Changes and a brief race report – Vail Pass TT

It’s been a few weeks of big changes around here. The kids finished first grade last week and we are transitioning to the summer schedule. For me that means 6 a.m. swims at the local pool several days a week and cobbling together a schedule that allows us to enjoy fun summer activities while also trying to figure out how to get my training in for the two 70.3s and two full Ironmans I have planned for this season.

The other big change is that Sonja and I have parted ways. This has been a big adjustment for me, and frankly, it is feeling like a loss in my life. Sonja and I had communicated on an almost daily basis for the past 14 months and we tried to get together to train a few times per month. I didn’t seek Sonja out as a coach to start. Really, I think I was looking for a friend and training partner. She was much more than just a tri coach to me and I am pretty sure I haven’t given her the credit she deserved for turning me into a triathlete. Much more than the physiological changes, she helped give me confidence by believing in me and probably more than anything, I learned by her example. She is an amazing athlete and an even more amazing person, and I am hopeful we will remain friends.

I have decided to go forward self coached. Well, sort of. Self coached with a lot of input from my husband, who has been a tri mentor to me for two years and is my most frequent training partner. He knows our daily commitments, the local weather, my training routes and my current fitness on any given day. I did my first two Ironmans without a coach, so it’s a place I’ve been before. More than anything, I am enjoying the freedom that comes from deciding my own schedule. I have never been an athlete who needs someone else writing me a schedule to motivate me. I believe the motivation is best if it is self-generated. There is no one else to turn to if the results aren’t what you were hoping for. It is just you.

On to the race report:

I did my second ever bike race yesterday. I had originally thought it was my first ever bike race, but I was apparently suppressing the memory of the Bear Creek TT series race I did in 2010. This was a little different. It was the same TT course the pros road in the US Pro Cycling Challenge last year. A route I have ridden countless times. I figured I was ready to give it everything I had and see what I was made of.

The start was a little nerve-wracking. Everyone went off at 30 second intervals off a ramp, sort of like at a pro race. There was a countdown and a few spectators watching. I was mostly concerned with making sure I was in the right gear since there was a steep uphill right after the start.

Excuse the lousy quality iPhone pic

I was a little intimidated by the crowd, but that’s typical for me. A lot of girls had TT bikes, but some had road bikes with clip-ons. Almost everyone had race wheels. Most people were wearing regular bike kits, but there were some speed suits, aero helmets and shoe covers. I had debated riding my road bike rather than the Illicito, but the first few miles of the course are flat and I wanted to take advantage of that. I also wanted to collect power data, even though that wheel is heavier than a regular training wheel. (Ooops! Now I’m making excuses).

I’ll make my actual report brief: I gave it a good effort, but it was hard. It was sort of like the 5K race I did a few weeks ago, except it lasted twice as long. Like that race, I was afraid I might lose control of my bodily functions. I had to reassure myself that even though my heart rate monitor was showing a scarily high number, I was not going to die out there. This effort level is scary for me and definitely outside my comfort zone.

I am easy to find in the results because I was almost last in my division. But, as Mark had to remind me, the point wasn’t to place well. It was to test myself on a route that I can easily repeat throughout the summer to measure my progress. Data was collected and lessons were learned.

A huge thanks to the Vail Teva Mountain Games for a fun weekend. We hadn’t been to this event in a number of years and we couldn’t believe the number of events and the great organization. There is truly something for everyone. Mark did the Vail Pass Half Marathon on Saturday and the kids did their first mountain bike race, which was no joke – the course was steep!

Kids could choose to do 1 or 2 laps of the course. This kid chose two.

We had a fun time watching some of the kayaking events, slack line competition and the kids’ personal favorite, Dock Dogs, a contest where dogs take a flying leap into a pool and are judged on the distance of the jumps.

We’ll definitely be back next year.

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