Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pacific Crest Race Report

This last weekend I raced Pacific Crest Olympic Distance Triathlon. This was a big weekend of firsts for me.

1. It was the first time that I've done back-to-back races on subsequent weekends
2. It was the first time that I've camped the night before a race
3. It was the first point-to-point race that I've done with two separate transition areas.

We left earlyish on Saturday morning from Tacoma. It was four girls (myself, Emily, Fawn, and Tracy), three bicycles, one extra wheelset, 1 metric shit ton of camping gear, and 1 hyundai accent. It actually took three of us to even close the trunk so needless to say things were a little ... cramped.

We made our way down to Sun River, OR arriving around 2:30ish or maybe 3:00 (It's amazing how time has no meaning when traveling with 4 women and their luggage in a tiny car). One funny aside, at a gas station in Sisters, OR one woman was kind enough to point out to Tracy that we should have taken a minivan or an SUV. Too bad we hadn't thought of that before we left Tacoma. Thank you brilliant lady for your insightful advice, unfortunately it was too little too late.

Anyway, we get down to the athletes village and pick up our race packets and I ask three different volunteers how to get to T1 to rack our bikes. No one knows. They all tell us to look at the map but of the three maps in the race packet, not one shows T1 in relation to the athletes village.

We start driving around and find T2 and finally another racer tells us generally how to get to T1. We go to T1, take a look at the lake (breathtaking) and do a cursory racking of our bikes and T1 setup. We head back to the village and T2 and set up T2 and head into Bend for a killer mcmenamin's meal and beer.

At this point it's getting dark and we still have yet to locate our campsite and I am f---ing cranky and wanting to just get a hotel for the night. After about an hour or more (I'm not sure how long ... once again, time had no meaning) we manage to stumble upon our campground, no thanks to any signage. It's probably around 11:00 at this point and we just choose a campground and set our stuff up.

I barely slept. I know I wasn't awake all night but I know I woke up several times throughout the night and I was already awake at 4:30 when my alarm went off. Fawn, Emily, and myself get up and make some oatmeal and are eating until we realize that I have to be in Sun River in like 45 minutes (we're about an hour away) to make my bus from T2 to T2 ... yeah, not going to happen. We made a valiant attempt but then just decided to have Tracy, who was not racing, drive us to T1 and then meet us at the finish.

More havoc ensues but we manage to make it to T1 with plenty of time to spare. Thank goodness we racked our bikes the night before because T1 was CROWDED.

Now the good stuff, the actual race report.

4 minutes before the start I do a little 20 stroke out and back just to get a feel for the water. As we're waiting to go (all men and women under 30 and all relay swimmers) I am just chatting with some girl and I hear "GO!". "okay cool, here we go I guess."

I had been pretty apprehensive about the swim since it was a co-ed start. I know I'm a strong swimmer but co-ed starts always make me nervous. I have to say, this was the MOST civil swim start I have ever had. I took it a little wide but really, there was no congestion and I had almost no body contact. At one point, around the second turn, I was passing some dude swimming freestyle when he decided to do a big breastroke kick right into my ribs ... thanks dude. It didn't hurt but seriously people, stop doing breastroke kicks.

I came out of the water feeling good and knowing I was at the front of the pack for my wave. On the shore I thought the swim looked pretty long and I'm almost certain now it was. Swim: 26:27 (1:36/100m)

T1 was uneventful. I got out of my suit and bagged my stuff pretty quickly. I had to stop on my run out to get a rock out of my shoe because I'm an idiot and forgot to actually wipe my feet on my towel. My transition time was actually comparatively very fast. I'm happy with this. T1: 2:37

The bike was as beautiful as the swim. I only got passed by two dudes and no ladies the entire time. I was definitely working but I was loving it. It was 25.2 miles with a very slight (400-500 ft.) elevation loss. It was flat to rolling the whole way. I was a little nervous only because I know I'm stronger in the hills but man, I just felt great. Bike: 1:06:36 (22.52 mph)

T2 was just as it should be, fast and uneventful. I already had my shoes off when I got to my running stuff so I just threw on my running shoes, race belt, and visor and I was off. T2: 1:26

The run ... well ... the run hurt like hell for the first 2 miles. Like, I considered walking. I was pacing a woman who I belive was Daphne Slife (if I'm wrong, sorry) for the first 3ish miles. We leapfrogged at first but then I just followed her for a while. Thank you so much to her for helping my through those first few miles. I passed her just after mile 3 and then something amazing happened. I was passing EVERYONE. I think I got passed by one guy and one gal (Lis Wilson who ran brilliantly). I finished feeling strong but glad to have it over with. Also, I heard from another racer that the run was actually more like 6.4 miles but, whatever. Run: 49:33 (7:58/mile)

Total time: 2:26:39

So here's the amazing part. I took 3rd f---ing place overall and won my age group by almost a full 2 minutes! I couldn't believe it. I felt like I had had a good race but not THAT good.

Oh, and the other amazing part, aside from a cool medal, I got a pint glass and a free beer! Man, if I could win beer at every race I would work even harder.

All in all, an apparently great race for me.

Now, on a slightly more somber note, as I was sitting at the finish waiting for Emily and Fawn to finish, a gentleman named Gerald Balaban crossed the finish line looking strong in a bit over 3 hours. As I watched, he walked up to the volunteers to have his chip removed from his ankle, paused and then collapsed face first onto the ground. I initially thought he was having a seizure (I'm epileptic so I was thinking maybe I could help) but it became quickly apparent that he was not breathing and that he had no pulse. Medics quickly began CPR as his friends, family, and much of the community looked on. After several minutes the medics announced that they had a pulse and everyone cheered although his breathing was quite labored and he was not awake.

racecenter discussed the incident here

I am trying to contact his family and see if there is anything that they need. Please keep Mr. Balaban in your thoughts as he works his way through his recovery.


Coach Tammy said...

Wow... sounds like the road trip from hell, but what an amazing outcome for you!!! You are one strong lady!

jesslover said...

ha ha the road trip was cramped but actually quite a bonding experience!

i'm super psyched about the results both for myself, my lady friends and Mr Balaban!

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