Mel’s Adventure on Skinny Tires – Lake Stevens 70.3

Well my second ever half Ironman came and went yesterday.  Similar to last season, I had three weeks to prepare for my only half Ironman of the season.  Again I chose a race with one of the toughest women’s fields of the season (18 pros – more than the men!) but it was conveniently within driving distance of Victoria and at a point in the season where I had no XTERRA obligations to worry about.  This time around I had MUCH more fun than my first race.  Lots of things went right and some went wrong but overall, I ended up fourth while actually being in the race.  Had my swim not been such an utter disaster I would have actually REALLY been in a race which is disappointing, but still motivating.  Certainly, I need more time to be really strong on my Specialized Transition but with my limited preparation I was actually in the mix and the prize money so I am motivated to prepare a bit more when I do more of these events next year.  I thought I would do a report that was all highlights/lowlights and impressions from Lake Stevens rather than a blow by blow account of my weekend.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!


– A killer homestay with Penny and Michael Dorsey.  I had two amazing evenings with wine, delicious food and fun conversations.  They are wonderful people I was privileged to have met. Thanks guys!
– My Specialized Transition was SO FUN to ride.  Riding with a Lazer Tardiz time trial helmet and some fast DuraAce wheels were icing on the cake but really, riding this kind of bike is super fun.  I can’t say it is as fun as railing singletrack on my Era mountain bike but it really is super cool to go fast.
– Running someone down in a triathlon.  Granted, Sam Warriner did not have her best run ever but still, I ran someone down.  I like that feeling.  I want more of it whenever necessary.
– Linsey Corbin and Stacey Richardson for being the friendliest other pro woman at the event.  Thanks for the warm welcome ladies and Linsey, it was a pleasure to tow you in the swim although I really wished I had someone towing me as well!
– Finishing in a sandwich between super star pros and actually feeling that I was kind of sort of competitive and taking home prize money from an Ironman race which had you asked me two years ago if I even thought I could have finished I would have laughed… who time trials for 90km? was my opinion before…

And the lowlights….


– 6:30 am comes very early.  Yuck.  And then a delay which I couldn’t help considering as 10 minutes of lost sleep….
– Swimming like crap.  I am swimming really well right now according to pool times but as soon as I don a wetsuit, even one of the fastest wetsuits on the market (Aquaman Goldcell) I go backwards.  It has something to do with what it does to my stroke but I need tons of practice before Utah because that swim was an absolute abomination to triathlon (in my opinion of myself and my ability, of course).
– Not tying my Avia Bolts tight enough + not wearing socks = non pedicurable feet today.  Ouch.  The second lap of the run was pure unadulterated agony where I succumbed in the last six km to pity for myself and stopped trying to hold the gap to Michellie (there was no catching her) and just hobbled to the finish.  Still an okay run but maybe with more pressure I would have sucked it up and run a little faster.  But then I would have even WORSE feet today so whatever.. it was not half crappy.
– Still feeling tight and crampy in my hips from not enough aero bar time.  No matter how hilly that course was it was still 97% aerobar time.  Too much for me.  I should try the Alpe d’Huez triathlon.  I think that is the kind of race I would be most comfy at..haha!
– Losing my bottles in my springy front end aerobar cage.  Aaron (Dos) at Procity did an awesome job pimping my Profile Bars with a cage.. but then I lowered my bars to be a bit flatter and the cage would not hold the bottles in when I hit bigger bumps in the road.  No drink on the second loop of the bike except water bottle in feed zone that also wouldn’t stay.  I really like that front end cage but I think it needs some modifications.

And the impressions from the 70.3 crowd (keep in mind they are only first impressions.  No offense was meant and I hope none will be taken!):

– Most friendly athlete:  Tie between Stacey Richardson and Linsey Corbin
– Most visibly in love athlete:  Michellie Jones
– Most not resembling their name:  Joe Gambles (doesn’t that sound like a mafia/Reservoir Dogs name?  Joe Gambles is a clean cut, friendly looking person…not really a badass except for how fast he is)
– Most intimidating athlete:  Sam Warriner
– Most ripped looking athlete:  Sam Warriner and a guy whose name I never learned, but wow.
– Most accessible swim venue:  Lake Stevens with the yellow “lane lines” you can follow under the water.  Cool!
– Most under the radar athlete:  Heather Wurtele with her breakthrough second place result
– Best race reports/updates:  Clint Lien (Ironman live was apparently terrible – Clint’s facebook?  Awesome!)
– Best Time Trial bike ever:  Specialized Transition – I went SO much better than I ever have on a tt bike on this one.  I love it.
– Best bike shoes:  The new Shimano TR-51.  Comfy.  Well designed.  Need them with a mtb sole…
– Best energy combo:  GU Brew raspberry electrolyte and chocolate GU.  Mmmm!
– Best lens for fog:  The new Sundog Raptor with my pink lens.  I couldn’t wear them at all at the beginning when I was soaking wet but once I dried off the lenses were excellent.

So that’s all I have for this instalment.  Thanks to my awesome sponsors!!  A little rest (aside from blisters my legs are not that sore, considering) and off to Colorado on the weekend.. yay, mountains!!

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