Melanie’s Personal Score: 1 triathlon – 1 Victory!
Always nice to kick off the season with a win, and although I was concerned that this one was going to be hard going, the legs came around in the crunch and carried me in for a solid winning race!
This race is cool because it is right in the middle of a metropolitan area, Richmond, Virginia, so lots of spectators and lots and lots of participants… like 2000 for all the events on the weekend. It is really quite cool…….
Here the background for me on Richmond… this is the only low altitude race in the Xterra series, it is the most technical, and the run is somewhat flat although it has a number of nasty obstacles that can really mess you up. On paper, one would expect that I would be rolling in for the win here every year…. well in 2002 in keeled over with heat exhaustion and got passed by Anke with about a kilometer to go to come second, in 2003 my favorite race was turned into a duathlon and although I led from the bike was again passed with about three km to go and came second. So it has not really gone my way… up to now.
First, everyone is aware I have been all over the globe racing mountainbikes, so this triathlon was somewhat inconveniently placed during all my mountainbike stuff, which was beating the crap out of me. I spent all week with my Compex sport trying to coax some power back into my legs and drinking coffee to ward off some insane jetlag after flying in from England to Washington, DC.
This year, we swam, although we ran a mile to transition and the swim was short, so it was kind of like a wet duathlon 😉 … this year the water was still quite high and Team Unlimited did a great job in finding us a safe place to swim, although it was kinda far from transition. We did two laps on I dunno how long a course, maybe 1000m, and I had a shocker of a swim (shocker = bad) and it is likely because my training for the last month has been in hotel pools with a current from the waterslide (oddly appropriate for this race) and a number of large individuals floating like buoys in the lap lane. Not alotta swim training. So I toughed it out, and ended up coming out of the water with Jamie Whitmore. We ran through some girls on the way to transition, and went out onto the bike together.
OK, so I have trained for the bike. Probably too much training to race well at world cups but when you get back to North America blown, and spend the week doing interviews and eating sushi and drinking nice red wine instead of training, sometimes things will just work out. Today was that day. I started the bike feeling a little bit flat, as would be expected, and couldn’t shake Jamie off my wheel for the first bit of the course. She is a great mountainbiker and I wasn’t happy that she had me right there to pace off of, but I did notice that on some of the technical sections she was yo-yoing a bit. So when we went into a particularly tricky bit where we rode into and out of a tunnel, I saw I had a gap and started punching it. By the time I rode down the cement spiral stairs I couldn’t see her and then I totally punched it. I felt awesome on the second lap and had a good pace going with one of the pro men. I must say I chose wisely on the tires, my Maxxis Larson TTs really hugged the corners and felt awesome. I did have an incident where my seatbag broke and went in the spokes, but a quick getoff and throw away my spare (Maxxis don’t flat) and off I went again. I rode through the traffic with only a couple instances of blockage, and came into transition not able to see Jamie at all. In the meantime, the two of us had already caught the swim leaders very early in the race so that meant I was in the lead, and expected Jamie to be chasing me.
So then we move to the run. Anyone who travelled with me in Europe saw my run program over the last month – NIL. None. Nada. Nothing before Sonoma, in fact if you asked Cliff about my attendance at run class he would be like "Melanie who?". So I was pleasantly surprised that when I started running, the good old legs looked back to what they did last season and felt obliged to turn over, and quick. The first 5km was awesome. Then it got hard. But first off, I had a Canadian cheering squad that rocked out (Tracey, Channon, Nancy and Pierre you rule) and secondly I have a friend named Chrissy Redden who sent me an email before the race and I would like to quote her now:
"whatever, you’ve been training so hard for the past 6 months, you could float for another 6 weeks! Rip it up and don’t make excuses! The world championship title is heavy, but you’re strong and impermiable"
How is that for telling me to shut up and get it done? So I did. Chrissy rules. I didn’t give up much time in the run, less than 30 seconds to Jamie, and a solid win was mine. Finally! A series win!
So there are some other cool notables, one is my K2 rocks, it is so light and with a full Shimano XTR drivetrain I packed an unpacked that bike, rode it in the mud and beat on it, and it worked perfect all week, no mechanical work at all. I had comfy new shimano shoes to run my mountainbike all over Richmond plus my Saucony Fastwitch racing flats, which were new and unraced, I threw on with barefeet and have NO BLISTERS! When does that EVER happen? Like a glove I tell you.
So I would like to thank my coach, Houshang Amiri, for all his help, obviously I have a pretty big motor right now. I also need to thank Ford Cycling, Saucony USA, K2 Bicycles, Compex Technologies, Sundog Eyewear, Maxxis, Powerbar, Shimano, Giro, Descente, Hypoxico, Arq, Deuter, Rider’s Cycles and Pacificsport.
That is all yo, next stop Calgary?