No Black Flies, but there was Maple Syrup!

Black Fly Tri in Waterville Valley, NH is my favorite tri, despite its too-short swim. It's a three-day racing weekend in the beautiful White Mountains where the whole valley is filled with CT and NJ license plates on cars with bike racks, clam chowder served at the post-race tent, never-ending music in the village square, and events such as a kid's pie-eating contest and a Firefly 5K.

The Lord/Lady of the Flies has triathletes racing a bike TT on Friday evening, a shortened International-distance tri on Saturday, and a sprint tri on Sunday morning. There's just enough time between each event to rest your legs and enjoy some light kayaking or hiking in the Valley. A whole Snapple crew going up to race together made this year sweeter than last year - although not all turned out to have such a great weekend (Zack's unfortunate turn of events below).

Our Snapple gang had a personal photographer in Chris Kyriacou; thanks for the pics, Chris!

The day before I left, Bart presented a very long Rudy Project box to me: "I have something for you, Mindy."
I knew what it was. A small aero helmet. That looked like a sperm.
I laughed. "I can't wear that, Bart."
"Why not?"
"Cause I don't want to."
"Why not?"
"Cause then I'll be a hypocrite. I laugh at everyone who wears an aero helmet who isn't pro so I don't want to be one of those people!"
"But it'll make you faster."
"About 30 seconds faster."
"Really?" I'm always so gullible. He could have said it makes me 5 minutes faster in a 4.4 mile TT, and I would have believed him.
"Yes. Just wear it."
And so Black Fly is the first race where Mindy Ko wore a patriotic sperm helmet. And I do believe that it made me faster!

Friday night 4.4 mile Time Trial: First event of the weekend! Each racer went off about 15 seconds apart on an out-and-back course that took you down a hill and straight back up it. Two burly men on either side of me held my bike until the buzzer went off - then Right Man shouted "Go Snapple!" Pedal, pedal, pedal; grab some cadence; shift down; there's Chris's voice cheering from the side; I was off. It was hammer time - this was fun and fast! But alas, soon I turned 180* and I was out of my saddle, struggling up the exact hill that I had just cruise-controlled down.
Bike TT felt awesome - I have yet to master power or hammering on the bike; usually I just pedal as hard as I can and watch woefully as people with 45 on their calves pass me without even warning "On your left" because I'm such a non-threat. Tonight, though, felt awesome - early morning rides with Katie Davison on hills through Arlington have been awesome for my quads, and Penelope and a sperm helmet turned out to be a great duo!
4.4 mile TT: 12:34; 1st in Age Group 25-29, 11th overall.

Saturday "International Distance" Tri - 400 meter swim, 21 mile bike, 5 mile run.

At 7 am, the weahter was perfect: clear skies from the thunderstorm at 9 pm the previous night, low humidity, and almost no wind. I couldn't wait to jump in the water; swimming is the best way to start any day, especially race day!

Water a bit chilly at 70* - just how I love it. Those years in gymnastics and ballet classes have not paid off - sorry, Mom; water entrance was not graceful at all, evident by the belly flop and high butt in photo above. Arms felt strong - leveraging lots of water on my pulls. A wee bit o' difficulty around the buoys, where throngs of 5 were all competing to take the tightest turns. I have little patience for buoy-hogs who won't let me through! Final stretch - ate some seaweed.
Thanks to my Xterra Vendetta for the buoyancy and top female swim split!

On to the bike:
Penelope + Aero Helmet + Passing People + shorter bike course = Fun Times + Mindy smiles.

Run felt awesome - how could it not when I wear my pink Zoots?!? These things are awesome - light, laces less complicated than my Velcro shoes from elementary days, and pink!
My pace was consistent and I felt like I was ticking off the miles without getting more tired. Focused on the ponytails in front of me, then on anyone in front of me; I am not sexist!!

Shortened Intl Distance Tri:
400-meter swim: 6:02
21-mile bike: 1:03:33
5-mile run: 34:59
Total Time: 1:47:05 (1st AG, 8th overall)

Got me some maple syrup!

Not everyone had such a fun day, though:
Zack Desmond broke his toe three steps into the race on Saturday morning. He was running so fast into the water that he stepped on a sharp rock; thinking that he had just stubbed his toe or maybe cut it, he completed the swim...and emerged from the water with his second toe broken and somehow flailing bone-lessly under his 3rd and 4th toes. His foot is now in a cast after his toe surgery; good luck with the recovery, Zack!
The Black Fly Tri volunteer in the photo escorted Zack to his parents and then checked in when Zack was at the ER...such a great and dedicated race crew!

Sunday's sprint-distance tri:
Swim felt awesome - as good as the day before. Thanks, Xterra!

Bike: Legs a bit tired from the previous 2 days, and the sun was blazing. Tried to keep a steady and strong cadence so that I had some leftover for the run, then it was down to the final 3 miles of the weekend! Best part of the run was seeing Avery in her kid's Snapple shirt!

Sprint Tri:
400-meter swim: 6:01
15-mile bike: 49:42
3-mile run: 22:02
Total Time: 1:20:14 (1st AG, 7th overall)

Lady of the Flies competition: for triathletes participating in all three events over the weekend, the times from each race are added to determine your final finishing time overall. I ended up winning another maple syrup for 1st in my AG for Lady of the Flies, and this cool crown that was probably made in China!

Thanks for a great weekend, Black Fly! I'll be back next year! Best part of the race is the entire Valley atmosphere - the volunteers are awesome, and the wetsuit strippers saved me at least a minute off my transition times!

Huge congrats to fellow Snapple teammates Jen Yip, 5th in her AG for Lady of the Flies and to Jessica McGuire, who placed 7th in her AG on Saturday's race!

Now it's time to whip up some waffles to pair with my maple syrup!

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