My kids recently asked me to find a song for them on Spotify, Don’t Let Me Down (by The Chainsmokers). It is a song that turns out to be quite catchy and one the kids and I like to dance to (my poor husband, he isn’t a fan). So during the Tahoe Triathlon the song was stuck in my head, especially during the run. Which was very appropriate because I was basically singing it to my body, hoping it wouldn’t break down on me. Speaking of my race….
Since this was a last minute decision to race we didn’t have a place to stay Saturday night. So I thought logically “it’s just Tahoe, I can go the morning of.” Well it turns out it is a two-ish hour drive to Sugar Pine State Park and morning check-in for this race was between 5:30-6:00am! Which meant we were going to need to get up at 3:00am, leave by 3:30am, dragging our two kids along. I mean, what could go wrong? But we did it and everyone got in the car without complaining and promptly back fell asleep (including me! nice to have hubby driving). Just don’t ask about later that day, not quite as smooth. But that’s a different story.
I checked in and set-up transition in the dark. All the smart athletes had headlamps, but since apparently I’m not one of those I just felt around in the dark and did my best to set out all my stuff. Transition was on a grassy area up high above the water. I was told that if I’m cold coming out of the water, the extremely steep hill up to the bike will warm me up. Great.
The swim, words can hardly describe the beauty of the swim. Lake Tahoe is the most crystal clear water you’ll ever swim in. When I swam to the first buoy I could see the long rope holding it to the ground, I didn’t have to lift my head to turn around the buoy… in fact I almost dove under the buoy! Which is legal to do if you go around the rope holding it, but I didn’t want to take any chances that the race officials might think I was cutting the course so I stayed on the surface. I was alone for the majority of the swim except when passing swimmers from earlier waves. After rounding the 2nd to last buoy there was an enormous boulder I swam over, it felt like I was flying. So beautiful.
Transition was steep running up steps then a steep grassy knoll to our bikes. My husband yells out “Remember this is a training race!!” … I have ITU World Championships coming up and I think he really didn’t want me to push too hard and hurt myself. He knows me well, I made sure to be careful!
Getting on my bike I ran through sand/dirt so my feet were so dirty! During the ride I would look down and just see my grungy dirty feet! Besides that the ride was beautiful, and hilly!! And longer than advertised. I thought turnaround would be at 11 or 12 miles but it ended up being a little past 13 miles. And I had also thought there would be water on the course, there wasn’t. I had my FLUiD with me but I was craving water. So I forced down the electrolytes thinking there is at least some hydration in there. I also ate a few shot bloks. And everything turned out fine! After the turnaround a gal and I kept leapfrogging, I would beat her on hills (up and down) and she would catch me on the flats. I could hear her coming when she would shift to her big ring… there was a distinct “clink” and in my head I would think “Dang it there she is again!” … my bike (I was on my road bike since my TT bike is being shipped to Cozumel) was having issues shifting to the big ring so it would take me a little bit of time to fiddle with it and get back up to speed. But it would eventually shift back up and I would catch her again when a hill came. It was a fun distraction and we would say words of encouragement each time one of us got passed by the other.
I was worried my dirty feet would slow my transition by needing to clean them off, but the grassy transition did the trick! I hung my bike, threw my shoes on, and ran out. The run, like the rest of the course, was beautiful!! Some single track, some trail with views of the lake, we ran through Sugar Pine campgrounds (campers cheering for us!), and ran some of the trails where the 1960 Olympic biathlon race took place. It was a hilly tough run that ended up being a bit over 7 miles. I had the “Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me down” stuck in my head. I kept the pace steady and pushed when I could. My body didn’t let me down!
I ended up 2nd overall and 1st in my Age Group. It was a great race and I’m so thankful to my husband and kids for being there and cheering me on. Also thanks to Kirsten & Sydney Lewis of WeTri for your cheers! Congrats on all your successes the day before! Thanks to my Freeplay team, team Freeplay leader and my coach Stephanie, and all our amazing sponsors. Next up Cozumel Mexico for ITU World Championships!