The Storrie Lake Triathlon is such a cool race. The course is fantastic and the organization is superb. It is definitely one of the best races around and at the top of the heap as far as New Mexico is concerned. In my opinion, anything that is produced by Chasing3 is going to be one of the best races we have. Just as a side-note, I'll rank my favorite local triathlons like this:
|Race Director, Angie Kandalaft (owner of Chasing3) putting on one hell of a great race!!!|
1. Storrie Lake, Cochiti Lake, Elephant Man, XTERRA Four Corners (tie) [all open water, great courses]
2. Milkman, Dam It Man, Bottomless F-1 (tie) [all short distance with great open water and great courses]
3. Socorro Chile Harvest (great course, outdoor pool swim)
4. Billy the Kid Tombstone Olympic (needs some improvements, but lots of potential), Grady Williams in Farmington (now cancelled, was a cool race)
5. Patriot Tri & Candyman (sort-of repeat races at the Rio Rancho pool, but well-organized with great courses)
6. Spring Fling (yet another pool swim at Rio Rancho, good for an early season tune-up, but you have to watch out for traffic on the bike course...some improvement needed there) & Jay Benson (kind of a boring course and lots of trouble with the base, etc.; this one is a must for an early-season tune-up with it being the Abq World Championships. It's also very well organized and promoted by my sponsor, Sport Systems)
Sorry, that was a long side-note. I just wanted to give some perspective on how great the Storrie Lake Triathlon is. And another early apology here...I'm going to vent about my less than expected result in every painful detail (as Dina describes it).
This year, as in many years previous, the water level was low. It was VERY low this year, but just fine for putting on a race in the 2-loop format of 750 meters per lap, which I quite like. The bike course is fantastic, but unfortunately the DOT put in those huge drunk strips that causes some issues here and there. At race speed, I just have to ride in the lane because of space issues passing other riders, etc. It works out well most of the time, but I did get crowded and honked at by a big truck right at the sprint race turn-around. The run course is so cool with a mix of quiet back roads, some dirt roads that are scenic, and a challenging section coming back to the finish along Hwy 518, which is also scenic. It is a great venue for a triathlon. Add in the nice camping at a well-kept state park and you have everything you can ask for.
|Looking out over Storrie Lake from T1, with boat ramp exit in the foreground. It's a pretty setting for a lake.|
|At last year's race: Bear, club prez Bill Dunn, Timo|
I had high hopes for this race, as I have been feeling great and training pretty well, or at least as much as my life allows these days. Unfortunately, Mila got very sick the week prior, as did Dina and so things started to get a little messy around the house. We bailed on our original plan to take the camper and make it a family camping trip, so I had to go solo, which isn't as much fun as it used to be, especially when Mila was so upset and Dina was very tired when I left on Saturday. That made it hard to leave.
I was lucky to hook up with my buddy, Keven Kandalaft in Las Vegas, and we scoped things out with a couple of his buddies from Boulder. One of his friends is a wicked fast swimmer and was the first out of the water for the swim prime.
On to my own race: race start was an early 7am, so Kevin and I got up at 4am to get breakfast down and get out to the lake and get set up and warmed up with time to spare. It was all so easy and I was very ready to go with even some time to fiddle with the brakes on my new Felt DA. It's a great bike, but it's a little tight with the brakes under the stays.
Normally, I would have been so amped up and ready to go, but I was feeling a little lethargic. That is not normal for me on race mornings but I ignored it and did everything I could to get my mind on the game. I went and got a good swim warm up, but just didn't feel spunky. We meddled around a bit for the timers to get set and for the kayakers to get into the water and in that time I felt a wave of something "not quite right" but didn't know what it was exactly.
|Last year's swim start|
|The women's wave starting in the 2011 race|
Out on the bike, I messed around WAY too long with my shoes, and Kristin Moriarty had to ask me if everything was all right as I left T1 just ahead and she had to get around me messing around. I finally got them on and barely could get past her for the longest time. I watched as my main competition, Randy Arriola, pulled away from me with some authority. It was not a good feeling and it only seemingly got worse until I just finally got angry with the situation and went all-out over the first climb in a do-or-die attempt to jump start my body. I had hoped that I was just "blocked up" and needed to blow it out of my system to get going, but the weak feeling never really subsided. It did get a little better once I got some recovery on the descent into the Sapello valley, and I motored with everything I had up that long, gradual hill to the turn around. Things didn't seem too out of hand when I saw both Randy and Rance Irvin at the turnaround, only about a minute and some change ahead of me. I figured if I could find my legs on the way back, I might have a chance if I could also keep things on the mend in the run.
But, there was no miracle to had on that day. I did gain a little time back on Randy on the return, coming in less than a minute behind him at T2 (which I suppose is a miracle considering how I was feeling). Rance flatted just ahead of me, so that variable was taken out of the equation. He has not been running his best this season with some sort of foot problem, so I had figured I had a chance to catch him if my run held up. Randy runs well, so with him able to kick my butt on the bike, I figured he was really gonna give me hell on the run.
|Since Dina can't race this season, I thought it would be nice to add her to the blog. Here she is leaving T1 at the 2011 race|
Coming into T2, Randy was just about leaving and was about 30+ seconds up on me. I tried to hustle through, but I realized I was in trouble when all my muscles were cramping while trying to put on my shoes. I sucked it up after taking a few extra seconds to stand straight up and grab my abdominal muscles that had seized up on me (and are still sore right now) in order to make one last big attempt at bending down to get my other shoe on. Once my shoes were on, I hobbled out of T2 and did my best to find a quick rhythm.
I did manage to relax and find a comfort zone for a while, the problem was that it was slow and I just didn't have anything more to give. I just locked into that and focused on doing everything as efficiently as possible. Again, I could barely take anything at the aid stations, yet I was dehydrating rapidly and knew I needed fluids, so I mainly just threw water on myself and used it to re-hydrate my lips. At one point, I just decided to turn my mind off to the situation and see how far that got me before I started thinking about the situation getting more critical.
Somewhere at the far end of the run course, I was feeling downright ill. I wanted to quit, but there was nowhere to quit. I would have just died out in the middle of nowhere so I kept on going...plus I was miraculously still in 2nd. I looked down and realized I wasn't moving that slowly and that I had a long way to go before I was walking, so I kept it up. I managed to make it to with about 1/4 of a mile before a hard-charging Richard Sena came flying by me. Needless to say, I had no response and that final 400 meters felt like an eternity!
I was bummed about the whole thing, but really, I'm also a little amazed that I ended up 3rd. I had a feeling that I had been getting stronger and should have been quite good, but something caught up to me right during the race and knocked me down a few notches. I was pretty ill afterward and just did what I could to get myself home and to take a nap. I was sick all through the night but slept well anyway. I still felt crummy today too, but another long nap has helped. I'm gonna rest for a couple of more days before doing any light training. It'll also help me get caught up on some things, so it's not all bad.
The cool thing was to log on today and see how everyone did in their IM and 70.3 races. Congratulations to all of you who did those events!!!
Again, sorry for all the gory details.