From the title of this post, you can guess that my most recent race did not go so well. It was 100 degrees (according to my car) on the drive to the race. I get there, I ask to borrow a pump from the guy next to me, and then the disaster started. The pump would not release from my valvestem. I pulled and wiggled, and it would not come off. I returned to the owner of the pump and asked for help. He proceeded to rip the valvestem right off my tire. No biggie, I think, I have a spare tube, we will get it changed and be on our way. The trek tires are pretty much brand new, and did not want to come off or go back on, but we got it changed. I was hesitant to use the pump again, but by this time, there everyone who had parked near us had already made their way to the race. I tried the pump again, and I thought we were OK. It came off, and I had just started getting my stuff together. A few seconds later, we heard this hissing and then the loud POP of my tube exploding. Not only did it explode the tube, but it blew out the bead of my BRAND NEW TIRE.
I was almost crying. I had abandoned Ryan in our new house that he just got the keys to TODAY to drive 6 hours with the kids to do this race. Seriously??? I HAD to figure out how to fix this and FAST! I had lost a lot of time already. I didn't even have my packet picked up yet. I called Cristina frantic. She did not answer her phone. ARGH. We spoke on the way about how she had just swapped her "training wheels" for her race wheels. Maybe she had them in her car. We both ride 650s, so I thought she might have something that would help me. I called Kari, who she rode with, and she thankfully answered and handed the phone to Cristina. She did not have anything, but she was able to run over to the Two Wheel Tango bike support area and ask what they had. She asked if they had any spare tires and tube. There answer: The only spare tire we have is a 650. YEAH! I ran over to the tent as fast as I could. A friend from TIA, Anna, was in the parking lot and helped me wheel my poor bike to the tent. They let me just drop it off so I could get my packet picked up and do as much as I could while I waited for my bike. I got my packet and had been put in the elite wave. Fine. I had thought I would do this anyway, but with the issue at hand, I wasn't sure if I would need extra time, but I didn't really have time to change it anyway. I ran into Shelby (who was spectating today) while my bike was being fixed, and asked if Betsy or any of her spare parts were there, and unfortunately, not, and then ran back to check on my bike. Thankfully, I was able to get my bike back with about 10 minutes before transistion closed, and about 25 minutes to race start. Whew, so glad I could race, but I had this horrible cramp in my stomach that wouldn't go away from starting to cry when the incident started. I had great support from my friends and TIA teammates relaxing me, but I still felt like I wasn't really together.
I headed over to the water, which was 86 degrees, super warm. I made the last minute decision to race in my sports bra and shorts instead of my tri top/shorts to prevent some drag. I had a really bad swim, and can't imaging how bad it would have been had I not made the change! I was really bummed too because I actually "swam" the whole way again. Why is this making me slower? Ugh.
I got on the bike and I was just praying nothing bad would happen with my bike. Well, my bike was fine, except my water was hot and when I went to grab my gu from my fuel belt, the belt snapped open. Great, what was I to do with that now? I couldn't get my gu out and it had my number on it, which meant I couldn't chuck it, so it went down my sportsbra. I fiddled with it quite a bit, but overall, I had a decent bike. I did have several "verps", where I swallowed back some puke, but otherwise felt OK. I did run out of my hot water on the course, so that sort of sucked. I was just really looking forward to some water at the start of the run and finally getting to run.
I start the run and it pretty much felt like I was in a oven. There was no water in transition when I came through (there was later!!!!) and I had to run what felt like forever, but was really maybe a quarter or third mile up to the road for the first water stop. I walked through it, and took my gu that I had meant to take on the bike. I kept plugging along. The first mile is uphill, but there was some shade. I walked through the next water stop and drank too much water. I did not feel good. My pace slowed after the two mile mark and we started going uphill again. I could hear my stomach sloshing around. Ugh. It felt bad. I felt like I was going to puke. I stepped off the path and dry heaved, and then ran again for another few steps and then this time was for real. I stepped off the path and puked. I had a guy pass me and ask if I was ok, to which I answered yes, and continued running. That only lasted another couple steps before I had to stop again. This time, the guy who passed me said "that was awesome" and I started running back with him for a bit. It was amazing how much better I felt. I wished I would have just puked on the bike for real, and then maybe had a better run, or puked earlier.
I came accross the finish line looking and feeling pretty good, except my time was not so good. This was the first tri where I did not get a PR :( I knew it was bound to happen, and with everything that happened, I am just grateful that I was able to still race. You can imagine my surprise when the called my name for 5th place AG. They had some timing problems, so I doubted it. In fact, I was worried they had me starting in my AG wave instead of elite, because Colleen, who I had raced neck and neck with all last season, beat me today, and she did not recieve an award??? Turns out, they had her with the men, my time was correct, and they let me keep my 6th place AG award. I felt like I earned it, though, with the day I had. I will post some pictures soon. The award was pretty cool.
This was not really how I wanted to end my final tri in MI for a while, and my final tri of the season. I am not sure what my plans will be for the remainder of the year. I am looking forward to having fun race on Saturday, the Tree Farm Relay. It could be equally interesting, as I have not ridden my mountain bike in almost a year. Yikes! I have been riding high mileage on the road, so we will see how well my bike handling skills come back. It should not be a matter of fitness, more of skill. At least since it is a relay, if I have a major bike malfunction again, I can just use a teammates. Hopefully I have gotten all of my bike problems out of the way for this week!
Here's the killer, all of this could have been prevented had I brought my own pump OR brought my truck. I was going to pump my tires before driving in and realized, wait, I have to remove the rear wheel to get the bike in the car. My car is a mazda, and Ryan and I agreed that it would be a bad idea to have him take it to the Ford plant, even though it was built by Ford UAW workers in MI, and the truck would be helpful to him with moving. I left the pump for Ryan so he could get in a ride as a break for working on the house, figuring that there would be lots of people to help me. Whatever, what is done is done. I would also like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to Two Wheel Tango! They replaced my tire and tube FREE of charge! It was part of the service they provide at the race. I stopped in there yesterday to settle the bill and buy a new spare tube and they did not need me to pay for the new tire. At least that was good. This "free" race would have been mighty expensive!