Today I had the blessing of racing the bike leg of the Columbia Iron Girl Triathlon. I completed the entire Iron Girl in the summer of 2007 and it was a fun experience albeit stressful for personal reasons. Today, it was all about the fun. I was a fill in for a relay team put together by my boss at the running store and a friend of hers who I ended up following at IMLP in July! Assignments for role had already been made so it was the bike leg for me.
As anyone who knows me or has read this blog more than once knows, I am not a good cyclist. I wish I was, I wish I was strong and fast, but even when I trained my tush off, I am still slow! My goal today was to go out and attempt to maintain 15 mph. This I’m afraid to say, is super slow compared to every other cyclist I know. Nonetheless, it was my goal. I started out on the bike after a tag from Linda, our swimmer. My heart rate was really going hard. I was excited and nervous. I wanted to do a good job for our team. I knew I hadn’t trained the way I should have as I’m training for Baltimore marathon, but I just went out to push.
The roads were wet from sporadic torrents all morning. IG has a lot of first timers and a lot of ladies on mtn bikes, hybrids, and in one case, a bike that was clearly her kid’s. A lot of the new riders don’t necessarily know all the rules of road riding and definitely not the triathlon rules. It didn’t really bother me, I was so proud to see all of these women pushing heavy bikes up the rotten hills of the course. I did a lot of “on your left” which is fine. I pushed some pretty big gears through the first portion and was at Mt. Albert in no time. Being that I wasn’t racing in my AG I found myself seemingly doing well amongst my road peers. I gained strength from cheering for all the ladies up the hills and reminding everyone to drink at the top! It was in the Mt. A neighborhood that I did get yelled at by a TF gal for being to the left (I was passing on a downhill). Alas, we can’t all be sportswomanly. It was really nice to have names on the back of the race belts so that as I passed I could tell the girls by name. I zoomed down Folly Quarter and did a very consistent job getting up to FQMS. I was pleased I got there in 40 minutes. It felt so comfortable. (Now onto the second half)
I blasted down my favorite descent to the GCS hill and once again tried to stay steady. I had a nice interaction with two young (24 y/o) TF gals who were so strong on climbs. (However, body weight is an advantage when descending…) It started to pour as I was on my way back which has a lot of descending. At one point, my wheel skidded but I managed to be calm and pump my breaks. Whew. I was making a hard descent after the Corn Hill and almost got on a gals wheel. I yelled pretty loud to get her to move, and I think it may have been too loud, as she muttered under her breath something as I passed. (I apologize to her; I just wanted her to hear me! No crashes!!) I pushed a bit more and found myself ascending the last hill on Homewood quite well and was even complimented for my politeness. Why, thank you. I just feel like racing is the perfect time to remind the people around me that they are super strong, have a nice shirt on, have a cute bike etc. It helps me more than them, I’m sure, but it is pretty darn amazing to see that many active women.
The last turn onto 108 and my bike computer looked like it said I was going really fast. So I decided to push a big gear and the highest cadence I could stand all the way back in. It seemed like it was seconds from when I started as I turned into the park. I am not positive but I would say my unofficial time (including out and in from transition) was 1:07 (15.6mph). This felt amazing. I am so pleased. Upon further review, I was not as fast as 2007, but for having ridden only once maybe twice since May, I was really happy.
Which leads me to the title of this post. I am a lazy athlete. I rarely train well. The only time I’ve really put myself into training have been prepping for SD RnR in 2004, MCM in 2005, Austin Half in 2007 and Chicago in 2008 (The last two of those were PR’s and that is all due to running with MM). Since IM I have completely fallen off the wagon and frankly, I didn’t even train as hard as I should have for IM. I always say, “I wonder what I could do if I took training seriously?” From training schedule to nutrition, it would be a neat experiment to see how I could really improve and change my life if I put in the effort I should. This is a constant wonder for me…
For now, I will shortly bask in the happiness I have from today’s race. I am proud of my team and proud of all the women who took on the mighty challenge of triathlon. The wonder can sit gently in the back of my head and bother me later.