Thursday, September 20, 2007

My day at the Butte..

So H and I drove down to Elephant Butte yesterday to scope the course. Now keep in mind all the riding I have done this week (100+ miles) and I was tired so this report could be skewed...i am trying to stay positive because NM has so few races I do not want to be the pessimistic athlete that trashes a course before the race even starts! So here goes (and BTW-all you people that decided to sit this one out and volunteer, I am jealous):

This is not one of those "Oh I think I'll do a little race this weekend" courses. Now you have to understand that this is me, a 53 year old middle of the pack athlete who has had her butt kicked a few times. So take it with a grain of salt (where does that expression come from anyway?):
It took us 2 hours and 15 min to get to the race venue from the big I. That included 2 bathroom stops.

The swim:
The first thing we got as we went into the park was a paper stating a WARNING about "blue-green algae" in the water and the potential hazards and symptoms. The park people didn't seem to worried about it, we told them we were there to swim. They just said stay away from anything "floating" in the water. Oh you mean I can't swallow that big green thing floating-darn! Ok, so I was a little freaked by that, but not too bad. I am sure in my life I have swam with BG algae at one time or another and lived. Supposedly is more harmful to dogs and children..So we made the decision to swim anyway. The water was clear, beautiful-temp around 76 degrees. H & I swam about a mile. No wind at that point, no waves-nice. Almost hot in my wetsuit.. So far no rash,hives,abdominal pain,vomitting or dizziness..

Transition area: It is about a 75 yard run, uphill, in the sand to get to T-1. We ran into the RD while we were there, who is VERY nice and we chatted awhile. She said there would be someone there to hose off our feet at T-1 and some carpet up the ramp..

Bike: Well the transition area is quite a ways down a hill from the main road. As you can see from my bike profile, the first thing you do is ride up a fairly steep road. It is short but breathless at the top. Then you head out the road for the 25+ bike. Now one of the things that makes it tough is that almost the whole course is new black asphalt. So it is bumpy and tarry in places. Not the kind of bumpy that is a bad road, but that constant bump,like riding over gravel, only easier. The first 10 miles of the bike are rollers, some sort of steep but very short-doable, not too bad. The road is winding around the canyon. Then downhill into a canyon-the scenery is beautiful really, with the lake to you right, mountains all around..Then at mile 11 comes (for me), the "challenging" part of the course. There is a .2 mile hill that is at least 12% grade. Now maybe I was tired or whatever, but I will admit I walked this one at some point. This is where I said "Oh, sh$^&%t! Maybe this is more than I can handle. Then the hill keeps going, not as steep but still hard. This goes on for about 2 miles. Oh and the wind had started blowing really hard by now so the what I call "Mini Heartbreak Hill" had a head wind too. We got into some sticky asphalt after that which sucked. I sure hope that is somewhat dried by the race (10 days). So we thought from mile 16, it was flat and downhill, right? Well, the direct headwind by now was about 25-30 MPH so we were SLOW going back too. At one point I looked at my speedometer and I was going 11 MPH and peddling as fast as I can. It was hot-bring water!! Although the RD said there would be 2 aid stations on the bike.. The downhill didn't feel very downhill at all at the end but I know it is by the profile. It was hard to go aero on the bumpy road, but maybe that's just me..

T-2: VERY downhill into the T-2 as expected.

We didn't run the course but the first part is in the dirt (think Farmington) but I think this is only about a half mile or so. Then there is a big hill down and over the dam (It was closed to cars so we didn't drive it). So that means the last part of the run willl be UP..

This looks like a really challenging Oly course...Think I will be taking this one easy since Soma is a month later. Finally NM has another "challenging" race to rival Farmington. If it eventually becomes a half IM, it will rival Buffalo Springs..That is pretty cool!

I pray for only light wind on race day (enough to keep you cooler but not knock you offf your bike)..

Now to be honest the whole bike took me 2:15. I am hoping to break 4 hours on this one. My expectations have dropped of doing a PR. I would rather be fresh for Soma a month later..

I will leave my pride in Albuquerque..

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Random News..

1. Hartley's mom is OK. 86 years old-no one can believe she is that old-she looks very young for her age. She has beaten ovarian cancer. Now she is home on blood thinners to dissolve the clot they accidentally found in her leg that would have probably killed her. Her spirit to live and be healthy is nothing short of a miracle. She has nine lives so seven more to go. She is my inspiration for the new woman in her 80s!

2. Hartley and I are headed down to Elephant Butte tomorrow to check out the "Elephant Man" Olympic race course. The race is on the 30th of Sept. so will be interesting how the difficulty is, etc..

3. I have ridden 140 miles in the last 6 days. Now that is a first for me in a very long time and by golly I actually feel faster and better recovered. So take THAT for turning 53!! (my birthday was yesterday) The age gods cannot get me. I can only get faster!!

4. Speaking of age defiance, I am going to a Styxx and Scorpions concert tomorrow night at the Journal Pavilion with my 28 year old daughter Heather. Yes-I am one of those annoying middle aged moms who wears hip clothes and tries not to breathe in too much so I don't get high from the pot fumes (I think they call it weed now). We have 4th row seats! Thank goodness she is not embarrassed by this because Heather & I have rocked before together. It is SOOOOO much fun! Heather is the type of person it is really hard not to have a pretty good time around her when music or gambling is involved :)

5. Gosh someone asked me if I ever get bored these days not working. The answer is a resounding "NO". Maybe that will change down the line but there is so much for this Virgo to do!! Not enough time to organize everything no matter how much time..

6. We went to the NM Outlaw picnic on Sunday (check out the cool Outlaw chics). I love seeing all my buddies I have actually known for several years now. You know triathletes are the most incredibly nice people on the planet? Seriously, I have always had a good time in these situations, at races, meeting new tri friends. And they all look good too! The picnic ended kind of suddenly when my friend Mark's little son broke his arm on the jungle gym. Boy, I remember those days-my daughter got hit in the nose with a baseball bat about that age. She is almost 30 now so it really sucked but no permanent damage. My other daughter was running a fever of 103 degrees at the same time. Two doctor visits within 4 hours-ahh those were the days.. As for Mark's son-poor little guy-he must be scouting a cool cast by now..

Monday, September 17, 2007