Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Race Report: Santa Barbara Triathlon

For those who want the quick 'n dirty version, here you go. Scroll down for the full read:

Place: 13/33 in my AG

Swim: 30:50 (1:45/100 yd)
T1: 2:54
Bike: 2:00:15 (16.9 mph)
T2: 1:56
Run: 1:20:31 (8:03 min/mile)

Swim was good, run was good, what happened on the bike? Well, I thought the worst was over after last weekend when my handlebars started falling off (on the new sled!) during the Tour of Napa Valley. Nope, this time one of the screws that holds the back wheel in alignment and keeps it from rubbing against the cutout in the frame had come out and began to cause the wheel to rub against the frame. I actually muscled through most of the ride (slowed down nonetheless) until I had about a 10 minute delay trying to fix it when it was really bad. Made the best of this craziness by saying I would have the best run ever and was determined to run 8 min miles. So I did. :)

Thanks everybody, for the support and the inquiries today. :) I really appreciate all of the support!

Luly - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for driving! Great job with your race and congrats on feeling so great during the whole thing.

I had so much fun in SB with Heather and Luly!!
Full Report follows below...

13/33 was...well...much less than I expected.
Jim's theory was right...the bike...incredibly unSarah-like...glad my bike buddies me so well! Indeed, something went wrong but on the flip side...to manage 17 mph with your rear wheel rubbing against the cutout in your frame (Brian's words from last weekend still haunt me: "LOOK AT THE CLEARANCE ON THAT THING! IT'S SO CLOSE!") and not notice it really until the end...well I'm a lot stronger than I ever realized.

Pre-race - everything seems great. Excited. Water - cold. Very cold. Have to pee but I'll go when I swim.

Swim: Running start. Woo hoo! Put myself at the front and stay there. Damn I'm swimming fast! Still have to pee! Can't pee! Maybe if I stop moving my legs for a moment...nope. Oh well, keep swimming. Water not so cold once I actually got into it. Getting close to buoy to turn into beach. Passing LOTS of people. Sweet! Okay, but I have to pee. Go now. Finally...ahhh...warm! Hee hee he. Anyway....

T1: AWESOME! 30 MINUTES! Sure, could be a tad faster but in the open ocean - I'll take it. I think it's faster than last year for sure. Here we go - just me and my sweet ride! I CAN'T WAIT!!! Stupid wetsuit...can't...get...it..
.off...arrrgh! Finally...shoes on. Helmet. Spare tube. Sunglasses. Gloves not going on...fingers won't bend...okay.

Bike: Off we go. WHOOOOOOOOSH blowing past people. Me and my Cervelo everybody, now you see us, now you don't. Legs feeling a little heavy. Just spin it out, Sarah. Spin. Right leg muscle that connects to groin is kind of sore. Ugh. Keep moving! HR feels high. Deep breaths. Hitting some bumps in the road, and my bike makes a different noise than the old one did. Still, everything seems fine.

First little hill...spin up it. Still breathing hard and not feeling like I'm going as fast as I should be. Ugh. God, come ON LEGS, START TO WORK!!! Maybe winning that 12K run last weekend wasn't the best idea.Whatever.

Hill comes and goes, try to take it away on the flat. But...this doesn't feel flat. It LOOKS flat. Still feel like...kind of heavy. WHY DOESN'T THIS FEEL LIKE SILVERADO TRAIL DID LAST WEEKEND?

I'm stronger than this. WTF? Still, mostly passing people on the flats. But I feel like I should be passing more people.

Second hill. Bigger this time. I remember this one. Stand up. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!! Loud screech noise comes from my bike. WTF? Sit down, pedal, stand up...RRRRRRRR!! Sh**. Don't tell me it's the rear wheel. Hop off my bike. Some dude yells "You're okay, the hill's just steep!" I think to myself "Thanks for the help, but I'm not wondering if my tire is flat, buddy." Spin the back wheel. While it doesn't come to a stop, I can see that there is a very slight rub between the tire and the cutout in the frame. Well isn't this nice?

30 precious seconds have gone by and so have a number of riders. Make a decision. Spin it again. Not bad. It's not slowing the wheel down very much at all. I'm strong. I'll deal. Get back on and go.

I ride up the hill, down the hill, descend like the speedy descender I am, and pass the next 20 miles or so with no problems, except that I just can't help but know that I could be going faster if it weren't for that wheel creating some friction against the frame. *sigh* Oh well. I'm still determined to come in around 1:45. I've lost some time but I can still salvage this.

About 5 miles to go, last big hill. This one's the longest. It gets steep so I stand up. That loud screeching noise? This time it's loud and more like fingernails down a chalkboard: RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! *shiver* Sit down. Spin it out. Still - RRRRRRRR! Even sitting down? GOD DAM***T!!! People around me shudder. I attempt to just muscle through it. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Ewww, I can't do this. Man. It's SO loud. People around me cringe just as much as I do. How can I climb this with the wheel doing this? Geez. Get off the bike again. Across the way I hear "you okay?" I look across the street and it's some dude with his hat backwards sitting at a driveway. If it's SAG support...this could be good.

Sure enough, dude is from Hazards, the local bike store that is helping out with SAG support in the race. "It sounds like your brakes" he says. "Don't I wish!" I exclaim. "It's the rear wheel rubbing against the frame."

He doesn't have his tools with him but we fiddle. Minutes pass. So do more riders.

I attempt to get on and go back up the hill twice (second time some @$$hole is yelling at me to get out of his way as my wheel continues to shriek loudly...as you may or may not know, I don't take that kind of garbage and I gave him a mouthful back). No luck.

Dude starts to take my wheel off and sees the culprit: one of the screws that holds the wheel so perfectly in place is missing! "I don't think we can fix this. You need that screw," he says. Three big letters appear in my head: D N F. "We can give you a ride back."

"No! Maybe if we pull the wheel out enough and tighten it really tight - that might work!" I say quickly, not letting the lump in my throat get any worse. No DNF! NO!

"Yeah but your frame is carbon and I don't want to crack your frame," Dude says.

"Let's just try." So we do. We pull it out almost to the point the wheel is coming out of the frame sockets and make it really, really tight. Spin the wheel. SWEET! It works!

I look at my watch. Oh, lordy. Another 10 minutes or so, all lost. But I'm SO happy to get back in it. I give Dude my biggest smile and tell him just how grateful I am. "Thanks so much, man. You SAVED MY RACE!" I hop on and off I go.

Between the rest my legs just got and not having anything in the wheel's way - I zoom away. Up, up up the hill, down and back into the flats. Going so fast I make a wrong turn! Ride about 50 yards and say "this isn't the way to go! I want to go the other way!" I laugh and turn around. Just isn't my day on the bike, is it?

As I re-focus on my finishing the bike, I smile. I mean, since when I could I actually laugh at something like this? But whatever! Yeah, had an awesome swim. Just didn't have my day today on this bike. Better here than Big Kahuna. Let's learn these lessons now.

Zooming back home, I wish there WERE another 20 miles. My legs feel fast and so does my bike; suddenly I remember what it felt like to ride last weekend in Napa. Dang! Time to focus on the run, though. Not sure about my nutrition on the bike. Could've been better but I think it's enough.

T2: Up you go, bike! Running shoes on! 1 Clif Shot Block down! Helmet down and grab the hat. I'm out of the gate!

Run: Let's turn lemons into lemonade. Dam**t, this is going to be my best run ever. 8 MINUTE MILES, SARAH! ALL THE WAY, GIRL!

My Goal: 8 minute miles and pick off as many people as possible. Use your strength. Use your breath. Go, go GO!

I start out quickly - 1st mile: 7:32. Nice, but doubt I'll hold that. Let's go more reasonable. 8 minutes. 2nd mile: 8:30. Too slow. 3rd mile has a hill, so if I can hold 8:30 on that, I'm good. Stop at each aid station and take some Gatorade.

I feel strong and well-hydrated. I can do this. I WILL DO THIS!

The rest is somewhat, err...uneventful. With each step I breeze by more people. Each stride is a powerful push, and I run with a proud posture. No slumps. By mile 8, I've passed about 6 or 7 women in my age group. Pace with a guy from L.A. Tri for the last two miles and we sprint down the chute together. High five! "Nice pace!" I say. "Thanks for pushing me," he says. Teamwork!

Sure enough, running pace: 8:03. I really did it! Fastest 10 mile run in a race!

Final thoughts: So, wasn't my day on the bike. Not my fault in any way. Later heard from a fellow Lombardi teammate whose wife has a P3 and her rear wheel locked up so bad one time it stopped the bike and she went flying. In the way that Chris and David felt lucky last weekend, so did I. It could've been far worse.

I'll get the bike straightened out. Good to know about this now. In the meantime, what a race I had! Awesome swim - 3 minutes better than last year! Awesome run - 3 minutes better than last year! I basically said "I'm doing this" and I did it. I really believe in the power of our minds and positive thought. If you say you can, you will. It's really that simple.

I got a 6 pack of beer for the guys at Hazards. If it weren't for them, there would've been a big ol' DNF next to my name instead of a 13/33.

In the end - I had an awesome time in a beautiful place, pushed myself as much as I could and learned more about myself. I still won.

1 comment:

Cristi said...

Nice job, KILLER!!Glad you enjoyed the race despite the bike problems. Great run! Way to pick off the competition. Faster than my 10k at Chicago.

I wonder what you could have done if the Cervelo was rolling properly. Next time we'll see and I can't wait to hear about your success :)