Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wildflower '07

Second hardest athletic event I have ever completed. (I think it'll be a while before I can top the Birkebeiner ski marathon from February, but this was definitely the hardest triathlon ever for me). As we all kept talking about how challenging the bike course was, all I could respond was, "yeah, but how beautiful was that 360 degree view from the top of Nasty Grade?!"
The swim was a little choppy, but I felt really strong, so I was surprised when I found out my swim split was actually pretty slow for me. Oh, well. I got on my bike and then it got really bad.
I'm sure you heard that it was hilly. You heard right. Nasty Grade was a single climb that took me 29 minutes of stand/spin/stand/spin in my smallest gear to summit. We had driven it the day before, so we kind of knew what to expect, but it's different on your bike than in the car.

Once you are up there, though, all around you can see rolling hills, wild horses milling around under trees, deer foraging... That made it worth every pedal stroke, if you ask me.

I still haven't checked my official time, but TriNick txt'ed me that I had a 36 min swim; 3:30 bike; 2:21 run, so I must be somewhere around 6:30:00. Which is my PW (personal worst) for the half iron-distance, but I'm just happy to be alive right now.

Before I left Minneapolis, I had to decide which wheels to bring, and since I already had a cog set on my disc I just brought that. Huge mistake. I should have transferred a cog to a 404. But being inherently lazy, I just threw my disc in the box. So I was one of MAYBE 20 or 30 people who had disc wheels on (out of 9000).
The gusts were downright adrenaline-gushing-frightening. Even the steady non-gusting wind had me swerving all over the road. I kept apologizing to people. I had to sit upright and ride the brakes all the way down the hills, because if I picked up any speed over 30 mph I'd start losing control of my bike. Each of the 3 times I heard the ambulance I knew I had done the right thing by braking the whole way. When I coasted into transition, my brakes were screeching, because I literally had no pads left. It was ugly, but I was still alive. Praise God. And this time I really mean it!

I was so happy to be on the run, which was also hilly, but also very scenic as it was a trail run. The cheering was really nice from the spectators, and it seemed like the run was over pretty quick. Well, if you think 2:21 is quick. It seemed faster, just like the swim did. Hmmm. I need to manage my technical equipment better.

Anyway, the weekend was fun mostly because I got to meet so many of my blogger buddies. Iron Kahuna was the ultimate host. Thank you, friend.
Here are a few pics:

First we had to get on the plane. Before that, TaconiteBoy had to relinquish his "bludgeoning tool".

TriMama and IronJenny salute you with a toast. Um, we seem to have a lot of these pictures... ;-)

IronKahuna takes us for a walk on the pier where he was a lifeguard.

Then he took us to see his friend who has a nationally syndicated radio show. His name is Hugh Hewitt and he suprised us by interviewing us live on the air about triathlon and current events. It was fun!

Iron Wil and Curly Su at camp.

TaconiteBoy and Trimama set up their bikes.

Trimama on a warmup ride.

Greyhound on the ride. We cruised over to the other camp to see the other TriBloggers....

... and this is who we found!!! Bolder and Roman and the other RaceAthletes.

At Bolder's camp we saw this tent, which was Neoprene Wedgie's, that had a sign on it that said, "Iron Kahuna and Iron Wil - where are you?" It had a poster and a Sharpie marker on a string asking for our cell number to hook up with us. He came over later, so we got to meet him, too.

Iron Wil and I posed for a picture of CAF athlete Sarah Rinertson. Yes, I do know I look like a giant next to her!

Iron Wil hanging out in the RV.

Stronger demonstrates how to be the most popular girl at camp.

Greyhound wakes up to enjoy the sunrise. Check out our campsite. Thankfully there weren't any bears around. Boomer did say he heard wild pigs, and sure enough - there were candy bars that were half eaten with the wrappers still on, etc...

TriBoomer and me at camp. I just love this selfless, kind, natural born leader.

Curly Su out on the run course of the Oly. This is one of the sweetest and cutest (and talented) girls you will ever meet! I would be so proud to see Ally grow up to be just like her.

Stronger rocked the Olympic course. I think she looks so much better than the girl she is walking next to...

Kahuna, IronJenny, Stronger and her brother Chris wait for Iron Wil to cross the finish line.

It was a really fun weekend, but I think I don't need to camp again. That part was a lot of work. I loved getting to meet some of my favorite bloggers, though. I really enjoyed all of you and hope we can all meet up again for a race in the future. I'll make the hotel reservations... ;-)