Monday, May 5, 2008

LPond Race Report

first off....
Happy Birthday Sarah!
(my little sister turns 23 today)

And on to the LPond race report:

Sorry this report was delayed… but, it's fitting since waiting was actually a huge part of the Langley Pond Triathlon.

Let me rewind one weekend. Humm, it’s much easier to remember a race by putting myself in race day conditions. Therefore, I’ve turned on the sink and shower – and doused myself with water. Being wet, ah yes… LPond, it’s all coming back to me.

It started by busting out of work on Friday. My roadie/personal photographer/fan club member (one and only)/cycling partner/and friend Matt was making the trip with me. He decided that a trip to Aiken, SC was too good an offer to refuse ;)

We headed out of town and jammed along. Matt and I have similar musical tastes, his iPod was loaded up, and luckily… neither of us can sing, but we do anyway. No shame. We ended up pulling into the race site 5 minutes before they were to close shop. (ps, this was the first time since 2005 that I’ve gotten to a triathlon packet pick-up the day before a race)

Here I met David, Mendy, and their daughter, Grace. So Fun! Grace even practiced her cheers: Go Ashley Go. Really, adorable. Also caught up with Katie, Chris, Brad to check-out the new swim course formation.

After race check-in, Matt and I tried to decide which fine dining establishment we would hit-up for dinner. I was getting worried, until we passed the Atlanta Bread Co. Everything was going well at the restaurant until we saw a crowd of high school girls screaming and pointing at a car in the parking lot. Interesting, I had to investigate.

Turns out that someone had left their pet python on the dashboard of their car. (Marit, I totally thought of you). Yep, the snake was just chilling out, wrapped around the steering wheel.

The rest of the evening was spent applying race numbers, bike cleaning (thanks Matt!), and getting ready for an early wake-up call.

5:40 am: up, getting race uniform on, applying sunscreen (you’ll soon read why this was a bit unnecessary), eating a bagel… the usual.

The drive to LPond was great. I made Matt play “Eye of the Hurricane” about 3 times. Getting organized in transition was easy, my warm-up went well, things felt good. I was fully hydrated. I busted out one of my favorite dance moves: “the wetsuit groove.” (not my most graceful boogie.)
Headed down to the water. Ok, ok… I got in and did a decent warm-up. Back on the beach, the rest of the 1st wave and I congregated for the start. Minutes to go. And then, as my eyes examined some rather dark clouds… a bolt of lightning flashed across the sky. I heard something about a 10 minute delay.

And then the rains came. We’re talking RAIN. It fell, hard, and the lightening continued. Just picture a few hundred people, mostly clad in black neoprene, donning swim caps and goggles, huddled together under a pavilion. It was almost sad looking. But, I did have a good time catching up with Nicole, Forrest, Regina, and some other friends.

It rained, and rained, and rained. I suggested finding a slip-and-slide to set up in front of transition; see pic below. Come on, that would have been hilarious (and possibly good for my transition times?!)
Suddenly, after about 40 min of standing around in my wetsuit – the hydration kicked in. Ooo, needed to pee. It got to a painful state. Tracy and Katie told me to just “go.” And, I would have… but, Set Up was still deciding if the tri would go on, or if they would have to switch plans to a duathlon. AND, if this thing was going to become a duathlon, I did not want to have to strip off a wetsuit I’d just peed in. I waited for the call.

Finally, the rain subsided and the tri would go on. However, and this is a very noteworthy however: one of the roads was underwater. Consequently, they had to reroute the bike course – cutting roughly 4 miles (of a two loop course). Ouch! I pleaded to cut off some of the swim buoys. No such luck. We lined up at the start and awaited the call. Eminem’s “8 Mile” played in the back ground… and I jumped around like a football player in a huddle.

After a very long, rain filled wait – we were off. I swam hard, I might have peed, I tried in vain to keep up, I found myself alone, I missed my flippers, men from the next wave began to pass, I rounded buoys, I kicked… the end finally came into view. I pushed my body up onto the pier and looked at my watch. And let me please report that if you look at the results online, the swim times include a very long run to transition and T1.

Yes, the run to T1 was very long. I was “running,” while removing wetsuit, goggles, cap, all while trying to not fall down. Then I found her – Beyonce, my bike. I grabbed my trusty friend and headed out. After a swim like that, it always feels so good to pedal, get aero, and churn my legs.

Even though the loop was cut short, it was still fun and challenging. After leaving the park, you make some turns, go uphill for a few miles, pick it up over some rollers, and then fly downhill… and again. I’m not going to talk about going downhill at 40 mph coming up to a 90 degree turn with wet brakes. My family would not be happy.

The ride was fun. All that riding in the mountains paid off. As Chris passed me, I thought about the day I chased him up Caesar’s Head. Only a few guys passed me... I passed some people. It's all becoming a blur in my memory.

All too quick… well, a 55:30 bike split in an OLY dist race would be nice, but not so realistic. I moved into T2. Hello, my name is Ashley and I need to light a fire under my butt in transition. Finally got my soggy running gear situated and headed out. My legs could feel the hills I just climbed, but eventually I found a rhythm in my squishy shoes.

Not many people have talked about the humidity, but I think it played a small part. With so much rain in the am, and sun trying to come out, the air felt thick. I kept Tracy’s orange tank in sight. Then, moving at warp speed (the girl ran a 37:02), I saw the lead female coming back. Yowza. She rocked that course. After the turn around, Tracy and her orange moved a bit further away. I also saw 2 girls moving at a pretty fast rate on their way out (girls which had stared in a later wave).

I held steady on the way back. Coming up the incline toward transition, I saw Matt, Mendy, and Grace all yelling for me. I couldn’t help but smile, the finish was only a mile away. As we turned onto the grass/gravel part of the run… I rolled my ankle and yelled a rather inappropriate word (sorry to the man in yellow who was running next to me). I shook it off and sped up. Crossing the finish line felt fantastic – one race down, so many yet to come!

After the race I caught up with Matt, Hank, Sheila, G-man, the super stud female winner… and, just as we were packing up – the skies opened up yet again. Another MONSOON!! I lunged toward transition to get my stuff together. Unfortunately, moving around in such haste, I rolled that damn ankle again. Seriously. Shoot. That one hurt.

The rains continued, everyone huddled under the pavilion again, and they tried to call out awards over the loud downpour.

Me, Matt, Beyonce - all very waterlogged - got in the car for our sing-along style ride home. Matt had stocked up on peanut M&M’s (for me) and Reece’s Pieces (for him… hey, a good cheerleader deserves an award). We dashed back to Greenville, since he was going to try to get a ride in. I, however, spent the rest of the day resting, unpacking, and wringing water out of my gear.

Cheers to a great 2008 tri season!


Anonymous said...

After hearing about the MONSOON first hand, it sounds JUST as awful in your RR. Despite the conditions, you had a great debut 2008 race, Ash!! Onto the 1/2 IM - WOO HOO!!!! And, way to eat those Peanut M&Ms...oh yeah!!! xoxo Jen H.

Katie said...

I think it took longer to clean up everything after the race than the actual race! My transition bag is finally dry...

G-Man said...

According to my clothes and gear, it was more of a swim-swim-swim triathlon ;-) Hope your ankle is OK and good luck at Gulf Coast!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Hilarious!?! And it is totally wrong to see a python and think of me! What's next?? Congrats on a great debut tri for your season - you will kick a$$ at Gulf Coast. And I can't wait to cheer you on all day! Better bring along some more Peanut M&Ms.... I have a feeling that post-race we'll need them!

Thanks for making me laugh. Seriously!

Sally said...

What a race! Glad you survived and did so well. All the best the weekend. You're going to do great in the 1/2!!!


Sally said...

I LOVE the birthday wish to Sarah. XOXOX to the best daughters in the world.

Love, Mom

Danni said...

Great race report Ashley!!!
I would have chickened out if the conditions were like that. So much to learn...
I was looking at your 2007 schedule and I see you have done some of the races I will be attempting this year. Do you think we could get in touch so I can hear first hand what i will be up against this season? My email is dannikruse at gmail dot com.
Awesome start to your 08 season!

Mendy said...

You had a GREAT race! and I'm so sorry about your ankle. I loved reading your report. I relived the rainy day, although I was a spectator. Look forward to seeing you again soon.

Sent you some pics in email. Hope you like them.