Monday, February 3, 2014

Can I get you another beer............

Orange; the place, not the colour. A country town 4,1/2 hrs west of us and hot, dang HOT! 39 degrees and a dry heat like an oven set on nuclear. ok, I'm exaggerating, but in my world where Sammi is very comfortable closer to ya mild 26, Orange is the backside of the sun as far as I am concerned and here we were about to do a triathlon in it. A quick recci in the afternoon to scope out the bike course and a quick dip in the dam where we would swim and then we headed back to the apartment. 

So, I'm bunking in with my buddy Sonya, who I don't really know well enough to spoon with, but you do what you have to and as Deb was sick and needed her own room, more for isolation so we all wouldn't get sick, than for her sake. A quick pasta meal and after a huge hot day we went to bed and I crashed. I woke up the next morning, lay awake for a moment without opening my eyes taking account of how I was feeling. Nope, not sick, no excuse to stay in bed. I rolled over and reached for my phone and after a little motivational speech from Eric Thomas, I was ready to face the day.

We rolled into the parking lot, 6 of us traveled together, 4 girls in one car and Lloyd and Sandra and 5 bikes in their van. The little red Cervelo was tucked in tight and sandwiched between 4 Giants....oh the indignity! I re-payed the little bike by carrying it over to registration. There was glass everywhere in the grass and so she felt like a Princess again as I carried her over my shoulder.

All 6 of us sat in a line in the brown parched grass in the shade cast by a parked van waiting for the race briefing. This was insane! I was dying and I hadn't even done anything yet. We decided to hell with watching the briefing and headed for the dam. 21 degrees, at least it was a wetsuit swim and I pulled on my wettie, asked for a zip up and walked into the relief of the cool, fresh water, murky brown, reedy blarch that was Lake Canobolas.
Lake Canobolas - the run course goes round the lake twice
Beach start, sweet! The Crew had been practicing these on Thursday nights for a while. Confidently, I toed the line next to a young girl in a tri NSW racesuit. Boy I got balls! 

That's me in the pink cap, (long sleeves)
Anyway, the hooter went and we raced into the water. I felt good except for the feet flying in my face that you couldn't see for mud. 

Round the pontoon and set a heading for the first buoy. I can't breathe, geezus I'm panicking, stop breast stroke a second, get going, nope, can't breathe stop again, breast stroke what the hell! Relax Sammi! Damn it. I slow my pace and try to relax my breathing. We round the first buoy and I have lost a fair bit of ground. Then, release as my wetsuit zipper explodes across my back and cold water floods in. My wetsuit hadn't been pulled up high enough and so it was tight across my chest and I couldn't breathe. Once the zipper gave way, the cold water was sweet relief. I refocused and hit the accelerator. 

I came out of the swim and raced up the beach. Into transition where my wetsuit decided to attach itself to my legs and not come off. Give me a break! Finally free, I grab the little ride and run for the mounting line. 

My legs burn as I hit the first rolling hill. And so that was the name of the day. Burn up a roller and fly down the other side. My gearing was proving to be tricky and the heat was driving me insane. I started to panic and look for excuses to pull out. This is nuts. A calm Eric Thomas moment comes over me,everyone else is in the same place as me and suffering alongside me, it is an even playing field, you aint gonna die today. Get stuck in to it.

I climb up to the turn around point, drop my gearing to ease up the hill and stand up to crank up the rise. Suddenly my bike bucks as the gears race across the cluster and skipping 4 gears lands back down in a heavy gear. Holly crap I almost went flying. I dig deep and the legs burn as I finally limp round the cone and hit the downhill. I'm flying. But what was that? My gears aren't syncing. My head is racing with how to overcome the issue while my legs are digging in deep and churning along the downhill section. Once at the turn around I hit the climbs again and the gearing starts jumping about once again. I growl an exasperated release of frustration as a girl overtakes me. She asks if I am ok? Yep, I try cheerfully to answer her, but inside I am screaming and vowing never to let my bike be transported by anyone ever again. I figure the derailleur has been knocked and the gears are screwed.  To top it off, I drop my water bottle and I still have about 7 kms to ride in this unbearable heat. This is not going to stop me!

I roll into transition once more and hit the run leg. My legs feel heavy but they are turning over on their own. I feel ok, but hot. I run through a misting tent and it is sweet relief. I take a second to enjoy the coolness before heading out into the blaring sun again. It is now 11 am and 39 degrees. Bring it on! Up ahead I see a screedy gravel covered track. Oh noooooo. ITB jumps to mind as I test the gravel under foot. Damn it all. A hill, crest and immediately another hill, crest and a downhill in shade. I stop at the bottom and walk for 30 seconds and that then became the story for the first lap. Walk/ run. I was over taken by lots of guys who I had managed to overtake on the bike or keep behind me. But I was so hot I couldn't get going.

Finally, on the second lap, I found my second wind and the legs and body started to come together and now I was running without stopping. I heard Adam behind me call out, 'keep pushing Sammi you are having a fantastic race'. It spurred me on. He eventually overtook me with 1km to go. But I had held him off the whole time. It was a good feeling. Up ahead I saw a young girl in an Aus tri-suit. I willed myself to keep up with her. The final part of the run is along the damn wall. I came up alongside the girl and then found myself speeding up and over taking her. I felt so good at this point I lifted again and before heading for the finish line managed to give a high 5 to a kid. I zipped up the suit, set my eyes on the black line and smiled. Done!

An awesome feeling!
I stopped quickly to talk to Adam and congratulate him, grabbed some cold drink, icecream and fruit and sat in the shade waiting. 

6 minutes passed before the next girl came in out of my friends, Sandra! the rest followed after her. All 6 of us achieved podiums on the day in our respective age groups. Me I got 3rd. But, I had scratched my mark in the ground last race and today, I convincingly had held the line!

Swim 0:13:17
T1 0:01:35
Cycle 0:40:40
T2 0:01:19
Run 1:25:48 0:28:55

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