Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012 Season 1st half and catching up

Totally flaked on this post, but I'll finish it anyways 2 months later.
Last year put quite a beating on me, so I decided 2012 would include a bit of a break before the big push for IMNYC in August.  My girlfriend appreciates it, so we are both happy and it falls right while we were looking for an apartment together in SF, which is a harder task than you would think (thus the delays to blogging).  All the apartments we looked at had a line of people waiting.  Nearly two months of looking, and we finally found one!  The owner said she rented to us because Whitney was just "so nice, but persistent".  I think she just wanted us to stop calling her.  We'll get settled in and ready for the summer months.  Whit is happy because moving won't interrupt her summer vacation at all.  I'm sure that was the highest priority;)

Racing and training had finally all come together into May as well.  Wildflower became my early season A race as there was some disappointment in Oceanside with some mishaps and training blunders.  The ramp up and response to training was awesome over April and I could feel a good race coming on.  With a Double Mt. Diablo climb, highly place Presidio 10, hard raced Metro Tri, and amazing Lighthouse Ride, I had the confidence to go attack Wildflower Long Course.

The swim!

Finally some excitement can be had for a swim!  The past two years have brought nothing but disappointment for swimming in my races and Wildflower finally brought some joy to it.  Pushing out hard with the leaders, I had to slow a little to keep from freaking out, but then found a good rhythm, and a draft for a good portion of the race.  Exiting the water with a 30 for the first two digits was all I wanted and it finally happened.  A huge burst of energy helped me sprint up the boat ramp and out onto the bike. 

Swim time: 30:43 - 305th Overall

New helmet and all, I was pumped to be on the road with some slightly altered objectives for my bike.  The past few races, I've underperformed on the hills.  Trying to contain myself on climbs, I was going a little overboard and losing too much time.  Hitting the hills harder and leaving everything on the road was the objective, then relying on my training to have good run legs was the hope.  Wind blowing, but not as bad as last year, just the direction was worse as its angle, kept it a steady headwind out of the lake, until we made the turn off Jolon into the farmland.  Not sure how many people I managed to pick off, but it was a good race from how I was feeling.  Nasty Grade approaching, and it was HOT climbing.  Making sure things didn't fall apart, but also keeping some good pressure, all I could think about.  Climbing with and old friend who moved to LA, Ivan, was a lot of fun too.

Descending from the top of the course and into the rollers was still a task with winds picking back up.  Another top guy in my age group picked me off on Nasty, and I was hoping to reel him back in.  I knew he was a good runner, and I needed a gap to be able to have any hope of holding him off.  Stefan was also still ahead having an amazing bike.  Somehow his tiny little body puts out HUGE watts and I can't catch him.  Not knowing where I was in the race, but feeling good it was still time to push it into the Lake.

Through the gates, and down the hill, I find transition empty!  Such a great feeling being able to count the bikes in transition for who is in your age group.  A sweet P4 (naturally David Condon who is off the front and un-catchable), two others I don't recognize and Stefan's yellow Felt.  Rack the bike, shoes on and I'm off to see how my legs and heel are willing to cooperate. 

Bike time: 2:34:56 - 17th Overall - 302 Watts - Wahoo!!!!

Quickly out of the crowd I get to hear a friend Renee screaming for me.  "Stefan's got 2 minutes on you!".  Wow!  He crushed the bike, but I made up time on him in Kona, so lets see what I've got.  Feeling good along the lake and into the hills, everything feels good.  Heel holding up, not fatigued (as much as I can hope), and head ready for some damage.  All the sudden, this string bean comes blowing by on a hill that was in my age group.  I scream a bit of sarcasm and hate for the lightweight, but cheer him on for the good run.  Crap, 6th!  Time for some work.  I know I can't make up time without really hurting myself on the hills so some patience was in order.  Cresting the last big climb and into the steep trail descent at mile 6 and the legs fly! 

The run through the campgrounds was awesome.  So many people cheering and yelling, always a big push.  Climbing to the top of the pit and down I finally see Stefan climbing out.  He has some distance on me, but there is a chance.  Turnaround point and climbing out, Ritch Viola comes by and offers some encouragement as he is another lightweight, cruising up the hill and seeing the labor of me charging up.  All I can do is hope to keep the 20 yards between us as we run the final 2 miles home.  Thought of my Grandmother (funeral was the same day as Wildflower) filled my head and my energy tank and I know she was with me.  (Ritch is just a stud, making up 10 minutes on me from 2 waves back)  Coming up on the final mile downhill and I can crush it with strong legs left.  Absolutely pain in the quads from the pounding, but the legs can take it and the heel is holding up.  Finally in one of the turns I can see Stefan and he is not taking the hill as fast.  Flying to the bottom of the hill I take him, but slow to finish together.  I had the race, but Stefan has been a driving force in my training and sharing the finishing shoot was a treat.

Run Time: 1:33:21 55th Overall
Total: 4:43:44 5th AG-22nd Overall

So many emotions went into this race with recovering and managing my injuries, to my Grandmother passing and racing in her honor.  I wanted to be there for the family back East, but my father told me to stay and race.  Knowing she was watching was a godsend and I was happy to have the race of my life that day at Wildflower.
My reward!

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