1st place Female Pro
I left 10 days before the race and got there 9 days beforehand. This gives me enough time to make sure my bike is in working order and not lost by the airlines, time to adjust to the time zone, and time to get oriented with my surroundings. The goodbyes to my family seem to get tougher and tougher each time; I thought it would be the other way around.
Scott arrived in Alcudia around 2:30 and we went to work getting my bike ready to check-in (putting my Qbox back on and replacing worn-out aero pads). After a fail the first time, we got it right and checked my bike in with 15 minutes to spare. We covered my bike with trash bags Miquel got us since it was supposed to rain that night. We went home to relax and got Scott some dinner on the beach while I ate chicken and rice. It was early bedtime for me at 8:00pm so I could wake up nice and early race morning. I woke up once in the middle of the night but went right back to sleep and was supposed to wake up at 4:00am but ended up sleeping in until 4:45.
I ate my breakfast of applesauce, whey protein, a banana and some XRCEL! We got ready to go out and said a prayer for safety for me and the competitors as well as my back, arm, hip, and foot to be ok during the race.
I got to transition around 5:45am and started with a checklist of things I have developed to make sure I don’t miss anything. Each race also has some other things added depending on what it is. This race I had to get things squared away with my Qbox. My other things are: zero my power meter, pump tires, check that the brakes aren’t rubbing, make sure I’m in a good gear for leaving transition, put my nutrition/salt on the bike, and clip my shoes on the bike. I always put orange duct tape on my transition bags so I know which one is mine (especially on the handles). I was just getting done with my run transition bag when two men came and told me I couldn’t do that and had to take the tape off. I was bummed because even though it makes me look like an amateur, it really helps me spot my bag.
We were sent off with a beach start and started running in. It stays shallow for a while so there was a mixture of people running in, porpoising, and just walking through the water. My original plan was to run/trot in, but it spikes your heart rate a lot so I ended up walking behind the other women, running, swimming, and porpoising. This kept my heart rate low but still allowed me to stayed with them. There were only 13-14 of us so it didn’t get very physical. I generally just try to stay out of the physical part of starts anyway because I feel like it uses extra energy that you don’t need to on a long race day. Being 1-2 feet to the other side of the buoy really doesn’t make a huge difference for the first buoy or two.
It was great coming out of the water not feeling spent at all! It was a fairly long transition but I was able to get through it pretty quick for me. Natasha Schmitt beat me out of transition so I should have surged to get on her and legally draft, but didn’t try hard enough.
Theme Song: Hall of Fame
I decided to put in a little effort the first part to catch up to Natasha Schmitt, but she was with some men so there was little hope of me getting up to her. I figured there would be other pro men who would come by as well as age group men since the start times were so close together (7:30-pro men, 7:32- pro women 7:37- age-groupers). Not too long later a pro came by and I legally jumped in behind him. He was going the perfect speed for me as well! I passed a fellow female pro around 30 minutes in but around 45minutes in I shifted and my chain got lodged between my bike and chain ring. I think this was user error and not an issue with the bike because I downshifted climbing a hill when the strain on the chain was very high. I haven’t had an issue with this before, but I should avoid doing it in the future. I jumped off my bike and tried to wrestle it free as my free ride went on L. I was having flashbacks to IM Malaysia where this also happened. This has NEVER happened in workouts, only these two races. I called out to a motorcycle driving by “Ayuada me Ayuada me!” They said they couldn’t but they would call. I kept wrestling with it and eventually got it out along with two cuts on my hands. The pro woman that I had previously passed along with a bunch of age group men had gone by during this time. I hopped back on my bike and went on my way. It was a pretty lonely 30k until I had a guy pass me. I was going to go with him when another guy passed me. This went on for about 4-5 guys then I went with them.
The first loop is fun since there are lots of longer ups and downs. You go through a little town named Muro where it gets not as fun since the roads are pretty bad for a little while combined with the steepest descent and 50 meters later steepest climb of the course. I was riding fairly fast down a hill when I hit a big bump. My bars went almost straight down and somehow I didn’t. I did, however, lose my salt and two gels. I somehow didn’t go down myself and managed to pull my bars back up, even if a little too high. I lost the people I was riding with again but put in a little surge and caught back up.
Scott told me to just trust God and let him direct me and all would be ok. I normally would have freaked out that what felt like half the field had passed me, but with his advice I was happy that I made it down safe and was still in 3rd. I heard that that woman who had passed me made up 6-7 minutes on that descent. 20ish km later I saw Scott and the top two women who were only two minutes ahead.
The plan was to make my last 28 miles have the highest heart rate of the whole bike. This plan was soon shattered when it started raining like a good Texas summer rain storm. There are ditches on the sides of the road that are 4-5ft deep that were turned into rivers. The water flowed over the road and in places, was deeper than the depth of my back wheel. The lightning and thunder were concurrent and on top of us. It was by far the worst weather I have ever biked in.
Theme song: Don’t Let Me Down
The run course is a 4.5 loop course that really is more like 4.75 loops. I had the 2nd place bike escort with me, which is the 3rd time I’ve had an escort coming out of transition. I will never get tired of the feeling I get seeing the person waiting outside transition for me.
I didn’t grab enough nutrition at the last aid station three miles before the finish and that’s when I just started counting my steps. I would count 100 steps with my right foot and then 100 with my left. I told myself I had to do that five times each foot before I could look at a km marker. You have to play those games with yourself. At about 2 km, I knew I had the race and eased up slightly just because I didn’t want to “let me down” and have a repeat of passing out.
We headed home and relaxed for a bit before going back to the “hero hour” which is from 11:00 to midnight. It was fun to hand out medals and dance in the finishing chute while the last people finished.
This was a truly amazing experience but I also know that the competition here, while great, wasn’t anything compared to what I want to go against and best in future races. I will enjoy this experience and appreciate it while also knowing that there is more fitness to be gained, more strategy to appreciate, and much, much more to learn and experience before I can accomplish all the goals I have in this sport! It was one of the many stepping-stones I need to be able to get where I want in this sport!
· Get my power meter working/get a new one.
· Traveling with Scissors- so, so many times I’ve needed them!
· Travel with a small first aid kit- why I don’t do this when I hurt myself so much is beyond me!
· Travel with a small tape measure to double check bike measurements
· Get a sponsor shirt to wear to press conferences
· Travel with two large garbage bags to cover your bike in case of rain.
· Travel with your bike seat and pedals and shoes in case your bike gets lost
· Learn how to do a flying mount to get on my bike quicker and not get left in the dust
· Prep like I have to leave for a race 1 week before I have to leave- to realize what I need to go buy
· Flying the day or two after a race
· Crash 3 days before the race
· Visualize the PERFECT race happening at least 15 times before race day
· Sunscreen before the race AND in T2
· Know all the baggage rules for your flights- I was able to coherently discuss the fact that I didn’t have to pay for my bike because of my research before.
· Know the custom regulations for the country you are going to so you know what you can take- Spain=Almost anything, New Zealand=almost nothing