Monday, July 30, 2012

Seattle Century Race Report

Kim, Ashley and I did the Seattle Century ride hosted by Portland Bike Club.  They have a 50 mile, 85 mile and 100 mile option.  Some quick details of the 100 mile option.

Distance: 99 miles
Elevation: + 5189 / – 5496 ft
Climbing Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult*

Our stats based on my bike computer:

Distance: 99.35 miles
Time: 7:35:50
Max Speed: 39 mph (not my PR)
Average Speed: 13.3 mph

Race map and elevation profile

The race start was at Magnuson Park where we met at 6am.  The race was a fully catered race which started with breakfast at the start line, then deli sandwiches on Dave’s Killer bread (yum!), pie from Remlinger Farms, strawberry shortcake, and ended with chicken and salmon dinner and unlimited free beer (more on this later).

Race start
At the first rest stop another ride asked us if our matching outfits were intentional.  They were.  Thanks to UW crew free gear. 

At the second rest stop (~30 miles in) Kim realized that she busted a spoke on her back wheel.  While there was support at each stop, Kim was so overdue for a tune-up (and new brakes!) that one of the volunteers just took a pair of pliers and tucked the loose end to try to alleviate some of the noise making.  This of course caused a significant wiggle in Kim's wheel and he suggested that we do the 85 miler and not do the optional 15 mile add-on.  We said we would think about it.

When riding, I always get a song stuck in my head and it just loops over and over.  To most, this would probably drive you nuts, but oddly enough, it doesn't really bother me, unless the song is not something I want circling in my mind for hours.  About a 1/3 of the way into the ride, there was a break in the clouds as the sun attempted to come out (and it did later, turning into a beautiful day).  This break in the clouds and seeing my shadow on the road beside me prompted me to think of Annie, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.  So, for the next few hours, that song played on repeat in my head.

I told the girls about this habit of mine, of which Kim particularly enjoyed and decided to give me a new song, The Motherf___g Pterodactyl.  This is a comic written by a local comedian/artist who is super funny, The Oatmeal.  Well, lets just say as soon as she mentioned this song, it was stuck in my head.

Within a few minutes, I was asking Ashley to provide me a new song (because you can only sing about a pterodactyl ripping you a new one so long), an easy gospel song to sing along with.  For those who do not know, Ashley is an amazing singer (currently recording in a studio actually!) and whenever we hang out she (oh so nicely) obliges our repeated requests to sing something.  At this time we had picked up another rider who was unaware of the private concert he was about to witness.  On a back road on the way back from Snoqualmie Falls, Ashley starts belting out He's Got the Whole World In His Hands and Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Loved it!

Snoqualmie Falls (61 miles)

As soon as we dropped from the falls, we climbed into Issaquah up a monster hill that has a fake descent in the middle that tricks you into believing the climb is over, but its not.  During this hill, I kept alternating our names (Steph & Ash, Ash & Kim, Kim & Steph) and sang He's Got the Whole World In His Hands in my head on repeat.  I think it helped.

At this point we knew the biggest climbs were behind us and we were back in familiar territory and on familiar roads.

At mile 95, Kim was leading the way (usually I lead in biking and she leads in hiking) and I was about to slingshot up a hill and as I came up on her I challenged her to the top.  I won by a hair, but it was more fun to be able to still have that type of energy at 95 miles.

Finish line!
We finished and quickly loaded our bikes on our bike racks, changed into flip flops and headed for food.  We quickly inhaled chicken teriyaki, salmon, salad and veggies.  There was a live band and table/chairs set up which was a great way to end the race in the sunshine.  Unfortunately, as Kim and I searched for the beer section (Ashley doesn't like beer) we realized that they set up the beer garden inside of the building, rather than making a separate section outside in the sunshine, with the live band.  After eating we walked inside to get our (unlimited) free beer.  They told us they were out of Co2 for the kegs and they told us to wait a few minutes as they got "more."  We assumed, "more" was more Co2 for the tasty beer.  However, we saw someone walk in with cases of PBR and Rolling Rock.  Their solution to running out of Co2 was to buy crappy beer.  Disappointed, we strolled over to the merchandise to see if there was anything fun to buy.  Ashley got a cute shirt and all three of us got cute biking pint glasses.  As I was waiting to buy my pint glass, I was chatting with a volunteer and expressed my disappointment at the crappy beer.  He turned out to be someone who ran the race and gave me the pint glass for free, which was very nice and unneccessary.  We grabbed some beers, sat down inside and drank them quickly so we could head home and shower.

Overall, the race was really fun and I liked doing a race course that I haven't done before.  Outside of the beer at the end I really liked it and loved experiencing it with some great friends.

*Climbing difficulty is a sliding scale is based on the following criteria: Easy: Gently rolling terrain with few short hills. Moderate: Has rolling short steep hills or moderate, sustained climbs. Difficult: Has longer, steeper hills or extreme terrain with frequent steep hills and long sustained climbs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Seafair Sprint (but we thought it was Olympic) Relay Triathlon Race Report

.5 mile swim (Steph) - 13.30
12 mile bike (Heather) - 36.12
5k run (Aarthy) - 24.36

Going on 2.5 hours of sleep, I woke up Sunday morning at 4:30am for the Seafair Triathlon.  As my knee is in pretty bad shape these days, I was only doing the swim leg of a relay.  Heather would be doing the bike and Aarthy the run.

I showed up at the park around 5:15am with plenty of time for a warm-up before the anticipated 6am start time.  Well, as we were a relay group and Heather kindly picked up all our packets the day before, I was not able to get into the transition area until she showed up.  I don't think Josh enjoyed my 5:30am call to see if she was on her way as Heather's phone was dead.

Waiting outside of the transition entrance I was able to gawk at all of fancy bikes and gear many people had.  I ran into Rusty Pruden who was assisting a legally blind triathlete and chatted with them for a bit.  Amazing.
Aaron and Rusty at the finish

Heather and Aarthy joined me and we set up in the relay section of transition.  As we were chatting with others, we soon learned a few things.
  1. The relay triathlon was only a sprint distance, not olympic distance
  2. The relay start wasn't until 8am (currently around 6am)
  3. Try to stay warm for the next 2 hours
So we watched all of the olympic waves start, waited 23 minutes, then the sprint waves started.  I got a tiny warm-up, just enough to get wet and get moving.  They grouped us with the men 40-49 age group.
As I am a decent swimmer, I am used to getting a jump start and having some space in the swim leg of triathlons.  As we rounded the first buoy and I was still fighting my way through, I remembered that this was a relay and that all the swimmers out there are good swimmers, hence their reason for doing that leg of the relay. 

Since I have started regularly doing triathlons, I have trained my body to put a lot more effort in my pulling, rather than kicking as you need your legs for the bike and run.  I quickly had to focus my efforts in reminding myself to kick, and kick hard as this was .5 mile sprint.  I originally had hoped (when we thought we were doing the olympic distance) to break a 25 minute mile so I knew that this was a good chance to see how fast I could go.  However, with the lack of warm-up and the not warm weather/water, my breathing and stroke were not as smooth as I would have liked.

To transition where Heather totally kicked butt on the bike and tried out aerobars for nearly the first time.  It was pretty windy and she felt it on the ride.  It was interesting to watch all of the relay legs come in as everyone was actually sprinting on the legs.  I am so used to seeing endurance races that I really enjoyed watching people putting their everything into one part of the race.

Aarthy took off in her cute lululemon top and Heather I wandered over to the finish line to get some food.  I had to convince a volunteer that I really was in the triathlon in order to grab some noms. (I did a deck change right after the swim to get warm).

Aarthy came in quickly and we cheered and took this sweet photo where I look like a giant.
Winner winner, chicken dinner.

This is our official winner's photo as we were too cold to stick around for the awards ceremony.  If we did stick around, we would have gotten an award as 

We won the all-female relay!

Maybe next time I will swim more than once in the 6 months before the race.  Well done ladies, I can't wait for the next one!