Apologies for the absence, this summer has been a whirlwind of activities. That is not to be interpreted as “I’m sorry I did all these activities.” because I’m definitely not! That is what summer is for! I plan on doing a total recap of some of the awesome things that happened in the last two months but for now, I thought I’d stick to my most recent race (and first race I’ve traveled for).
Steven, my mom and I had decided to go out west and visit Genie because well, we like her a little. Genie and I planned a week o’ fun to ensure we got the most out of our time on the west coast. Fun fact: it was also a momentous occasion because it was Steven’s first time west of the Mississippi! So obviously, we had to make it special. We thought a quick trip to Lake Tahoe would be a perfect start to vacation.
And what makes a vacation more fun that swimming, biking and running!? Well, many things, but I’m a weird human so that is what I chose to do.
I used TriFind to look up races that were happening the 2 weekends we were in California and found the Lake Tahoe Triathlon. This two day event had a plethora of different race categories to choose from which was great but also confusing. Do we do the olympic? Relay? Sprint? After a few back and fourths with Genie, we decided a sprint relay was the best choice. We picked it because:
- It was a sprint
- It was on a Saturday, not Sunday…so we could race and then drink/eat and be merry the rest of the weekend
- Who doesn’t want to relay with their sis!?
Excitement took over my entire being; I was going to get to swim in a body of water that wasn’t toxic, bike through some amazing scenery and not have to run (Genie would take that responsibility over.) It was a dream come true!
What I didn’t take into account was the 24 hours leading up the race.
I had booked a flight from Reagan at 6:05AM on Friday (a day before the race). At the time, it seemed like a great idea- wake up early, get there early. Right?
More like, “I had booked a flight early from Reagan at 6:05 AM. At the time, it seemed like a great idea- sleep over at mom’s on Thursday night so she doesn’t have to take a taxi alone, wake up at 2:00AM realizing you forgot to take out the trash and know the shrimp you threw away will probably leave your apartment smelling like a cat died in it if you don’t throw it away, drive back to your apartment at 2:30 AM to throw away shrimp-trash, drive back to mom’s, get in the taxi at 3:45 AM, get to the airport at 4:15 AM, sit around, get on the first flight to Detroit, sprint to the connecting gate, barely make the flight, fly 4.5 hours to California, land, drive 4 hours to Tahoe, get there early, drink some bud lights to regain sanity, cook elaborate Korean meal, almost fall asleep while eating dumplings, wake up for race at 5 AM, Saturday morning.
Yes, it was a real trying 24 hours. At one point, while traveling with Steven and my mom, I used the phrase “Do not talk to me for 2 minutes” as I sat in-between them on the plane.
Anywho, Genie and I woke up late (6:00 AM) on race day morning with no idea where to go, where to park and with 30 minutes to make packet-pick up time.
Yea, we had’t picked up our packets yet either. The race started at 7:30 AM.
We looked at the GPS. 35 minutes ETA. So at BEST, we would arrive 5 minutes after they closed up shop. It wasn’t looking good.
I ran out of house with a draw string bag (holding nothing but my wetsuit, goggles, and Bodyglide) in one hand and a mushy apple in the other. As we frantically shoved the bike into the back of a Prius looking like two bad guys trying to hide a dead body before the cops find them, we shot off emails to everyone in the house trying to give them directions on how to get to the race….because shocker, we hadn’t told them anything either.
We were both fairly convinced we weren’t going to make the packet pick up time so we started thinking of sob stories of how we traveled across the country to race (nothing about our sanity bud lights) that we could tell the race directors when they refused to give us our gear.
Then we came over the first view of the lake
After that view, everything calmed down a little.
“If anything, at least we got to see this” I told Genie.
And it was true. The view of the sunrise was so beautiful and there was no way I would have willingly woken up to see it without a race to get to. So there was that.
6:35 AM: We came up on the first parking lot and of course, it was full. So we went to lot 2, about a mile down the road, found a spot and decided I should ride the bike to the packet pick up to and start crying if need be, while the Genie brought the rest of the gear in the shuttle. It was 6:45 AM.
I cruised over to the venue and saw packet pick up with still open. WAHOO.
But they didn’t have our packet…of course.
After some shuffling around, they made us a new packet and we headed to transition. It was 7:15.
I quickly threw the bike up on a rack, got in my wetsuit and headed down to the water. It was about 40 degrees outside of the water so I was THRILLED when I stepped in to the lake for the first time to feel how warm it was. I probably didn’t even need my wetsuit!
Before I knew it my wave was running out into Lake Tahoe. I could not BELIEVE how crystal clear the water was. In fact, I actually had a minor panic attack because you could see EVERYTHING, all the way to the lake floor. It was slightly unsettling. That is what you get when you practice all of your OWS in the Potomac were you are basically swimming in the dark. Since I was feeling a bit freaked out, I slowed down the pace and just cruised.
The run from the swim to transition was brutal– a straight hill of grass/rocks which I ended up walking up. Ain’t nobody got time for that…except everyone who was actually racing. I ran into transition, stripped off the suit, realized I forgot a towel, wiped myself off with the sweater I wore in the morning and it was on to the bike!
Driving into the race, we had been flying up and down the winding hills that lead to the race.
“Wouldn’t it suck if this is where the bike took place?” I stupidly asked.
It was exactly where the bike took place. This was my first tri that didn’t have traffic closed off, so aside from the brutal hills, I was also suppressing my whimpers as cars and better cyclists flew past me. It was also an out and back so you could see/feel exactly how hilly the bike was going to be on the way back. A long refreshing downhill on the way out only meant a long a brutal hill on the way back.
But alas, I made it and it was gorgeous. There were views of the lake the entire way and because the race was pretty small, a lot of camaraderie between racers.
Oh, did I mention I wasn’t even using my bike? Luckily, Genie’s bike is nicer than mine. Un-luckily (?) she is a bit shorter than I am. So there was that.
I caught my family walking to the finish line as I came back to T2. After that, I was done, and it was Genie’s turn to finish off the race.
Genie’s run went swimmingly (or runningly) and after, we laughed about what a shit show the morning had been. Luckily, Genie and I are pretty relaxed humans so it never got too stressful, but sure would have been sad to have missed such an awesome experience.
Team its Ko time actually got second place in the relay so that pretty sweet (possibly even first, I’m looking into it). Even if it was only out of 6 teams 🙂
An awesome race overall: super relaxed, AMAZING views, and good challenge! We’ve decided we are doing it next year as well!
Moral of the story: don’t stress. Enjoy the race, the people and your surroundings.
And maybe set your alarm a little earlier:-)