Bassman Tri and a Farewell to 2011 Tri Season!

After Nation's disappointing demise into a duathlon and cluster-fest, along with Bart's itching to get one more tri in for the 2011 season, Bassman tri got written into the schedule. A smaller race, but within reasonable driving distance, and I just wanted one last dip in a clear lake before retiring to indoor pools for the fall and winter!

The day before the race, we drove through rain up to New Jersey; the forecast predicted cold and rainy weather, so I packed my bike gloves just in case! Turns out that race morning was beautiful - still a bit chilly, but launch time was 8:30, and the sun had warmed everything up by then.

The race director announced that the water was a tepid 70* - this was definitely worth the 3 1/2 hour drive up for the swim alone! There were only 3 waves for the International Distance Tri, and I was in wave 1 with Females and Aquabikers. We took off at 8:30, and I prompty ran over a swimmer who went out way too fast and then veered to swim perpendicular to the course. I rolled over her in a single stroke, recalibrated to make sure that I wasn't the one who was off-course, and gunned it for two swimmers up ahead.
Swim felt awesome - it always does. There were no currents, the water was warm and clear, and my strokes felt long and strong. I took the lead about 500 meters in, but sighting after the last turn became a problem. The sun was rising directly behind the exit water area. I couldn't see a thing - no silhouettes, no reference point, just a huge blazing ball of yellow every time I sighted ahead. Argh...since I was in the lead, there were no bubbles or feet to follow, and I was on my own.
Well, I must have a pretty good sense of direction, because I hit that exit area pretty much straight on. I waited until the last possible stroke until I stood up and ran out of the water clumsily, awkwardly high-knee-ing it to the beach with my elbows flailing. Running out of water has never been graceful.
First outta the water - thanks to my dimpled Xterra Vendetta! The race director had his megaphone in my face as I ran past him - he was saying something about others coming out of the water just behind me, so I booked it into transition. A bit of a struggle with my wetsuit around my ankles, but luckily my timing chip stayed on. I strapped on my patriotic aero helmet, hoisted Penelope off the rack, and ran out of T1.

Wow, this was cool. Since I had been in the first wave and had the fastest female swim split, I had a police car leading me for the first five miles. I knew that I'd eventually be caught by the men from the wave behind me and women who were faster on the bike, so I tried to hold them off as long as possible (Obviously, this is not the actual lead car!).
The flashing blue and red lights sped down the road ahead of me to clear nonexistent state park traffic, and I chased them as fast as I could. The glory of being in first and having a police escort only lasted an ephemeral five miles; soon enough, I was passed by the woman who eventually won the race and a pair of guys, and the police escort was no longer mine. It was fun while it lasted, Officer Friendly!

For the next 24 miles, I was by my lonesome, which gave me plenty of time to ease into a steady rhythym, only to realize that I had eased off a bit too much when another racer would pass me. I started to think about not wanting to be on the bike anymore, which is not good when you're less than halfway through the bike course. This would be much more entertaining if there were some hills or some deer in this forest, but the bike course was boring throughout - no hills, no scenery, no aid stations, no spectators; only the whoosh-whoosh of wheels as cyclists passed me.
I was looking forward to the run - if anything, at least my toes would dethaw and I'd be able to get out of this constant aero position! I hadn't even thought to pack my toe warmers and in T1 had decided to forgo my bike gloves, but now I was regretting my hands being so cold. My sniffles became snot rockets, which I had perfected while trekking in Nepal. I must admit that one of my snot rockets was an epic failure - it landed on my hand, got smeared across my tri shorts, and ossified into a white streak. Yet another reason not to bike when it's cold!

Coming into T2, my hands and feet were frozen - I had to concentrate just to get my helmet off. In the seconds that it took to realize that my hands were not quite as nimble as they should be, I decided not to wrestle with socks for the run. The mantra "Nothing new on race day" taunted me, but it was only a 4.2-mile run, and although I'd never run without socks before, I figured that my feet were too frozen to notice the difference of a thin layer of cotton.

Out of T2, I caught up with the last woman who had passed me on the bike. She courteously encouraged me with a "You go, girl."
"How many more women ahead of us?"
"Just one."
Just one! I picked up my turnover, but I always have trouble gauging my run pace - I don't wear a watch, and my legs just feel like Gumby's straight off the bike. I churned and thought of narrowing the distance between me and the first place female - where was she? Not far past Mile 1, I realized that she was much too far ahead to be caught. I couldn't even see her when I rounded the start of a loop that had a mini switch-back; she was more than a half-mile ahead. I shifted my focus to ticking off a skinny dude who had passed me on the bike.

Crossed the finish line with some juice left in my legs for a bit of a kick, and walked through a line of high school cheerleaders/race volunteers. They each stared at me as I made my way to the exit, studying my fashionable spandex. "Don't forget to give us your timing chip," one of them muttered with her hands buried in her sweatshirt pockets. I stuck my left foot out, but quicky realized that she and her teen comrades had no intention of doing any more work than was necessary. The blank look on her face told me, "Take it off yourself and put it in the bucket. That timing chip could have pee on it." (it didn't)

Bassman Triathlon: 2nd Female Overall; 2:08:30
0.5-Mile Swim: 13:44
29-Mile Bike: 1:26:12
4.2-Mile Run: 26:46

Bart got 3rd:

and I got 2nd!

Check out the awesome trophies that Bart and I got for our podium finishes:

Takes us back to high school days and cross-country trophies! Haha!

Funniest part of the day was when the 3rd place female went up to accept her trophy and it broke - the gold running woman fell right off the trophy! The race director tried to cover it up by laughing and casually saying, "We'll just tape it back together". To which the race photographer standing next to me mumbled, "It already broke before and was taped together." Ha!
She's trying to figure out what to do with the running woman in one hand and the trophy base in the other...Oh well, doesn't take away from the pride of a podium finish!

Huge thanks to Katie Palavecino for letting me use her race wheels - I Snapple'd them up with some sweet stickers!

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