Monday, June 30, 2008

Pacific Crest Weekend

Pacific Crest is held each year in Sunriver, OR at the end of June. It is a weekend long series of events beginning on Friday with the Kid's Splash Pedal n' Dash, ending on Sunday with the Olympic distance triathlon. I headed out of town on Thursday evening with girlfriends Kristin and Margi. Margi was competing in her first half ironman on Saturday, K and I were doing the Oly on Sunday. K's parent's had rented a vacation home in Sunriver Village, so I was staying with them for the first couple of nights. The boys joined up with us on Saturday morning, when Ken and I departed from the group for our stay at McMenamin's St. Francis in Bend. I LOVE that hotel!

Friday morning Margi and I went out for a quick bike ride -- she needed to loosen up for her race and I needed to test ride my bike after doing some minor maintenance a few days prior. In the afternoon we headed into the main part of the village for packet pickup and to check out the expo. Then we were off to Wikkiup reservoir to drop off Margi's bike at T1 (the swim-to-bike transition) and do a quick practice swim.

Margi, Kristin, and I after a practice swim:

Saturday morning we took Margi to T2 (bike-to-run transition) for body-marking and to set up her transition. Initially, she did not have a ride up to the lake for the race start, but she met up with some friendly folks and got a spot on a bus. That freed K and I up to have a relaxing morning -- K went back to sleep for some much needed rest and I went for a 2 mile run. That gave me my first taste of the heat...and it was only 7 am. Yikes! We finally started milling about the house again, and made our way up to the reservoir to watch the finish of the swim leg and hopefully catch Margi heading out on her ride. She came out of the water on schedule and had a huge smile on her face as she climbed on the bike. We also got to watch her finish the half ironman later that afternoon. She finished just over 6 hours and had a rocking time, placing well both in her age group and overall. Awesome!

T1 opened up for us around noon, so we had brought our bikes with us up to the reservoir. As I was taking them off the bike rack I realized that I had a rear flat tire. Oh, fantastic. It was getting hot, so I shouldered it and started to carry it the half mile to transition so I could change the tube in the shade. That's when I noticed that the front tire was also flat. But I only had one tube with me. And no pump. Oy vey. Well, I might as well get one of the tubes changed. And that's when I noticed that my rim tape was bunko. This was NOT something I would be able to take care of on-site. So I took both wheels off and racked the bike by the saddle, dangling all naked-like. People were pointing and was very embarassing. I should mention that as I was carrying my wheels back to the car, the end of the skewer popped off but I didn't realize that until I was almost to the vehicle. So I spent a good half hour walking back and forth and back and forth looking for the spring and end cap. Anyway, many thanks to Kevin and Ken for hunting for parts all over Bend and Sunriver while I was stuck up at the lake. You guys rock!

My lonely, pathetic-looking bike hanging in T1:
And, on to the race report...

Pacific Crest Olympic Triathlon
Date: Sunday, June 29, 2008
Distance: 1500 meter swim, 28 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Time: 3:27:29 -- Athena division, 3rd place!

My first Oly distance race. Woohoo!

T1 set-up occurred the day before the race. It was then that I discovered my 2 flat tires and bad rim tape job. So I racked my bike by the saddle with both wheels missing. It was very much the most jacked-up looking bike sitting in transition. People were pointing and poor bike.

The morning of the race I set up T2 (it was a point-to-point event) and then hopped on the very first bus up to the reservoir so that I could get my bike put back together and take it for a test spin. I spent the left over time relaxing on the shore with my sweetie pie and chatting with fellow training partners.

Me, after setting up transition, and hanging out with Ken at the water:
Me, Natalie, Jeff, DeDe, and K-Dawg before the race:
Warm Up:
Quick test ride on the bike. Short swim. That's about it.

00:29:54 (pace = 1:59/100m)

About 3 weeks ago the water temp was hovering just over 53°F. Race day was almost 65°F. Wow! I definitely did not need my full-sleeve. I was in the 2nd wave and started in the front inside corner. I thought that I stood a good chance of getting totally plowed over, but it never happened. The bummer is that it was hard to find someone to draft off of. I passed plenty of people from wave 1, and a few from wave 3 shot past me towards the end. Average pace swim for me, but I'm happy with it. Easy pace and I wasn't out of breath coming out of the water.

2nd fastest swim in my division, and 144th out of 484 overall.

I was very nervous the morning of the race, and you can tell by the look on my face in this photo:
Time = 2:04
Fastest T1 time in my division. I'm sort of a transition nazi. Free speed, you know? I did have one screw up though. Since this is a point-to-point race, you have to pack all of your items into a plastic bag and tie it up before you can run your bike out. I shoved all of my things into the bag and double knotted it...then looked down to see my bright red beach towel sitting under my helmet and bike shoes. Doh!

On my way out of T1:

01:37:24 (pace = 17.25 mph)

Overall, the bike course was super fun! Great terrain, however, the road surface pretty much sucks. Rough chip seal type stuff. With big-ass holes in random places. I almost hit one at 30 mph. One of those 6-inch diameter ones that look like they go to the center of the earth. They should mark those...

Anyway, I came out of the water fairly early so I didn't have many people to chase down. I got passed by mostly dudes and only a few women. Towards the end I started passing people though. My max speed on the downhill was 39.9 mph. FUN!!!! I came up on a fellow-Cervelo rider who was trying to rock Zipps and a sperm helmet. He was hugging the yellow line with no one around him and would not move to the right for me. I kept screaming at him, "hey coming up behind you, move over please, on your left, coming up on your left, DUDE MOVE THE F*&K OVER!!!!" He finally gave me a few inches of room, passed me on the next uphill, and then got a flat about a mile later. Karma's a biatch, ain't it.

One of the fun parts of the ride was when Margi's friend Beth caught me on the first set of hills. She can climb like nobody's business. She was also racing Athena division, so I had some motivation to catch her...I did that on the downhill and then she promptly crushed me again on the next hill. Unfortunately she had some mechanical issues so I passed her for the last time and beat her out on the run. She soon caught me though and continued right on to win first place. Yeah Beth!

Finishing up the bike, I slipped my feet out of my bike shoes right before the last hill coming into transition.

Couple of notes from this leg -- I screwed the proverbial pooch on hydration. I ended up with my aero-bottle gone, but my GU2O bottle totally full. Whoops. Not good when temps were approaching 100 degrees. I really wanted a faster bike split, but I did what I could. More riding this winter and I'll crush it next year.

2nd fast transition in my division. I would have been faster, but there was an aid station before the chip mat and I stopped to drink like 4 cups of water and douse my body with a wet towel.

I also almost had a collision with a chic who was running out of transition the wrong direction. With her head down. Directly towards me and my bike as I was running in. She wasn't exactly running in a straight line so I couldn't avoid her. I kept yelling at her to watch it, but she didn't stop until I basically stiff-armed her. I gave her a "damn girl, watch where you're going next time" and then laughed as she tried to exit through the entrance. I think the heat was making people do silly things.

01:16:32 (pace = 12:19 min/mi)

Big sucky suckfest. I had to walk about 100 yards after leaving transition. My heart rate was sky high, I was sweating so much that drops were coming off my finger tips, and my breathing was way out of control. Every time there was a bit of shade I would walk to maximize my time in it, then I would jog through the sunny parts. I also walked the aid stations and would drink 2 cups and dump 1 on my head. No ice or sponges, which was a major bummer. However, Sunriver residents came out of their homes to give us water, shoot us with super soakers, and set up sprinklers on the course. That was awesome!

My friend Kevin from the gym caught up to me at mile 3. At the time, I was STANDING under a sprinkler staring off into space. Not even moving forward. I'm glad he caught me because he stuck with me to the end and kept me going.

People were on the side of the course for the last quarter mile to the finish line, which was motivating. Lots of music and energy to get you in there. Unfortunately I forgot to hop into the cool showers, because I was focused on finding my dude. Who promptly bought me a sno-cone. Fantastic! I HAVE THE BEST BOYFRIEND EVER!!!

K-Dawg and I crossing the finish line:

Warm Down:
Sno-cone and waited for friends to cross the finish line. Then we found some shade and watched them give out awards. I assumed that I was in the bottom half of my division due to the crappy run, so when they called my name I was beyond shocked. That was a nice end to the day!

Event Comments:
This venue really is awesome. The volunteers are great. The run course is stocked with tons of water stations. The expo has lots of vendors. And obviously the weather conditions can't be helped, but they dealt with it quite well. The med tent was packed full at the end of the day, but it appeared that everyone was being attended to.

Beth and I getting our division-winner medals:
As a last note, there was a death on the swim that morning. Details are still sketchy, but it is reported that the man swam to a jet ski and said that he was in trouble. He then passed out and was brought to shore where CPR was started. Some friends of mine witnessed the incident as they were finishing up the swim, which had to have been awful. Efforts to revive him were not successful and he was pronounced dead at the scene. My thoughts and prayers for his friends and family, who were also there that morning. Very sad.

The rest of the photos from the weekend are here:

Natalie, Jeff, K-Dawg, me, and Beth after the race: