Monday, August 17, 2015

Mack Cycle Trilogy International Triathlon in Key Biscayne on my MTB Bike :)

Mack Cycle Trilogy International Triathlon in Key Biscayne

I had a great race and came in 4th Overall for Women – 26th / 118 Overall Men/Women.
Master’s Women Champion.
Bike split was 6th Women.
Just a little note about my bike split – I had my Mountain bike. 

Mack Cycle did put out very nice event in a really beautiful and scenic surroundings.
Just wanted to Thank Sandy from @MackCycleMiami @mackcycleandfitness for getting me into this race and I had a great time and great training for Maui and the World Championships of @xterraoffroad.

Mack Cycle & Fitness Truck in the early morning hour...

In was sort of spur of the moment thing and I think it worked out great.

My post-crash recovery was coming along and I was eager to race again. I was looking to coming up to Tennessee for Lock4Blast XTERRA but the drive was just way to long. I opted to do a local road Tri in Miami instead that Mack Cycle put together.

I felt that if I want to race in Maui this year I have to put some racing in between now and November, otherwise there would be just too big of a gap. Tough to be motivated for a very long time to train hard without actual race efforts. So thankfully for me I had a nice local race right here and decided to leave home my beautiful Shiv and race on my mountain bike. It would give me a better of a workout and simulate better my XTERRA racing. I knew I will be slower a few miles per hour that I would be otherwise on my triathlon bike and more tired than others on the run, but that was not the point. The point was to actually get tired, so I did it my way.

Staying downtown Miami with my Pax
We set ourselves up nicely with just a little over an hour drive to Miami, got our packet and stayed in a nice hotel downtown. Luckily for us we had a chance to catch up with friends and went to a nice local pizza place Piola, which was more than excellent. If it was not that long of the drive they would have me over quite often. It was great to catch up with friend Jim and indulge in the delicious thin crust goodness.

The Piola Pizza place is rocking. It was great to hang with our friend Jim that evening!

The race was set to start early and we were just 10-15 minutes away, but the early 4 am wake up time never comes easily. Being downtown is always a hassle especially as the parking situation goes, so lots of trips with bikes and gear to the parking garage. By the time we got to Virginia Keys Historic Park the line of cars was just huge. We were not moving. We knew transition was about to close at 6:30 (yayks that's early!) and it was already after 6 and we were still stuck outside of the park in the long line. It was pitch black still and I rushed to get set up in transition. Road triathlons are so new to me that I kept forgetting things from the car and running around trying to get everything set on time. 

Uhh, guys just were sent off while I jogged to the start. Ladies looks like will be out any moment.

The bike spots were numbered so I could not just set up where I wanted, it was pretty crowded and the moment I took the bike off to go back quick to the car, someone shoveled their bike in my spot. Now it was even less space but I had not more time to care. We pretty much had to run in our flip flops in still partial darkness to the swim start, which was almost a half a mile up north. 

And here we go. No warm up, leap to dark waters to start out the day.

We ran and ran and by the time I got there the guys were sent off. Shoot, ladies were already in line and ready to go. Gladly for me they didn’t go on the instant right away. I already felt like I was missing my race start. I pulled my speed suit on so quick almost ripping it on myself, squeezed the cap and my Pax threw me googles, I grabbed a sip of water with my gel and ran to the start. I had no chance to warm up or wet my goggles. Soon we were off. The water was dark and some thick algae was covering the ground. It was shallow and everyone was dolphin diving. The first buoy thankfully was not that far. 

It kind of felt that murky throughout the swim.

On the instant I felt the warmth of the water, I was surprised it was so hot. The first buoy was not so bad and we all turned to the next one. The water and the sky still felt dark, water was so brackish and brownish looking rather like a dirty lake than the ocean, plus I had my darkest googles on. I used whatever my husband just chucked to me. I kept going like this for a while not really seeing the next buoy, we had 3 yellows and a 4th orange. At least I had some people around for guidance. Later on finally I spotted a buoy and went around it, however the 3rd one was not to be seen for me. Now I felt pretty alone, so didn't have anyone in the lead, my goggles now fogged up since I didn't wet them before the start and I had no clue where I was going. The water was ugly dark but as long as I was moving forward and had the shore to the right I figured I should be fine. 

Out - Me and the light on the horizon.

The constant shaking from the waves didn't make things easier, I tried to sight a million times and still no go, finally someone lifted the big yellow buoy up in the air and I was able to spot it. Now I could adjust my direction and aim where I should. It was tough once again to find the last orange buoy and for the longest time I felt I was completely alone in the big dark ocean, for some reasons it didn't freak me out much, which was good. Shortly someone parked themselves however on my feet and I knew now I was not totally alone. Now I went around the final buoy and headed to the shore. All was so fogged up that I hardly could see the exit but I found my way around it. It was great to get out and run to transition.

In my off-road triathlons I always have everything figured out, I know the whole course, I preride everything, I know all the transition kirks, bike/run in and outs. Well here I knew nothing, I was completely improvising. Thankfully when I grabbed my beautiful Sub Zero bike  from transition everything was pretty straight forward. It was weird now to race my mountain bike on the road. 

Into the fist lap. That's the new one for my Sub Zero to do road tri!

I knew it was going to burn and it did. To my surprise I looked down on my computer and I saw some 24 mph on the flat and I was surprised. I had a fast pace going first time around to the Rickenbacker causeway bridge. It is a huge bridge and I knew that was not going to be easy to ride it both ways for 3 laps. I hurt already the first time around, but now I could coast with the wind down on the other side and reached over 34 miles per hour. Shortly we reached a turnaround point and headed backwards. Oh now the wind was head on, things definitely did slow down but was just as painful. It was a short lap of only 5 miles, but it didn't come without a great amount of work. I started seeing girl’s heading the opposite direction on the tri bikes, now I figured they will just catch up to me any moment and it will be the story of the rest of my ride. I rode, rode and rode and got through transition and into the second lap, no one however did catch up with me so far. I was with the wind again and felt a little tired but nothing that would stop me in my track, right before the bridge one guy on his triathlon bike went by me and said "you are crazy", we both laughed and he biked away. I was still holding with him on the long bridge climb, but I think later on I lost track of him. Now there was more and more people on the road each lap. 

Team at work. Not too aero but we are making it happen.

I noticed not matter which lap it was and how tired I was I was making up time on everyone on the bridge climb, than didn't lose any positions on the descent. There was still no ladies. It was funny when all of the sudden there was a bunch of road riders going the opposite direction and someone called my name. It was one of my mountain biker friends Brett I guess doing a road ride. Amazing he spotted me so quick, maybe because of my mountain bike. I was already too deep in my misery to look around but it was great to see someone I know. My husband Pax as always was always waiting on one of the turns geared up with his camera and shooting away. I finished my 2nd lap and got to the third, my times seemed consistent even though it felt more and more difficult to go over that bridge. Now the road was just stupidly crowded, tons of riders everywhere, I believe we were all with International and Sprint distance riders on the track. I felt bad looking at all those cool tt bikes and areo helmets, and guys and gals nicely hanged over in the most aero positon they can get and then... And then me going by them on my mountain bike, shoot, I really felt bad, but I tried to be the most kind and say hi and give them a brisk smile. Afterwards one of the racers remembered me and told me how we were going back and forth throughout the ride. I didn't miss really my road bike, even though that I could fly on it, but it could be just too much of the speed for my taste, so I felt quite comfortable on my mountain bike. I could stand up when I wanted and just hammer away, lean into the turns and don't care there is grass and huge holes in the road. More holes than better, the rougher it gets the more I am in my element. I think this bumpy patch of asphalt had to be the highlight of the race for me, otherwise I don't find unfortunately riding on the road too inspiring besides feeling a burn in my quads. I managed last time, 6th over the bridge and was heading now toward the finish against the wind. 

Quick check of my competition approaching and looking serious and focused.

Sub Zero did what she does best, stayed in front!

One girl was coming up in her tri bike and all aero look. She made a pass. I hung with her for a minute and thought about it, but she was really not getting anywhere. I decided to make a pass and get back my spot. The moment I accelerated and went by her I never saw her again. Well at least not on the bike part of the race. I finished the last lap and was approaching the transition, I would gladly stay longer on the bike rather than going on the lengthy run. The run was disproportionally long to the rest of the distances, this was not good news for me. On the way to T2 I forgot everything, didn't take my gloves off, and didn’t undo my shoes. I was just too busy thinking about the run and I got caught standing in transition like a goof ball trying to take all this gear off while my fingers were sliding on the boa shoes dials. Lost some time there but it really didn't matter that much. Here I was off for a full 6.2 miles run on the paved road. 

And here we go... Run parade.

I don't remember last time I ran on the road it had to be years back when I did my other road triathlon. I do everything 100% on dirt no matter if it is on or off the bike. So it was weird. Surprisingly I felt alright and we ran on the road onto the bridge crossing over Key Biscayne with the view of the water where we were just swimming some while back. It was a really pretty scenery and the incline of the bridge was tiny but could be felt. Than we were submerged into the paved foot path through some coastal vegetation and thankfully had some shade. The air however was so moist and stagnant that the whole section just felt really muggy, musky and lacked air movement. But on the other side besides the paved path beneath reminded me kind of an off road run, so that was nice. It was getting hot now but not so bad yet, I made sure I grabbed a cup on water whenever I could and poured it over my head and my face to cool off slightly. 

"Other Rachel" speeding to the finish of her race.

After turn around point at mile 1.5 of the first lap I had friend “The other Rachel” catch up to me, she was doing the Sprint distance and was speeding away. I stayed with her just for a little while, I knew I had much more running to do and had to preserve energy for the remainder of the race. I got eventually near transition turn point for the second lap, now things started to change. Unluckily for all of us the sun started to come out from behind the clouds, even though it was still early in the day the humidity and sun combo on the tired already body was not the best thing to happen. This lap was going to be way more difficult and it was, but still to my great surprise I managed it quite well. Besides getting annoyed with the heat and sun I was doing pretty alright. I was making nice passes and really didn't recall getting passed much, but by the girl in blue which I went by on the bike. Oh well, it was alright. 

Now I was just focused to keep the effort steady and get to this finish line. Way back from the Crandon Park over the bridge was tough since the sun was fully beaming on us now and on the concrete, for some reasons all the strong wind we had on the bike totally died out. It was great to have my husband near me throughout on his bike encouraging away. Besides the burning sun there will be one more thing burnt into my memory. This one old man over sixty in his tiny speedos that I had to pass on my way back. It's tough to get some images like this out unfortunately!

It was still beautiful on the first lap. There were clouds and the gorgeous scenery around...

I was never truly alone here, or there was my Pax, or someone I knew. I was saying hi and heard my name numerous times throughout this effort. I picked up my pace when approaching the finish line and finished pretty strong. 

Now going back for the second round... This lap will hurt; heat, humidity and sun were overwhelming.

It was a good effort. I managed to place 1st overall masters and 4th overall woman, all of it with riding a road triathlon on my mountain bike.

Strong finish!

I am happy with my result and it was a good but a hot day in the paradise.

My Sub Zero made to the podium - as always :-)

Amazing how many people gets out for those events with all different strengths and abilities. 
Now I just wish we bring some XTERRA’S back to South Florida so all those like myself hungry to race off road can race their type of events. We definitely have a terrain that is just waiting for us and also bunch of off road loving racers. Hopefully soon we can play on the dirt again and introduce some of new people to this beautiful sport.
Overall I spent a pretty nice weekend with my husband in Miami and had a chance to catch up with friends like Melissa and her husband Kenny which I didn't see for a long while. 
This way we got ourselves another cool weekend in the books.

With Rachel from Mack Cycle and Ricardo to the left.
Huge Thanks to Mack Cycle for putting together such a nice event and inviting me to race in it.
Whole Mack Team seemed had wonderful time and put out their best efforts.

With my favorite Pit Crew - My Pax
Thank you to my Pax for all his beautiful photography, bike tuneup, water hand offs and chasing me around the race course in the heat of the summer in Florida!

Always Thank You goes to:

Syntace, Magura, Stan’s Notubes, Schwalbe, ESI Grips, Clif, Xpedo, Trainer Road, Garden of Life, Kuat Racks, Light & Motion, KT Tape, Cycleops, Suunto, Salomon, Huub and for 2014 - Mack Cycle, Oakley, Pocketfinder, Specialized, Louis Garneau, KMC Chains and Rotor Bike Components and New for 2015 - Health Fit Chiropractic, Enduro Bearings, K-Edge and SelleSMP

Until next time.
 Extra Photos of the event...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Rumble in the Jungle - Markham Park, FL

Rumble in the Jungle - 3rd SOLO Female. 

10 laps, 54 miles, 4:43 minutes in 102 degrees F. Good to be back on the Mountain Bike after over a month of not riding because of crash. Great training day!

Besides having fun and catching up with all the friends, it was also great to be part of the race where all the proceeds go to the Markham Park Trail Building Fund to build and maintain this amazing trail system.