Monday, June 22, 2015

The Road is Long. With Many a Winding Turn.

Holy cow! but did I have an amazing weekend. I'm really not quite sure how it could have been any better...Unless somebody came to my house and gave me enough money to live on for the rest of my life so I didn't have to work.

We headed to Maquoketa right after work on Friday. We stayed at the Decker Hotel. It was built in 1870 and has a cool, haunted  house vibe about it. Full of antiques and quilts and wallpaper in every room. We always try to stay there whenever we go to Maquoketa.

Me and my fun friends who were doing the race and running support at the Lime Kilns.

My brother wanted to work on some canoeing skills, since I haven't been in one for three years, since the last time we did the race. So, we took the canoe out on the river while John and my sister-in-law went out for a drink. We worked on some things and my brother helped me with my form a lot and showed me how to do some quick steering from the front of the canoe, in case we got into a jam on the river. The tutorial really helped me. I think I finally understood the form better and a way to get more power with the paddle.

After we finished up, we met our respective partners and all headed to the Mexican food for dinner. It was a lovely night and we had a great talk, but we had to get back to the hotel and get to bed, in order to wake-up at 5 am the next morning.

On Saturday, we met my two friends, one who was doing the race and the other who was her support. They wanted to follow us to the drop-off spots and get some pointers. We met at the last transition and started to drive to the 2nd transition and drop-off our bikes and helmets. Of course, my brother was in the lead car of our caravan, which was a bad idea. He has the same sense of direction as I do - nonexistent. We drove by the caves and I commented to John that I didn't remember the bike route by the caves and then we saw my brother pull his car over.Yes, indeed. We were lost. John checked his map and GPS and figure out where we needed to go. We started to head back to our REAL destination when I checked the time. If we dropped the bikes off and then went to the start, we would miss our race. I told John that we should go to the start and our support team could drop-off the bikes while we were canoeing. He was worried that we wouldn't know where to fin our stuff, but I told him he would be there to let us know and if we didn't do it that way, we wouldn't get to race. so, we all headed to the beginning of the race.

 We finally made it to the start. On time, thankfully. The next challenge was getting into the canoe.

The river was high and the banks were very muddy. I kept getting stuck in the mud, much to the amusement of the race organizers. I'm glad I could provide the race entertainment.

thanks for the photo, Rebecca_Tunnicliff-Coady

We finally got into the water and started the 8 mile canoe leg. It was so wonderful. We had a fancy race canoe that made us really fast. The last time we did this race, the river was really low and it was so much harder to paddle. This time, it felt like we were cruising and still going so fast. We went ahead of everyone in our heat and then started passing everyone in the heat ahead of us. At one point, we looked up and saw a flock of pelicans (or is it a gaggle?). It was so cool!

By the time we saw the place to transition from canoe to bike, we had passed a bunch of people in the first heat too. I guessed that there might be about 8 - 10 people ahead of us.

Look at the mud hanging off of my shoe. Phto courtesy of Rebecca-Tunnicliff-Coady
 The theme of the canoe part was me getting stuck in the mud. When we landed, my brother got out with the help of the race volunteers, but I was still way out in the water. I hopped out of the canoe and was in about thigh high water and my feet were stuck in the mud.

I had a paddle in my hand and John told me to give it to him. "Good idea," I said. "That will give me a free hand to try and crawl out." "No," John said. "You give me one end and I'll take one end and pull you out." Even better idea!

Photo courtesy of Rebecca-tunnicliff-coady

 I finally got on the bike and started up the 20% grade  hill out of the river valley. Ouch! I tried to stay focused and figured the bike would be my best part to gain time on people. So, I went pretty hard. I passed 7 people during that leg. Of course, right before the transition for the run, I hit the highway and there was a lot of traffic. The official stopped me and several cars ofr so long, that two of the cyclists I passed, caught back up to me. Great.

When I got to the transition for the run, the official called out, "You're the first lady!" I didn't have the heart to tell him that I was no lady...

I have no idea what my problem is on the run for the last triathlons, but I just die then. It could be that I'm heavier than I used to be, it could be that I'm not getting enough food and water during the race, maybe I'm just sweating out all my iron, or it could be that I'm just old and I can't be a faster runner anymore. Who knows? But I did okay the first mile and then started to die. Sigh. Every time I came across a volunteer or offical, they made a big point to tell me I was the first girl in. that was pretty cool.

I finally finished and assume my normal post race position - in possible puking mode.

Photo courtesy of Julie Hugo.
My brother and I were the only people in our category, so we won! I don't have the official results and times yet, but I'm pretty sure that we did it a hell of a lot faster than the first time, and since I'm always just competing against myself, I'm pretty happy.

It was a really fun day all around.


bribikes said...

Too awesome! The canoe part especially seems like it must have been fun :)

Churlita said...

The canoe part was a blast, but I'm not used to using certain muscles and still feels like someone punched me in the shoulders. Ha ha.