HITS Napa Olympic Race Report

What?!? Yes, that’s right. I raced. Let’s discuss.

Sunday, April 14. Lake Berryessa. Link to HITS Napa Valley event
Aside from the normal training, I did take a visit up to the area to check out the bike course. The route we did that day included a missed turn, so we didn’t preview that much of the course, but enough for me to see that road conditions were mixed and that I needed to be able to deal with constant rollers and an exposed run course.
  • Water temperature pretty cool (I’ve read water temps were either 53 or 63, going with 63 – cold, but not miserable). Lake was fairly calm, some breeze.
  • Some wind on the bike – was hoping for more of a tailwind on the way back. Of course, that never happens!
  • Air temp was probably in the low to mid 80s. Warm, sweaty, but manageable for a shorter race.
Taper = minimal. I rode an easy 20 miles on Saturday, but otherwise left my training week the same. The race was definitely not supposed to be a major event in my tri season.
Wave 1 – men 39 and under, wave 2 – men 40 and older, wave 3 – all women. Big group, but not terrible. I started out to the side to avoid the fast swimmers, but not in the way back with the newbies. Two loops, double the sprint course that went off right before the Olympic. New to me – getting out of the water after the first loop. Yeah. That was rough. Kind of a traffic jam at the exit, and then the re-entry to the water required a bit of a mental kick. I found myself really kind of battling my wetsuit (since I haven’t worn it in a while) and sucking in a lot of air and water, rather than breathing calmly. Got popped in the jaw by some dude’s elbow towards the end. Pleasant.
Time: 33:02. Pretty normal.
OUCH. The gravel was really sharp and seemingly endless. Very few really good T1 times. Transition area was ordered alphabetically, so no idea of where I was with my AG. No socks, no gloves, just wetsuit off, helmet, glasses, gels in pockets, squirt of a half a Gu and water in my mouth. One bottle on my bike.
Time: 2:41
Fairly constant rollers. Couple aero opportunities. Out and back course. Warm. I choked down a half a gel at some point, but barely had any of my drink (Perform, in prep for IM LT) during the ride. Stomach wasn’t feeling great. Had a group of a few grumpy men and nice lady that I passed on the ascents and then got passed on the flat/down. Pretty standard issue for me. (Even though I really did not brake much at all on the descents!) Was hoping to see an average in the 18-20mph range. Barely made it.
Time: 1h22m, 18.1 mph
Since my tender little toes were covered by bike shoes, T1 was much easier.
Time: 1:25
Now much stomach was REALLY pissed off and felt like a big weight in my gut… but my legs? They felt GREAT. Over the out and back, gradual up and down and up and down course, my legs, thankfully won the battle over my stomach. The long, slight downhill to the turnaround was mentally fatiguing, as I was dreading the uphill return – but the return part was all about just finishing so I could calm down enough to loosen my twisted stomach. (Thank you to Super Dave for the TUMS in the transition area after it was all over.)
Time: 47:57, 7:43 min/mile
2:47:15. 3rd place award in my AG. Very surprised and very happy. A nice welcome back to triathlon after taking last year off.
Props out to…
Steve, for leaving at dark o’clock… 3:30am… to go to the race with me.
Heather, Mary, Rachel, and Don for going to Lake Berryessa the week before for a little preview – and not yelling at me when I made a wrong turn immediately out of the transition area.
HITS for altering their policy to allow for same-day packet pick up
Wildflower Long Course on May 4.

Kindness in the transition area

Race report and training updates and schedule – on the to do list. But for now, a race morning story to say happy Friday. 

Transition area. Dark o’clock. HITS Napa on Day 2, which means there’s an Olympic and a Sprint race. The Olympic area seemed pretty evenly split between newbies and people with a fair amount of experience. 
My bike was racked in the back and I’m getting all set up. Kind of wish I had brought the bike pump to the transition area, kind think my tires are probably okay. I look across the area to see if anyone had a floor pump handy. No… but there’s a group of people huddled around someone who’s pumping up their tire with a hand pump. Um… not going to work.
I ask my darling boyfriend (gold star for being there with me at the aforementioned dark o’clock) to get the floor pump and ask the hand pumper if she wants to borrow a floor pump. At first, she’s reluctant. No… it’s okay, they got it. Finally, she decides yes, she would like to borrow the floor pump, but wants me to come with her to help her do it. Ah, newbie. Okay. So I go over with her and walk her through putting the trusty yellow Joe Blow pump on her tire, etc. She says that her tire goes up to 120 psi. I looked at her and said, “Oh, smaller people don’t need to go all the way up to that, that’s just the max. I use between 90-100 psi. Maybe try that? It’ll be a little smoother ride.” This woman – this triathlete – looked at me like she was about to cry, but also with a HUGE smile. “Did you just call me a smaller person? I just lost 70 pounds.” And then she called for a friend of hers, “Donna, this lady just called me a small person. Can you believe that?” 
I was so thrilled to have made this woman’s morning that I was sure the happiness would get me through the swim. A fabulous, unexpected delight and a reminder that our words are very important!