Saturday, May 14, 2005

Gold Nugget Report

Well, I successfully completed the Gold Nugget Triathlon here in Anchorage. It's an all women's event, and consists of a 500m swim in the Bartlett HS pool, a 10 mile bike through Ft. Richardson, and a 4.1 mile run.

My goal, since I had only decided to run the race on Wednesday, was to survive. On the day of the race, I'd had the total of 2 prepatory swims and one bike ride to lean on. Needless to say, my race preparation was not making me feel really comfortable.

The bike drop-off happened on Saturday. After bobbling my bike on the bike rack of doom (our bike rack is on top of the tracker, which is hard for us short folk to get to), I had to fix the chain, which had come unsettled during the debacle. In AK, apparently you have to provide your own bike stand, so I brought my cyclops trainer to hold the bike. Also in preparation for potential rain, I did bring a few plastic bags for the seat and bars (nothing like a soggy seat and aerobars to bring you down). I tried to look like a proper triathlete, and my coordinated - but not so coordinated outfit I believe hat that effect. I asked pointed questions to the bike drop off folks, which also made me feel more in my element. In all, it was a successful T -1.

Of course, the work started much earlier. In order to pull of a successful triathlon, a participant must think ahead as to what one might need in different times of the race -- in this race, the planning was crucial since the Swim-Bike transition (T1) and bike-run transition (T2) were not going to be in the same place. Any slight slip-up and an athlete could find themselves without something very important, like running shoes. So, by Friday afternoon, I had already placed all my gear into three piles -- T0 (pre-race), T1, and T2. T2 had to be ready for the bike drop-off where it was placed at the bike-run transition in the army base.

Because of this preparation, race morning was not hectic. I had a powerbar and meandered to Bartlett High School around 10am. Racers were to be called up to enter the pool for their swim by number, and so when I heard that they were only up to 200 by 10am, I was suprised (my number was 975). With an average of 100 racers being able to swim at one time, it was going to be a long day!

When checking on my bike, I thought I was lucky that I had gotten there early, because the nice fellow guarding the bikes allowed us into the bike area to set up our other gear. So I put my bike gear out as I am used to, including shoes, socks, and, from top to bottom, gloves, glasses, race number, helmet. Luckily I took my towel and clothing with me for something to change into in the locker room, because maybe a half hour after I set out my gear, it started to rain!

At around 1pm, us late-numbers got into the pool for our swim. The swim was 10 laps, three women per lane. Although the swim is the quickest part of a triathlon, it always seems to take forever to me. This time was no different, but I did successfully swim 10 laps without drowning. I was very happy!

In the locker room, I quickly switched from my tyr sleeveless tri jersey to a more proper bike jersey and jacket combo. The bike jersey is our old one from Team Dayton cycling, which still looks very impressive. Running through T1, I put on my soggy gear, took off the garbage bag on my seat, and was off!

My bike ride was awful. It was exacerbated by the fact that I kept confusing my gears, making me ride the entire first 3 miles in my big gear. Once I got that down though, I started to say to myself "Hey, why am I working so hard, and not going so fast?". That's right, because I had ridden my bike once this year :). The good news is, I looked really fast, and actually passed a few people. The bike consisted of bike trails, then a long slight uphill, followed by three more hills through Ft. Richardson. Although the ride was very bumpy, I did have a lot of fun going downhill and was totally exhausted by the end of the bike leg -- I think I rolled in at around 14 mph!

T2 was great. They took care of me, although I hardly could take care of myself. Someone whisked away my bike, and pointed me in the direction of the folks that already had my gear bag. The gear bag people were so nice, and set my shoes down on the ground so that I did not have to deal with the strain of getting things out of the bag myself! When I had shoes on, they then turned me around and led me to the start of the run.

The run, as I said before, was on tank trails in Ft. Richardson. Noone ever feels great getting off the bike, but the rockiness of the trail made it that much worse. It took me about a mile to recover something of my running legs, and I started to pass people. In fact, noone passed me except this one lady who was just FLYING. I was so jealous. The final parts of the 4 mile run were on the bike trail again, and I started to feel pretty good. I passed two people and was coming up on my third at the finish line. I was hoping to sneak around her, but I guess it was my wheezing that tipped her off and she started sprinting! I couldn't keep up and finished about a step behind.

All in all, it was a good race. As for my goals, I did survive the race itself, and actually came very close to my predicted time. I was looking for a 15 min swim, a 40 min bike, and a 40 min run, and came under my predicted time by three-four minutes, mostly due to an awesome swim (10 mins!) and a decent run. It's gotten me interested in doing more, and I might just sign up for the Eagle River Tri in June :).


subrosa said...

congratulations on the triathlon! :-)

Mary said...

I so very proud of you. If the eagle river tri doesn't work could do one in Chicago.