Monday, May 21, 2007

Nikki races Columbia Tri

Columbia Triathlon is the unofficial start of the triathlon season here in the Mid-Atlantic. With over 1900 paid entrants, it's by far the largest race in the region! Only 1300 or so actually started the race, but that's still quite the field for a non-Ironman event.

Five close training-mates and numerous DC Tri-Clubbers made the trek to Columbia, MD for this race. Myself, Michelle, Jason, Jean, and Mayor Fenty (yes, I consider Mayor Fenty to be my training-mate--he may not immediately agree, however!) all awoke to a beautiful sunrise Sunday morning. Unfortunately, the clouds soon covered the sky, and a dreary steady, slow rain descended upon us as we set up in transition. I, once again, was not "in the game" at morning's start--I forgot my visor and my favorite running socks! Alas, a quick trip back to the car revealed that I had secret stashes of both, so I ran back to transition for a final switch in gear set-up and was ready to go!

The pros started at 6:45 am, and right as they were about to exit the water, the National Anthem was being sung over the loudspeaker--Jean and I still have over an hour before our "old lady" wave started.

SWIM: 26:59 (3rd out of water)
Finally, at 8:03, we entered the quite comfortable water (~62 degrees), and took care of "pre-race jitters" and waited for the horn. I suddenly found myself at the front of the massive wave of over 150 women and had to swim for my life! I decided to tuck in and just find some feet to draft behind. Turns out that plan worked out fairly well. This was a PR swim for me.

T1: 2:45 (4th out of T1)
I had some issues with my shoes, I remember staring at my toes willing them to get into my socks, but it was not easy!

BIKE: 1:21:34 (2nd on the bike!)
The rain had caused the roads to be very very slippery, and I hadn't even gone 2 miles into the course when I saw some poor guy covered from shoulder to ankle in road rash. Little did I know my own training friend Jason would suffer the same fate at the end of his ride (and crack his carbon Kuota, boo hoo!). I felt very good on the bike, but never saw any other women in my age group. I kept worrying whether I was first (highly unlikely) or last!! I felt strong, and I pushed the bike hard. I don't think I can improve much on the bike. I had an 18.8mph average here.

T2: 1:21 (1st, hello!!)
Again, fastest in T2.....

RUN: 52:45 (5th--can you say need to do more brick?!)
OH MY GOD! Enough with the hills. This was absolutely THE WORST 10K course I've ever been on. It may have been scenic, apparently it went around the lake we swam in, lots of lush, green trees, and through some pretty affluent neighborhoods, but I pretty much missed all that...on account of being MISERABLE running UP hills, and then DOWN steep hills. There wasn't a single flat portion to this race! OK, at the end, running over the causeway/dam at the very very end of the race--that so doesn't count!!!

FINISH: 2:45:23
What can I say, goal was 2:45 or less. I probably had :23 in me, but it's so hard to race when you have noone to pace off! You can break it down any number of ways:

474/1440 Overall
72/472 Female overall
14/105 in my age-group (F 35-39)
2nd Place Female Military

Unfortunately, this race only awards the #1 Female Military (LAME!!!). Next time, I will do better!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kick off to the mtn bike season!

Velo Bella and Kona make a great pair...and Michael Kirk shows it!

At the Greenbriar mountain bike race in Maryland on April 30th, the Velo Bella-Kona Mid-Atlantic team was staked out on prime real-estate under the shade of a big ol' tree and with beautiful views of the mountains, lake, and the Trek-VW team....

But alas, our minds were on things other than lycra-clad gents. We were there to race our bikes over the hills and rocks typical to these parts of the western pan-handle on the north-western edge of the Blue Ridge.

Super-mom Hillary not only looked after everyone making sure we all had everything we needed, she did feeds for more people than she has hands and helpers for, she helped Alicia get ready to race, she supported hubbie Morgan for his race, and she dealt with the pre-race jitters and raced her very first bike race. I'd say that's a full day. And she came home with a medal. Not bad for a first-timer.

Meanwhile Alicia, with more confidence and speed every-year, came out once again to reclaim her Maryland state championship title in the junior women's race. Later in the day, Melanie raced in the expert category and took home third place in her category.