Race Report: DeSoto American TTT
What a weekend! For a complete overview of the race, click here, because I can’t even begin to describe what this race is all about! It’s exhausting even to think about it, so I’m only going to talk about it in highlights. Justin and I were ranked 33rd & 34th (HFP Racing figures out ranks based on your USAT ranking from the previous year), and there was one other coed team that was ranked higher than us (I believe they were in the high 20’s). This was a good place for us, since we didn’t want to be the targets. We were hoping that our similar swim and run splits would be an advantage, and that we could capitalize on Justin’s strong cycling skills (and my ability to hold with him in the draft J). We had read several articles/journals from folks that did the race in the past, so we did our homework and understood that this race needed to be treated as an ironman-distance race (i.e., don’t go anywhere near crazy for the first three races…). The venue was absolutely beautiful. We were given race singlets to wear for the entire weekend with our numbers, 33 and 34, on them. Nice shirts, but mine was pink (yuck). We had a motel approximately 30 minutes away (unfortunately), but at least it was cheap!
Race 1: Prologue: 250m Swim - 5 mi Bike - 1 mi Run
This was a quick race – 20 minutes! This race would not win the weekend, so we took it pretty conservatively. All of the swims for the weekend were time-trial format, which was great! We were introduced to the first of many, many, many hills for the weekend. I was the first woman, so I was able to earn some bonus time points for us. We made sure we got our massages and headed back to the motel after dinner for some rest.
Race 2: Individual Triathlon: 1500m Swim - 24.8 mi Bike - 6.55 mi Run
We arrived early enough to pick out awesome spots in transition again and got set up pretty quickly. Justin started his race, and then I started right behind him. We ended up exiting the swim together, and of course, he took off on the bike course, never to be seen again by moi, until the run turn-around. The hills and descents on the bike course were pretty fun, but I knew what I thought was charming initially would later turn into “evil” – and sure enough, I did get tired of the hilly bike courses as the weekend wore on! The run course was actually pretty nice, off-road and in the shade, generally, but with a few hills. We were both pretty happy with our races, and after the race, we pulled out our blanket and slept/rested until the third race. I ended up being the 2nd woman (by 3 seconds), but still earned some bonus time. Got our massages, happily!
This race started on the bike, in time trial format with your teammate. We had a great ride, but we realized later that we had gone too hard (major mistake). After the bike, we were in T1 helping each other maneuver the damn wetsuits on our sweaty bodies, but we managed it well enough. We did our two laps, during the swim, I began to fully appreciate what a tough weekend it would be. My arms were definitely telling me they were getting tired. We did our two laps around the buoys and exited to start the run…and the run was where it got really hard. Justin was having difficulties, and I wasn’t feeling superb, so we kept easing off to be able to finish the race and have something left for the next day. We finally reached the finish line, and Justin laid down…he was not doing well at all. He tolerated a massage, but pretty soon was throwing up. I loaded up the car and drove down to transition to carry him off to the nice bed back at the motel. I expected him to perk up pretty soon, but he was pretty sick and only wanted to crawl in bed. I got everything ready for the next day and got into the bed with him, trying to encourage him to eat (he had not been able to keep anything down for hours). It wasn’t until after that he was able to start eating. Thankfully, he was doing much better and was starting to think about the next day’s race, but I was incredibly worried because he should have been fueling up for the past six hours! He started eating slowly, but kept pushing food down every half hour or so until we had to get up…
Race 4: Team Triathlon: 1.2 mi Swim - 55.5 mi Bike - 13.1 mi Run
Justin seemed chipper enough, so we got everything together, loaded the bikes onto the car, and then proceeded to 1) back over my transition bag (which I had forgotten to actually load INTO the car, and 2) discover that the front right tire was completely flat because I hit a piece of metal in the road on the drive back from the race site the day before. Luckily, my bag and its contents were not too damaged, and we were able to change the tire quickly because we’d had plenty of practice recently trying to change our brake pads. However, we quickly discovered when we got to the race site that the race time had changed from the time we were expecting it to start – it was starting a half-hour earlier than we thought, so we essentially had 10 minutes to get set-up and pick up our chips and everything that you need to do before a half-ironman distance race! We did it, though, and I felt much better after 10 minutes into the swim. I had been so tied up worrying about how Justin would do and then dealing with the issues that we had to fix, it was almost a relief just to get racing again. We had a good swim, a decent T1 (our transitions were all pretty good), and headed out on the bike. We decided to back off on the bike a bit more than we originally had planned, and I pulled a lot more, as well. The course was two laps, and we had to pull into transition and switch our bike bottles (we stashed our own bottles), which went just fine. Despite easing off, we had a good ride. We both knew, though, that the run would be the serious obstacle to get through, so we took things very conservatively, stopping at the aid stations to get as much ice as possible to deal with the increasing temperature (and we’re told, humidity). It was such a relief to get through the first of the two-loop course. We went back and forth with another team that seemed to be dealing with issues of their own (one team member was having problems on the run). As the run wore on, we power-walked a few of the hills, but eventually we were out of the forest and could see the finish…we were comfortably ahead of the next team, so all we had to do was make it to the finish line! We did, and we were so happy…unfortunately, Justin’s stomach issues came back again, so I spent three hours talking to medics, watching him lay down on a cot, watching him throw up a bit more, trying to coax him to drink just a bit more, etc. Poor guy. He’s a trooper, and he recovered just in time to make it to the awards ceremony (once there, the pizza smelled really good to him, so he recovered even more taking little bites of pizza!). When we went up to get our award for the 1st place co-ed team, he said some wonderful things. I am terrible about being able to think on my feet, so I’ll say the things I wish I had thought of to say here…I have the most wonderful teammate in the world – the TTT experience is analogous to what life is…many, many, many uphills with lots of technical, fun descents, a long road at times that seems to go on and on...but it’s all achievable, especially with an amazing teammate who can provide encouragement and guidance with or without words. Seeing how sick he was made me really sick with worry – what if I woke up one day without him? He’s a part of everything in life that I love. Since each day we live is one day closer to the day that we die, I need to make sure that I remind him, each day, what he means to me.Race 4 Results
We loved the race, even with all of our issues, so we’ll be back…