Friday, April 23, 2010

Eat, Pray, Race...

And hassle the people at the front desk of the Holiday Inn. That’s pretty much the Cliff Notes version of my weekend in Mexico. When my bike didn’t arrive with me and the rest of my luggage on Friday, I was assured by the airline’s customer service that it would be put on the next plane to Monterrey and delivered to my hotel when it arrived. So, my pre-race Saturday was consumed mostly by eating, light training, a pre-race meeting, and hourly trips to the front desk to check on my bike’s status…just in case. After mid-afternoon came and went and I realized that Mexicana Airline’s customer service desk was closed on the weekends, I began to wonder if my bike even left Denver and if/when I’d see it again. Fortunately, one of the junior girls who was there racing for a qualifying spot for the Youth Olympic Games was kind enough to lend me her bike and let me make a couple of adjustments to it (thanks Jen!) so I’d at least have a bike to ride race day. At that point on Saturday evening I was resolved to the fact that if it had two wheels and moved, I could make do. But, I told the front desk that if in the rare chance that my bike did show up, they could call me at any hour whenever it arrived.

So, race day began at 1am when the front desk called to tell me that my bike had finally arrived. HOORAY! When I woke up again at 6am, I quickly put it together, made sure the brakes worked and weren’t rubbing and the gears shifted ok, switched out my cleats and pedals (from Shimano – my back up pedals to Sampson – the ones I’ve been riding), and rushed down to the race site, hoping to get to ride the bike course that I (at this point) still hadn’t seen other than on a map. However, since there was a race taking place right before ours (on the same course), I was forced to warm up elsewhere. This was a huge mistake I’ll never make again…

The race started just after 9am with a pontoon dive start into the narrow man-made canal that runs throughout the city of Monterrey(think San Antonio’s Riverwalk). Upon diving in, I immediately was punched and smacked by the girls surrounding me (as is customary in ITU racing), momentarily subluxated my shoulder, then regained my focus and continued on sprinting. After making a u-turn about a ¼ of the way through the swim, I noticed a slight gap between myself and the main pack ahead of me. The last ¾ of the swim was spent sprinting to try to close the gap between myself and that pack. However, my efforts were unsuccessful and I exited the water by myself, with a pack ahead and behind me.

So, I spent the first part of the bike time trialing to try and catch up to that pack that seemed to be just a couple of blocks ahead of me. However, after making up little time through the first ½ lap, I decided not to completely kill my legs and took some time to make sure my straps were tight on my bike shoes, take in some fluid, and wait to be swallowed up by the bike pack that was a couple seconds behind me. In addition, this was my first time seeing the bike course, so every turn was a little bit of a surprise. Like I said before, big big big mistake. Next time if my bike is lost I will run the bike course, no matter how far I’ve run earlier in the day…. Anyways, back to the race. The pack eventually caught me right before the end of the first lap and I was able to settle in right in the front third of the pack. We weren’t able to make up any time on the lead pack, however, were able to control our losses to the main chase pack and I hopped off the bike about 3 minutes off the leader.

I usually hop off the bike and think to myself, “the hard part is over, the rest is a piece of cake.” I’ve run so many 10ks in my life! But, after I hopped off my bike this past Sunday, I was having trouble getting into a good rhythm and lacked the energy I usually have. The run was a 4 lap course through Fundidora Park and very spectator-friendly. The cheering is always very helpful, especially when you are running on empty – literally. I ended the race by losing a 3-way sprint finish for 23rd place and finished up in 25th.

Despite not having the perfect race, I have so much to be thankful for in addition to having my first World Cup race under my belt. It was such a blessing that my dad was able to make this trip with me and be my cheerleader/luggage handler/bodyguard/psychotherapist when my bike didn’t arrive. Thanks to my family for being so supportive as always! And although it didn’t arrive until right before the race, I was pretty stoked to be able to race on my Sampson bike. I am in love with how smooth this bike shifts and the overall riding experience is amazing – I wouldn’t want to be racing on anything else! Now it’s time to get back to training, try to regain some speed for future races, and enjoy spring in Colorado – hope it’s as gorgeous where you are as it is out here!!

Gracias por leyendo!
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Montage for March

In the middle of March, I competed in my 2nd race of the season - the Miami International Triathlon. I had a good swim and was able to break the 20 minute barrier for the first time ever in a mile open water, but the legs were not there for the bike and run. I battled fatigue for most of the race and finished a disappointing 9th place. Although this is not at all the race I was hoping for, I must comment on what a fun course this was. Parts of the bike course were on a track (very exciting!) and a good portion of the run was on a shaded trail with a turnaround at the ocean. If you're looking for a race course that's not just out and back and flat, I highly recommend - I know I'll be back!

While I was in Florida, I had the opportunity to teach Spanish for the day at Citrus Heights Academy in Clermont, Florida. My lesson plan included Spanish holidays, the Quinceanera tradition (similar to the sweet 16 celebration in America), and formal commands as well. After the lesson, the students were able to test their knowledge through a fun game of Jeopardy.

Back in Colorado, I had the chance to hang out with my aunt, uncle, and cousin for the weekend and show them some of my bike routes around Boulder, including the always gorgeous Estes Park. Although we'd been hit pretty hard with snow a couple of days before,we were still able to access most roads in Rocky Mountain National Park and take in some amazing views!

So after a whirlwind March, I am back in Colorado training hard for my first ever World Cup which will take place on April 18th in Monterrey, Mexico. I had originally planned to attempt a doubleheader at the end of March, with a race in Ishigaki, Japan the weekend after Mexico, but ultimately decided it best to focus on this one race. I think my body will thank me for this decision a few months down the road...

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!