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Race Result

Racer: Jen Tallman
Race: Charlottesville Sprint Triathlon
Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Female 30 - 34
Time: 1:50:51
Overall Place: 195 / 277
Age Group Place: 17 / 19
Comment: Unleashed to go wildly anaerobic!!!

Race Report:

Sprint races are notoriously difficult to document in writing, because it is hard to notice the details of the moment from the anaerobic haze caused by all out effort for less than 2 hours. I'll do my best to recall something other than my abnormally high HRM readout and the burning in my legs.

I got off work at the bike shop on Saturday evening and rode the mile home to get ready to drive to Charlottesville. I was really grateful for my new co-workers at bike lane, as the mechanics there had stayed after work Friday evening into Saturday morning to teach me how to completely disassemble my drive train, remove the bottom bracket, clean and reinstall those parts, change out derailluer and brake cables, adjust the brakes, and clean the braking surfaces of my wheels. My bike was GLEAMING, and running smooth as the day I took her home!

I packed for the race quickly and efficiently, my opponent, Chuck, loaded the car, and we headed to Charlottesville. We stopped in Gainesville for burritos, and then tried to outrun some heavy thunderstorms. No luck there. Thunderstorms slowed the drive until the south side of Culpeper, but it was mostly smooth sailing, and I was playing DJ with my iPod, so what more could you want?

We rolled into the Doubletree around 10:30, checked in and took the bikes inside. A security guard offered to let us keep the bikes in a storage room. Needless to say, we declined. He was obviously NOT a cyclist or triathlete, and I am glad that he was not around to see me riding my bike up and down the deserted 9th floor hallway! Chuck is some kind of VIP, so we got a free room. I was a little nervous about sharing a room with him though, as I had been talking trash all week about how I was going to kick his butt. I was afraid he might get up in the middle of the night and gunk up my drivetrain again!

The only thing that did wake me up was another intense thunderstorm about 2am. I listened for a bit, as I love the sounds of nature. I drifted back to sleep, wishing I was in a tent in the backcountry.

5 am came early, as 5 am always does. I changed into tri clothes and got my transition bag ready. I mixed a few gels with water and we headed out the door. There was nowhere to get food that time of day, so it looked like another race on an empty tummy. I MUST stop doing that!

Race check in went smoothly, except that I had forgotten my ID in the car. Chuck went back for it. Pretty nice of him to let me conserve the legs with which I planned to punish him! I checked in as #287, and went to set up transition.

Transition was a free for all. They hadn't marked the racks, so you just had to squeeze in where you could find space. People were spread out all over, so we got a few people to consolidate a little, and managed to get enough space for the two bikes on a rack.

We headed to the beach for the pre-race meeting. I was in wave 4. Chuck was in wave 3. The water was 80 degrees, so it wasn't wetsuit legal. This was my first tri sans wetsuit! I was excited about not having to waste precious time in T1 fighting to get my left hand out of the wetsuit like usual! There were 4 mins between each wave, which seemed long to me, but no one asked me, so I figured, I'd just swim when they said go.

The swim was a .3 mile triangle shaped course. Two right turns at the yellow buoys and back to the beach. The lake was really warm. I waded out to the start where we treaded water for about 30 seconds before they blew the horn. I got right into it. Face in the water, stroking fast. I caught a draft off a girl, but realized she was slower than I was, so I passed. I never caught another draft, so I just swam. It was easy to sight and easy to stay straight and tight to the buoy line. I was so intent of going fast, that I didn't pay much attention to technique. I can't remember if I kept high elbows or not. I was 12:18 in the water. I didn't stop swimming until my fingertips started to touch mud. I stood up and waded slowly through squishy, ankle deep mud. I hit the sand running to T1.

T1 was 2:04. I rinsed my feet, stuck them in my bike shoes, grabbed my helmet and sunglesses, attached my race belt, took a swig of gel and ran for the bike mount line.

The 16.5 mile bike leg started with a climb out of the park. I was hammering away at it, but not looking at my speed. My computer was set to distance and cadence. My HR was up in zone 4, and my legs were burning. mmmmm A left turn out of the park took us along a quiet road, shady and apparantly scenic. I remember almost nothing of it through the haze. I was concentrating on going all out. It was tougher than I thought. Most of the course was uphill. There were two significant descents, and one was the reverse of that first hill as we approached T2. I hit 38.4 mph on that one! (I only know because I checked my max speed after the race.)

I remember seeing a little girl and her dad on the side of the road. She couldn't have been more than 4, standing by a pink bike with training wheels. As I waved, I silently hoped that she would grow to know the sheer heart pounding joy of cycling. I remember passing a lot of people on the hills. Some were men, lots were women. Some had "fast" bikes, some had more recreational bikes. Either way, I loved passing them.

I took in some gel about half way through, as I was starting to feel the effects of not eating breakfast. I made a mental note to travel with the Vita-Mix and a cooler of smoothie ingredients no matter how short the trip!

T2 was 2:27. I had considered running the three miles without shoes or in my Vibram 5fingers, but I nixed that idea after discovering that it was a trail run. Rinsing down an Endurolyte with the last of the gel, socks and shoes in place, and helmet discarded, I took off.

The 3 miles of wooded trail reminded me of places I have hiked and backpacked. That made the trail easy to read. I chose a safe line over rocks and tree roots. There was surprisingly little mud, considering the storms of the previous night. There was an aid station at about the .5 mile mark. I kept running, got water, and settled into a pace that felt slower than I wanted to go.

There was a guy behind me for awhile. I tried to stay right, so he could pass, but he didn't. He was breathing heavily, and I giggled to myself about a conversation that was relayed to me after TTT about what people who breathe like that sound like.

It was cool in the shade, but the morning was humid, so I was just as wet now, as I had been on the swim. I felt sweat dripping down the back of my leg, and I couldn't get the idea out of my head that somehow Mr. heavy breather had spit on me, and that it wasn't sweat. GROSS! I was happy when he finally decided to pass me.

I enjoyed a few minutes of silence. Two women came up behind me and stayed with me for most of the second mile. I felt like they were using me to pace off of, so I picked it up, feeling like I should set a good pace for all of us. It was sort of mother hen of me, and soooo not in the spirit of competition.

There were a few spectators out in the woods on the run. It was kind of cool to see this one crazy dude standing on a stump, his head adorned with a crown of thick green leaves, cheering us on. When I passed the aid station again, I took a cup of Gatorade and a cup of water. I needed more calories and something to wash the sweet taste out of my mouth. I have to admit that I did dump half of the water on the back of my leg, just in case that drippy feeling had been spit. Oh the things that enter your mid in a race!!

We came out of the woods about 250 yards from the finish. I tried to sprint to catch a 32 year old in front of me, but she turned her speed up a notch too. Then we both got passed by a 30 year old right before the three of us crossed the finish, each one second apart.

I found Chuck, and we compared notes while we waited for the last bikes to come in, so we could get into transition and collect our gear. He hadn't hit his watch, so he didn't know what his time was at all. We had to wait for the results to find out if I had lived up to all the talk.

Over 24 hours later, the results posted, I had fallen short of my goal by 7 mins.

So, it was a nice supported brick workout. My coach was happy with my performance, and Chuck has bragging rights for a least a week.

Up next, IMUSA...