not stopping her. Go girl go!
The race crew at Renegade had their own share of problems too so results, awards and all the good stuff was canceled after the race but we got to talk to some friends and get monique all fixed up before a retreat to Moniques parents for a feasting all night. Good times, good folks and good trails. What else can you ask for?