Last year after the Desert Tri race I stated, “never again”. You would have thought I learned how volatile the desert can be after crazy wind before the race, rain during the race and even snow on the drive home last year!
But no, I was swooned by our new RV that we wouldn’t have any problems race camping this year. This held true as it was amazing sleeping in the RV as you only felt the rig move during the 50 mph wind gusts! What I wasn’t thinking about is racing in those conditions!
Before I get into race details, we started the weekend off by heading to Palm Desert Friday morning to meet up with my in-laws and my mom and her husband Bill. What an extra bonus of a race camping weekend having our family with us and catching up on the months we have been apart. My husband’s parents drove from Boise on their way to an AZ trip and my parents drove from Minnesota during part of their AZ road trip. So thankful for their love and support and enduring the race day elements to cheers us on. We were also able to cheer on our friends and team mates during the Sprint triathlon on Saturday, great weather conditions!
The weather forecast for race weekend looks promising. Warmer temps during week but cooling down to the 70s on Sunday and winds not picking up until 1 p.m. Unfortunatly mother nature had other plans and the high winds and gusts started at 8 p.m. on Saturday night and lasted through about 8 a.m. race morning. Over night expo tents ended up in the lake and the porta potties tipped over.
Athletes waited around transition Sunday morning as the organizers provided updates and finally official confirmation that the race would start, just a little behind schedule.
I was in the fifth swim wave and was happy the winds had calmed down. When our wave started I dove right in at the front of the line and tried to think about all the sprint/hard masters sets I’ve done recently. It took me a bit to get in my rhythm as I think my head got a little out of race mode with the potential of the race being cancelled. Once I got past that it was an uneventful swim.
Efficient transition onto the bike. Since the race started late I put focus on a steady effort on the bike and getting calories down my neck so I’d be ready for the run. Fortunately I didn’t experience any wind gusts on the ride, just some head winds for some leg strength work.
Quick transition from bike to run. I was looking forward to start the run as I knew during the first mile I would see my family and friends cheering us on at the equestrian campground! Their cheers and encouragement was just what I needed to put in the effort to push myself on the run. I tried to enjoy a couple miles of tail winds and then laugh to myself when I’d turn into a headwind that would push you back.
I noticed during the race that I didn’t see any 40-44 female racers while I was on the bike or run. When I got out of the swim I heard a friend yell that I was the 2nd pink cap out of the water so it made sense on the bike and no females passed me on the 1st loop and only one passed me on second loop but I didn’t know her age or if she was on her first or second lap. Same thing on the run I didn’t see any age body marking, why did I have 41 on my calf?! I was pushing through the last headwind run stretch and merged left to cross the finish line when out of no where a girl sprinted past me (I was sprinting too) and sure enough she was a 40-44 age grouper! I swam and biked faster than her but she was a stronger runner and grabbed 3rd place by 2 sec. over me.
My family and friends were there at the finish to cheer me through. My husband and I checked out the results and saw that I had missed 3rd place by 2 sec. We watched my Groove Tri teammate Jenny receive her Elite podium award and then we went back to the camper to pack up and head home happy with both having solid races.
Fast forward to Monday, the original 1st place 40-44 times were removed (there was a question on the posted swim time) which moved me up to 3rd* place! Nice surprise to kick off the 2016 race season! Now two more weeks of building volume then taper for Oceanside 70.3 on April 2!
Results: 3rd* place 40-44 female AG out of 23 that finished
Swim 27:04 (fasted 40-44 female time, thanks Coach Hux!)
Bike: 1:10:52 (3rd bike AG)
Total time: 2:35:38
*Looks like results keep changing so subject to final decision by race organizers and timing chip provider