Sunday, May 29, 2011
Fundraising - we did it! The last little push got us the 6 minute head start! Thank you to all those who helped us reach our goal (some of you in a very big way). A week ago if someone had said we would reach the $1500 mark we would've said 'no way'. We were sitting at $900, but we literally worked our butts off to get there and even Friday afternoon as we pre-drove the course we still had donations coming in.
Honestly, none of us thought the time bonuses were fair. We all wished that raising money was tied to something different (like awesome prizes or something) - this race IS for fun and it's main goal is to help raise money for the two charities, but the competitors in us wanted everyone on level playing ground.
That all being said, we didn't exactly feel bad about getting the head start. They had posted these 'rules' way in advance and everyone had the opportunity to take advantage of it. We actually figured more teams would've gotten the big time bonus. In the end, most were at a 2 minute head start; there were only 3 teams that had the 6 minute time bonus. Both of the teams that beat us last year would be starting 4 minutes behind us.
This was huge because the team that won last year beat us by about 4:45, BUT the bike was a bit shorter this year. 2nd place was about 30 seconds in front of us last year and again, since their cyclist is a total stud, we thought the shorter bike would work to our advantage. The 2nd place team also had a relay member that wasn't super fast so that worked into our strategy.
Until we found out he wasn't racing - Oh no! We all shouted not very tactfully to his face (sorry about that, please don't take offense!).
No worries. We had our game faces on.
Back to the race.
It was decided for several reasons that I would do the bike this year. Brooke wouldn't be flying in until 11pm the night before, would be on a borrowed bike she wouldn't be able to ride until race morning, and wouldn't be able to pre-ride the course. This is key because the course is confusing and not always well-marked.
I don't have a road bike but borrowed Kari's (we're close to the same size) and was able to ride it a few times before the race. I was able to memorize the course and I'm pregnant. Yup, did I slip that one by you? :) 12 weeks - I was slightly worried about the heat and keeping my heart rate down while running, so the bike it was.
Race day dawns early and I think we were all so excited and nervous that none of us slept particularly well. Here I am pumping the ill-fated tires (that's called foreshadowing).
Brooke - corndog, 2 mile run, aquatic activity
Bri - 2 sweet potato tamales, bike 7.8 miles
Kari - Meatless Meatballs w/Spaghetti Squash & Vegetable Primavera, 2 mile run
Alysia - 2 lamby joes (sort of like sloppy joes), 2.3 mile run
All of us - 2 cupcakes, bread pudding, 1 loco pop, sprint to finish
The 3 teams that raised $1500 or more started. Brooke ate her corndog just slightly slower than the other two teams but caught both of them within the first 1/4 mile and never looked back. She did her aquatic activity and was then sprinting to me with raucous cheers from the crowd.
I ran to my plate and ate the 2 tamales in 1:08 (they timed me), then ran to Kari's bike before the next competitor had even come back.
I was off and then stopped at 2 stoplights feeling like such a tool just waiting for the light to change with no one around me. You are supposed to obey all traffic laws in this race - it's absolutely not closed and if you don't you can be disqualified. I have no idea if other teams actually obey them or not, but I wasn't going to risk disqualification for my team.
I twisted and turned my way through downtown before hitting another light (!) then making my way onto the American Tobacco Trail. There was a family of four right at the entrance with 2 little girls that had flags on their bikes, so I yelled that I was "coming through!" but had to slow a bit - I also hit a bump as I entered the trail - but I wasn't going that fast and didn't think anything of it.
As I was gunning it down the trail something felt off. I kept hearing a noise but wasn't sure what it was since I was on a borrowed bike. Did I have a flat? I kept looking at the back wheel but couldn't tell. Just go! You can't have a flat!
There was a hard right turn to get off the trail and I almost slid out - definitely had a flat. I'm surprised I actually stayed up right now that I think about it. I got off my bike and sure enough the back tire was completely flat. *!&@^(%
Wait. The FRONT tire is flat, too???!!!
I was stunned. TWO flat tires! What are the chances of that? I walked up the switchback trail to get off the greenway trying to figure out what I was going to do. I had no supplies - stupid, right? It wasn't something that had crossed any of our minds. It was such a short bike! Kari didn't even have a pack on the bike at all.
I just kept walking forward wondering how long it would take me to walk the entire course. I had probably only gone about 2 miles at this point. After awhile the 2nd place guy (Linus) came riding up. He asked if I had clincher or tubulars? Clinchers! I shouted. Those are the only wheels I ride, so he stopped. Yes, he actually stopped! And ran back everything he had, which was a small pump and one tube. His team went on to win and I'm definitely happy for that. Thank you so much for stopping for me!
Especially when the next 10 or so guys who went by didn't even do the courtesy yell of "are you okay?" as they flew by. Harrrumph.
I had about half of what I needed to change the tires. I'm not sure how long I walked - maybe 3/4 of a mile? After crossing a busy intersection, Team 7 stopped and asked if I needed anything. I said I needed another tube and some tire levers. He said, I've got that, and then decided to just hand me his entire pack before taking off. Score! I now had two CO2 cartridges which are much better than the the little hand pump. Have you ever used one to pump a flat tire? Takes forever and it gets very hard at the end.
A girl walking her dog stopped and said, "I don't know anything about bikes, but can I help you?" I chuckled and said, probably not." Then asked, "actually, do you have a cell phone?" She did so I called my sister who was at the race cheering and left her a message: "Shana, I have two flat tires, but I have everything I need. It might take a while but I'll get there. Tell the girls I'm sorry."
And now I get to work.
Front wheel off, tire levers shoved in under rim....dang these levers are dull. Must shove harder....need more leverage.....got it! I take the tube out and check for glass. Didn't find any. Inflate tube a tiny bit and get it around the wheel. Now comes the fun part, trying to get the tire back over the rim. Depending on the tire and rims, this can be very easy or very difficult. On race wheels it's usually pretty damn difficult and these were no different. I struggled and sweated and tried my hardest.
Now get this picture in your head. I'm on the side of the road in downtown Durham, wearing this ridiculous outfit with a thong over my bike shorts, argyle knee socks and a bow in my hair, aero helmet still on - sweating like a pig, grass, grease and dirt all over myself, and possibly leftover tamale stuck to my face.
Bloody stumped thumbs later (not really, but that's what they felt like) I finally got the tire back over the rim. Check for any pinching - looks clear. Grab the CO2 and attach to the valve...wait where's the valve? $%^^(##@! Of course, stupid! This is a deep dish race wheel and requires a long stem! This borrowed tube has a regular stem. Think think think. Oh! I remember Kari's back race wheel had an extender on it. The front was my 404 race wheel. I unscrew her extender and thread it through my rim to get it on my stem.
Now I can use the CO2. Why the heck why isn't my tire inflating?! It's then I realize that probably just putting the extender through the rim may not have worked and I'm going to have to take the tire back off, pull the tube out and THEN put the extender on. And I've now wasted 1 of the precious CO2 cartridges.
Cue mini tantrum. I throw the empty CO2 cartridge on the ground as hard as I can while screaming "SHIT!" Sorry to the few riders who rode by at that moment and had to witness that display of immaturity.
Breathe. Breathe. I take the dull tire levers and begin the process of getting part of the tire back off the rim. A minor struggle and it's free. I attach the extender. At this point, a man in a truck pulls up and asks if he can help. I think for a second and ask, "do you happen to have a bike pump?" He says, "I live two blocks away and have some there. I'll be right back."
Things are looking up. I can finish this front wheel, work on the back and then use a nice bike pump to refill the tires. I am not quitting this race. Obviously we're not going to finish anywhere near where we wanted, but we will finish!
Bloody stump thumbs later (again, not really, but close this time around!) And the tire is back on the rim.
Big breathe. One more to go.
I take the back wheel off, grab those daggum tire levers again that like to give me trouble.....and blink. No. No. Nononononononono! Kari's back wheel is a tubular.
Game over. Not only do I have no idea how to change a tubular since I don't ride them, I have nothing to change them with.
Up until this point I had held it together pretty well. But right then when I realized there was no way I was going to be able to ride this bike back to my team, that all of our fundraising and strategizing was all for nothing (well not nothing for the fundraising, but as far as our awesome head start), that Brooke had flown in from Colorado for this race, that this would be my last race of the year --- I started crying. And the poor man that went to get the pump happened to show up at this exact moment. I told him through sniffles that I couldn't use the pump because I had no way of changing the back wheel. He was a bit uncomfortable and kindly said, "Okay. Well, my daughter and I were going to go to the farmers market, so we can drop you off. I just need to run back home and get some stuff out of my truck and I'll be right back. Uhh, you get your stuff together and I'll be right back." I said thank you about 5 times.
He came back for me and dropped me off near the race site. I immediately ran into Angela (Tim was on Marty's team) and she gave me a hug. Apparently, almost everyone had heard what had happened. When Linus finished, he went over to Alysia and told her that I had two flats. She ran over to Brooke and Kari and relayed the message (I guess sort of loudly) because she said the whole crowd went, "Awwwwww!!!!" In the end, Kari and Alysia jumped back into the race so they could still participate. They all gave me hugs and told me not to be upset but I still felt horrible.
We ate our desserts and crossed the finish line together. (like the guy to the left?)
Next year it is on! Brooke promised to fly back. I promised to get back into shape post baby for Doughman. We will be back and ready to go and once again stick it to the boys!
We weren't the only ones who had bad luck (see the bad luck x2 title has a double meaning - clever, eh?). Marty's cyclist got completely lost on the bike course and ended up riding 15 miles (as opposed to 7.8!) He actually came in right when I was dropped off by the nice man - which was a REALLY long time later.
Next year has to be better!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
It's not been without challenges - they didn't tell us the food until Monday night, so we weren't able to practice like last year. One of our teammates moved to Boulder (don't worry, she is flying in Friday night). And we had a frenzy of emails yesterday trying to determine who was doing which leg. Our vegetarian even offered to eat meat for the race if necessary. That's how serious we all are.
The other wrench is this year they have time bonuses for the amount of money raised. 1 minute, 2 minute and 6 minute headstarts! We've raised enough for the 2 minute headstart, but know for a fact that other's have raised enough for the 6 minute headstart. If you want to help us out, please click this link!
Also, it's my birthday. What better way to wish me a happy birthday then by giving a little dough to worthy causes?
And one other thing - Marty got roped into a team and they are GOOD. Lucky for us, they haven't raised any money (slackers), but I think we may need that 6 minutes to beat their team!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Marty has won the past two years, which means we have both of these on our mantle:
Can he win the 2011 belt buckle?
Saturday afternoon: Beginner Swim Clinic
Sunday morning: 5280 swim at Beaver Dam
Remember, be nice to those of us at the registration table :) See you in the water!
And in the better late than never category, here are a couple of pictures from the Triangle Orthopedic Sprint triathlon I did several weeks ago:
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Everyone knows each episode of "The Simpsons" takes like five and a half years to make, but luckily for last week's guest-star (and "Bob's Burgers" voice) Kristen Schaal, the show's classic chalkboard gags, which change in the show's opening credits from week to week, can be turned around quickly.
After last week's show credited her as "Kristen Schall," (a fact the comedian and actress mentioned forgivingly on her Twitter only after fans pointed it out ad infinitum), the show corrected the mistake in a most dramatic fashion, above left. Last night Schaal took to Twitter again to express gratitude for the gesture: "Wow! Simpsons, thank you for the chalkboard correction. I can't stop smiling. No one's ever been that nice." Classy, "Simpsons"!
Monday, May 16, 2011
Here we are before we left. We just set the timer up on our camera, called Tassie over and she sat in between us. She seems to understand when we're trying to take a family picture. Smart dog.
Saturday night was also a lot of fun as we had one of our Master's parties, which we typically have every 3 or 4 months. As we were leaving Heather's Marty commented, wow, we know some really great people. To which I replied, and it's all because of you! This group of people probably wouldn't have all gotten together had it not been for Marty starting the Master's team here in Cary and sticking with it even when we were losing money every month.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Last night we were going to ride but some nasty storms came through. It was gray all day but wasn't looking too bad and then all of the sudden *BAM* crazy rain and lightening. I really don't think the weather forecasters know anything around here.
So, we went out to eat instead. I know, shake your head, tsk tsk, we could've switched off on the trainer. Nope, instead I had a delicious stromboli at Ruckus Pizza. And their garlic knots. OMG is all I have to say 'bout those.
BUT this morning I had a great swim! Must've been the stromboli. Or maybe it's strong-boli. Oh hahahaha, so funny, Bri.
Here is a picture of Tassie.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
So White Lake! Such a popular weekend (now two if you're up for it) here in NC for triathletes. Beautiful lake and crappy motels make it all the more fun :)
I drove down with Kari on Friday evening (with Marty in the car right behind us). We made it to our -1 star motel (just kidding, it wasn't that bad. just a few spiders that only needed some broom whacks). We were all up early the next morning to cheer everyone on in the half, particularly Marty and Alysia.
The morning was chilly, foggy and didn't seem to have much wind. Should be a fast day! But the fog hung around and a little before the 7am start they decided to delay to see if it would lift. By 7:30 it was still thick and you could only see the first buoy. I was thinking, so what, when you get to the first buoy, you'll be able to see the second buoy! But alas, it's a safety thing. The kayakers and lifeguards wouldn't be able to see the swimmers at all. The race management said they would wait until 8am. Since it was cool, I don't think anyone was too worried about starting the race a bit later.
Except at 7:45 they decided to call it. Insert competitive male mayhem. This was actually really funny to watch: all these guys raced into transition to grab their helmets and shoes (if they didn't have them clipped to their bike) and race back out to the timing mat so they could start with them on their head/feet. But wait! You can't do that! So they all raced back into transition to reset everything. Oh! Actually, you can wear your helmet and shoes! Another mad dash into transition. At this point it's 8:05 and the fog is completely gone. Huh...let's have the swim! Cheers go up through the crowd. Just kidding, water safety personnel already left. Back to a duathlon. Bummer.
Obviously this stunk, and especially for someone like Marty who is such a strong swimmer. It's not just the lead he would've gotten, but also the poorer swimmers would then have been much more tired on the bike. It totally changes the entire dynamic of the race.
Anyways, the rest of the day was spent spectating and cheering everyone on. Then a nice nap (spectating is tough!), then dinner out in the booming metropolis of Elizabethtown.
Side note: at dinner I asked the waitress if the potato salad was good, to which she replied (in a VERY southern accent), "Wellllll, I only like my momma's potato salad..."
The next morning was clear and cool, albeit quite humid. I had originally planned on doing this race but just wasn't feeling it so opted to sit out and cheer for everyone else. The sprint was exciting and we knew so many people it was a lot of fun.
Afterwards we made the trek home and I had a nice run at Umstead -- one horsefly followed me for about 5 min. I guess it's almost that time of year.
Monday, May 2, 2011
It's sort of like when you remember back to being a kid and all the stupid things you did playing around and can't believe you did them without being hurt or killed. Nowadays kids don't go outside unless they are swaddled up in padding and anti-germ fighting creams and definitely not by themselves.
Okay, I joke.
I realize that we live in a litigating society where liability is everything. And triathlon has grown so much that the abilities of the athletes runs a very wide spectrum -- and of course swimming is going to be the most dangerous and least skillful part of the race for most newbies.
As long as traffic behaves itself.
It just reminds me of my very first ocean swim in a triathlon and how there's no way it would have gone off in this day and age.
I was 11 and competing in one of the Bud Light Sprint triathlons in 1989. This one happened to be in Jupiter, Florida and the distances were (probably) 1/2 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 5K run. I had done a bunch of youth triathlons by this point and a handful of sprint triathlons, but these were in calm, Florida lakes (yeah, probably alligator infested, but they don't really want to bother you).
I was a competent swimmer, but by no means strong. In fact, I hated swim practice and did everything I could to get out of it during my summer swim league days. All I wanted to do was run.
So the race -- Hurricane Hugo was busy churning up the Atlantic and the waves were BIG. Like, really BIG.
I think my dad was second guessing himself as two of his daughters were getting tossed around in the ocean while many adults couldn't make it past the breakers and fight the current.
Apparently, I was out there for a very long time. My sister ran out of the water into transition and my dad yelled/asked her if she had seen me. To which my sister probably replied something along the lines of, "As if. Why would I be looking for her?"
I finally came out of the water and my dad yelled, "Are you okay??!!" And I responded with something along the lines of, "It was so fun!! I got barrel-rolled 3 times!!"
Oh to be 11 and have no fear!
Also, to be 11 and not feel the need to change out of your swimsuit for the remainder of the day and the 3.5hr drive home. When I did finally take it off to shower, I found a little minnow stuck to my stomach!
Here's a picture of me from back in the day before some triathlon. Quite possibly the one I'm talking about, who knows.