Monday, June 18, 2012

so, that didn't go as planned...

aka 3 signs from the universe that I was not supposed to race the Boise 70.3.  boo.

Pre-race, everything was fine and dandy.  Driving up to Boise on Thursday was uneventful.  The fun part of the drive was seeing other tri-dorks along the way.  We saw 3 outfitted SUVs, all of which passed us.  I really didn't know that there was a race BEFORE the race.  Interesting.  The first SUV, carrying 2 bikes on the roof and 4 on the back, was very friendly and waved excitedly.  The second SUV was friendly.  The third SUV didn't even waive back.  Lame.

Our family friend Rob was staying with us at the ranch pre-race and he and I went to packet pick-up together.  The side mission was to meet with my relay-runner, switch our entries from individual to relay, and give his wife's friend her bike.  Yes, I got convinced to drive a random person's bike up to Boise.  They called me on Wednesday (3 days before the race) panicked because she didn't have a way to get her bike up for the race.  Maybe I'm a planner or OCD or something, but shouldn't you have that worked out a bit sooner than 3 days before the race?

My relay runner seemed ok, maybe a bit devoid of a sense of humor.  His wife was bossy and completely devoid of a sense of humor.  Random bike girl was really nice. 

Prior to packet-pick up I wanted to ride a part of the course, just to make sure my bike was shifting ok.  I wanted to ride up the big hill on Pardise Valley Road, but there was a lot of heavy equipment traffic and no shoulder.  So I decided to ride 10 Mile Road, same as in 2010.  Things were sunny and pretty windy.  I remember yelling to Mother Nature to "BRING IT".  I really need to quit doing that because she really does bring it.  After that, we headed over to packet-pickup.  I was wearing my boot and got a ton of raised eyebrows.  Then we had a really random lunch at some bistro ala carte restaurant before hitting the athlete meeting.  Then after the athlete meeting, we headed up to Lucky Peak to rack out bikes.  I had intended to do some swimming, but the weather was getting crappy and I decided that a 15 min splash in some cold water really wouldn't make or break my swim the next day.  Also: I had spent WAY too much time on my foot and it was starting to hurt.
look, its sunny and dry!
The weather report for race day did not look fabulous.  Cold, rain early on, and some wind.  Like ~15 mph.  Warming up at about the time for the race start.  Not great, but not horrible.  I didn't really pack any warm-weather gear.  I had my SunRype kit, my matching jacket, my windproof training jacket, calf sleeves, and shortie cycling gloves.  I considered bringing my winter cycling gloves but never in a million years could I have conceived of needing them, so I left them at home.

I hop on the 10:30 shuttle bus to Lucky Peak and they drop us off at 11:00.  Weather forecast was wrong, and in the not pleasantly suprised kind of way.  45 degrees, 20 mph winds, rain, 35 degree windchill.  Damn.  I am frozen and wet and grossly underdressed.  Even a trash bag would have helped.  People are instantly putting on their wetsuits to stay warm, but I need to use the bathroom and didn't want to wrestle with the wetsuit in the port-o-can, so I waited to put my wetsuit on.  As I waited in a ridiculously slow line, I saw people huddled around trees, closed up in the gear drop moving van, hiding in port-o-cans.  While I'm in line, they announce that the bike is cut from 56 miles to 14 miles due to high winds.  Instantly, the transition area went from one of buzzing with (cold) promise to delfated quietness.  I myself was wondering if the race was really worth it, now that the bike was hardly anything.

even the sun on my kit couldn't keep me warm

At this point, its been about an hour and I'm frozen.  In the port-o-can line I just got colder and colder.  I remember standing there and watching the drizzle float, wondering what the hell I was doing there. 

After the pit-stop, I wrestle with my wetsuit.  Its awful.  My hands are numb and I'm shivering.  I'm seriously wondering how I can handle being out in the elements for another 60+ minutes and decide to find the warming tents that the RD's promised would be at the swim exit.  I wander over and all I can find is the medical tent.  This tent has 4 warming beds, 2 heaters (one of which was broken), 2 chairs and ~10 very concerned medical volunteers.  They are actually pretty pissed that they decided to not cancel the swim as well and I heard multiple times that they were very afraid of being overwhelmed by hypothermic people.

I was in the medical tent as the anthem was sung.  The wind was even worse and and it seemed like it was raining harder.  No one looked happy.  After 25 minutes of sitting next to the heater inside the tent, and I'm still shivering uncontrollable.  Not a tremble, but full on shaking with poor motor control.  Will finally found me inside the tent.  They brought in one poor woman who was fresh from the water and hypothermic.  She stood there, shaking, while they stripped her of her wetsuit and laid her in a heating bed.  She looked awful.  I knew then that I was headed down that path and that I did not want to end up like that.  At the 25 minute mark, the lead medical volunteer looked at me and said that they simply didn't have room for me to stay inside and warm.  They had very limited space and could only take in people who were coming out of the water.  At that point, I was still shaking and had probably 45 minutes before my wave was supposed to start.  I knew that if I raced, I could probably make it through the swim (assuming I wasn't so fatigued from shivering that I could still swim).  What scared me was coming out of the cold water (58 degrees) into the cold and wind, then riding my bike downhill at 35 mph.  I wasn't sure I would be able to feel my hands or control my bike and was very afraid of crashing.  At this point, with the bike cut down to 14 miles, I had nothing to prove.  I was already broken and didn't need to break anything else.  I looked at Will as we left the medical tent and found someone so I could turn my chip in.

Yes, I turned my chip in.  For the first time ever.

I had to sneak into transition to resuce my gear (which had both of my jackets) and my bike.  I still had my wetsuit on and put the jackets on OVER the wetsuit.  Then we hung out and watched the pros take off on the bike.  To my utter shock, the pros were wearing their wetsuits on the bike:

After the pros left, we made our way down to a car, then down to T2 and the race finish.  Then to our cousin's hotel room at the finish for a long, hot shower.  I swear, I didn't warm up until much later that day.

In the end, I know I made the right call.  Broken heel, reduced bike, hypothermia.  I should have probably taken the broken heel and scratched the race, but I'm stubborn, so the universe had to give me two more chances to make the right decision.

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