In my last post I wrote about my swim from last Saturday's Oceanside 70.3 race... finally got down some words on my bike and run. As I posted in my last one, I grabbed my Cannondale Slice from the rack and sprinted for the transition exit, so excited!!!! haha. Heather Wurtele was about 15seconds up by this point and I could see her down the stretch of road ahead of me. I started riding and pulled my feet into my bike shoes knowing there wasn't much time before that short, steep, kicker of a hill right at the start of this race. I got up it and saw Wattie and Cliff on my right. They were yelling that there was only 15 seconds to Heather and then about 2:30 to Meredith Kessler and "the lead"...also meaning Julie Dibens. What!?!?!! Under 3minutes to them? Not bad! Considering what phenomenal swimmers those girls are...I settled in and took in some Herbalife Hydrate to get the salty water out of my mouth. My legs didn't feel amazing, not light and smooth like my arms did in the water, but I figured they would come around. I still had sight of Heather up the road but was pretty much holding the same distance and didn't seem to be getting any closer. It's okay...just keep riding. You will come around. Be patient, it's a long day. My SRAM-equipped Cannondale Slice was flawless- super fast and smooth on my Reynolds Aero 72s with Continental Tires and, as always, my ISM Breakaway comfortable all 56 miles.
At about mile 10 (I think?) there is a small out and back where you can catch sight of the girls going the other way. I saw Dibs go by first and then Meredith a bit behind...then there was Heather and ahead of me was the turnaround, so not too far! I made the turn and kept riding. Just around then, Rachel McBride pulled by me. Rachel is an extremely strong cyclist! I had just done a ride with her in Tucson a few weeks ago and knew she was going well on the bike. She went by and I picked up my effort to try to keep her in sight as well. Holy c$%p. I glanced down at my SRM and my watts were definitely up there! This would be the story of the rest of the day on the bike for me. Up and down, up and down. This was definitely something I was not used to, as I'm usually by myself riding a steady pace all 56miles. This was the race though- these were some of the top girls in the race and I wasn't about to let them ride away.
Eventually, Rachel and I made our way up to Heather and then the 3 of us caught up to Meredith. The four of us rode legally together the rest of the bike, although there were numerous times I was getting dropped off the back and watched the three of them ride away. I would crawl my way back up to them and try to hold. I was fine if there were any hills to climb but a gap would open on downhills or flatter sections. With just a few miles to go, Mere dropped off a bit and Rachel made a move off the front, gaining about 30seconds. Heather and I rode into T2 together and I knew it was going to be a battle!
I've raced Heather numerous times and have both won and lost. Every time I've won, I've been ahead of her going into the run and so as I sprinted through transition right behind her, my goal was just to get my shoes on as quickly as I could and get out of there. I was able to make it out ahead of her and started going as hard as I could. Again, my legs were just so-so but I thought they would come around. I made it down onto the strand for the first out and back to the pier. The fans and spectators cheering were awesome! Thank you! I heard various time splits- that I was about 45seconds or so down on Dibs. So the gap was closing. I kept running. I made it about 4 miles or so (I think) and I knew Heather was close because there was a bike beside me (the bike spotter for the lead runners). Oh nooooo! This was also right when we were catching up to Dibs. Nils Nilsen caught an amazing shot of this moment.
Heather passed and I tried to pull on behind her. Her feet were moving! I had just done mile repeats in Tucson on the feet of Chris Bagg and Chris Boudreaux and was just trying to pretend it was the same thing. Just hold on... She was just too strong though. She kept pulling away and the gap was slowly opening. It's okay! I was trying to stay positive. There's still a lot to go! You never know what can happen! She could be pushing too hard right now and blow up. Anyways, I just kept pushing- thanks to everyone on course for all the cheers and encouragement! The gap stayed right around 20-30seconds the entire day and I just didn't have that extra gear to reel her in. Heather had an amazing day and another huge congratulations to her! Also to Mere for coming in third, and Dibs- you're back! So great to see Dibs back on course racing. Also to Cait Snow- great job! And thanks for always smiling and cheering even when you're racing:)
I couldn't do this without my amazing sponsors and I can't thank them enough!!!!
HERBALIFE: Thank you guys for the amazing products and being so supportive. Casey- I can't thank you enough for coming down to the race.
CANNONDALE: My Slice is the best bike I've ridden. Period. Thank you Cannondale and Bill- thank you for coming down and being there on course cheering!
WATTIE INK. CLOTHING: Most comfortable, performance-driven tri kit I've raced in! And great casual gear for before and after:)
SPIDERTECH: Love my tape for that little bit of extra support on course. You don't have to be injured to reap the benefits of SpiderTech Tape. Thank you Dots and everyone at ST for your support!
REYNOLDS WHEELS: So fast! Loved my Aero72's. Thanks Rob, Steve and everyone at Reynolds for the free speed!
GOPRO: Thank you guys! Wattie and my sister got some amazing footage and photos- best camera out there!
URBAN DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT: Thank you so much Ron for coming down to watch the race and for all your support!
SRAM COMPONENTS: My Slice shifted flawlessly all day. Thank you SRAM!
BLUE SEVENTY: One more thank you for helping me feel amazing in the water:)
FUELBELT: Great hydration tools for long run days! Thanks Vinu, Colleen and everyone at FB!
SRM: Amazing tool for training and racing feedback and putting actual numbers to your efforts. Thanks Rachel and everyone at SRM!
SPEEDFIL:Tried out the Z4 at Oceanside- loved it!!!! Thanks David, Jeff, and Amy for everything!
ISM SADDLES: I've been on an ISM since I started this sport and will never ride anything else. My Breakaway is amazing. Steve/Laura, DB, MJ and everyone else- thank you!!!!
OAKLEY: Love my sunnies! Thanks Welchie!
And of course a massive thanks to all my supporters: EroFit, Continental Tires, Hypoxico, Rebound Physical Therapy, 454 Tattoo, 10 Barrel Brewing.
I owe a huge thank you to my coach, Cliff English, for all of his guidance and support. Thanks Cliff- so excited for 2014. And for the awesome 3 week training block Cliff hosted out in Tucson leading into Oceanside... To all of the other athletes that were out there for it as well, pushing me each day and supporting each other. Mel- thank you so much for your body work, absolute game changer and I can't thank you enough! Biffy- thank you for all your help on the back end and for sending me cute kitty pictures every night :) Wattie- I love you. Thank you for everything you do day-in-and-day-out. I couldn't do this without you and you've made my dreams a reality.
To everyone who sent messages, emails, or was on the course cheering and supporting- THANK YOU!!!! We hear you even if we don't look up! Thanks for the support and hope to see you at the next race!