Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014 Desert International Tri - Winds, Friends, and a Chicken Bone...

This was a race weekend for the books... quite the adventure!  For the 3rd year, I raced the Desert International... but this year, due to a hamstring injury that kept me from running for the past 4 months, I signed up for the Aquabike.  It was the full 3/4 mile swim and 24 mile bike, but no running!  And, for the first time, we decided to camp at the race site instead of spending the weekend in a nice, warm, safe, clean hotel...

Camping sounded like a GREAT idea!  I would get to sleep in a bit on race morning since I didn't have to worry about parking, it was a 5 minute walk from the campsite to transition, and we could spend a few days enjoying the beauty of Lake Cahullia and the surrounding mountains.  And Mom and Dad were bringing their trailer down to camp with us, so it would be a fun family weekend.

It was about 10 days before we were to head out to the desert that Mom saw the first weather report that said there was a storm coming for race weekend.  I told her not to worry because the only weather we had to deal with in the past during race weekend was the incredible heat for early March, but to make Mom feel better, I started checking the weather reports regularly... and soon found that this was coming...

Mom and Dad decided to head out to set up camp a day early when the weather was supposed to be calm.  We headed out Friday morning.  With the van loaded down with all of our gear, bikes up on the roof, and just enough space for Jeff, Anna, me and our dog, Abby, we were lucky that our entie drive was not "Storm-aggeddon," just half of it.  We passed accident after accident, police cars and ambulances, and were so grateful when we pulled into La Quinta and the weather was clear and beautiful.  That didn't last long.  We pulled up to the campsite and found Mom and Dad fighting to hold onto the shade awning on the trailer that was trying to fly away.  A strong wind had just started and little did we know that was the start of 2 days of 70 mile per hour winds.  Booths at the race site had to be held down by dozens of people while product was quickly thrown into the backs of trucks.  A good number of registration boxes flew toward the lake. Tents were seen tumbling down the road.  On top of that, the rain that first night... WOW!  Can I just say "THANK YOU" Mom and Dad!!!  They had us all (and the dog), stay with them in the trailer.  It was a tight few days, but we talked and watched movies and had a wonderful adventure in the nice, warm, dry, lovely trailer! :-)

On Saturday, we got up early to watch the Sprint distance race.  The morning was clear and no wind - perfect race conditions.  We met up with some friends that were racing/supporting their teammates from OC Trail Tales.  I had yet to watch a triathlon and it was sooooo much fun... giggling to myself watching the wayward swimmers taking a 90 degree turn ("hey... where are you going?")... standing at the bike mount/dismount and cringing at the crashes/near crashes (people really need to PRACTICE before they try to take their feet out of their shoes like the pros to dismount!)... and standing at the finish watching the determination, pain, and accomplishment on the racers faces as they get to the end of their race!  I was so inspired that I COULDN'T WAIT to get to my own start line.  But that would have to wait for another wind filled afternoon and evening... then race day!  Time to let the photos tell the rest of the story...

The beautiful view from our camp.
That guy is GOOD!  He is running on water! ;-)
Superstar and San Diego Triathlete, Bill.  He STARTED racing
in triathlons in his 60's... he is a TOTAL inspiration and a great guy!
Watching the Sprint finish line... even Abby
enjoyed herself!
The camp on race morning... this road is part of the 2 loop run course.
Pure beauty.  You can see one of the swim markers in the middle of the lake.
Dad and me just before the start (isn't he sooooo cute!?)  ;-)
So... I started with the age group 40-44 men... and I was a bit nervous about
getting run over at the start of the swim so I started back just a bit,
but I shouldn't have been...
only 17 out of 56 of them were faster than me in the swim... ;-)
That is me in the front on the left... watch out boys, this mama
came to swim!
My wave start.
So happy... I cut a minute off my swim...
Start of the bike and feeling GREAT!
Time for the chicken bone story... 3 miles before the finish of the bike, I started
hearing a "thump, thump, thump" and figured I had a flat.  This part of the course
was a narrow one lane road without a shoulder, so I had to wait to pull over. 
I checked both tires... solid... so I started riding.  As soon as I got back on, the thump started again. 
I had to wait about a mile until I could pull over again and when I stopped,
 I found a 4 inch CHICKEN BONE, piercing through my rear tire.  (WHAT!?) 
I pulled it out, figuring that would pierce the inner tube, but surprisingly it was fine.
A police officer was standing at the intersection and asked me what I was holding. 
I told him it a chicken bone went through my tire and he said, "Welcome to the desert!" 
Friend and Superman, Matt.  Hit by a car while
riding several months ago... only 2 weeks of training
for an International Distance Triathlon... smile on his
face and he KILLED IT!  Woooo Hoooo!  Way to go, Matt!
Here I come... hill down to the dismount line.  Thank goodness
because this is a accident prone race... several ambulances out
on the course with riders again this year.  I was an inch away
from being in a huge crash myself this year. 
Friend and Carlsbad Tri Relay Challenge
teammate, Greg, finishing strong!  GO GREG!!!
Abby LOVING being at the race, not stuck in the trailer.  Our
cute little puppy girl!!! :-)
First year for the Aquabike race and not very many
participants, but I did take 1st in my category!
Perfect photo for Aquabike...
 My sweet husband and cute little bug on the only afternoon that was calm
so we could go out and enjoy.  Anna doing the "gold medal bite" on my medal. back to camp... :-)
Dad, Jeff and Abby enjoying outdoor time at camp.
Our cute bug, her bike in the background, getting ready for family "Uno"
time... what a GREAT weekend!