Thursday, June 20, 2013

Monte Rio Vineman Olympic Triathlon Race Report

Oh hey, hi there, what's up?  It's been almost three weeks of radio silence since I was leaving to go do Vineman Olympic Triathlon.  I am sure you ten readers were wondering if the Russian River was the place of my ultimate demise.  But alas I have returned from the deep and back to the world of blogdom.
In reality I've been working and traveling and working more.  I've worked 14 hour days for most of the past two weeks and I've traveled the state from San Francisco to Santa Barbara to Napa.  I got home last Friday night after 7 days on the road to turn around and head back out on Monday.  I am now home for all of 3 days and this weekend MFR's sister and brother-in-law are in town for some wine tasting and Nascar (first time for everything) fun.  So back out to wine country I go.  I have fit in a few workouts here and there but I am excited to get back into a more organized and based in San Francisco routine come Monday.

From Napa to SB and back.
Although I am very tired, I can't complain.  Those are some pretty awesome cities to spend time in and I love my job and my industry.  Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to work long days and blog at the same time but luckily that's over and I am back. I know you're all fist pumping right now with excitement.

Anywho we'll get into stats and what's next soon enough.  For now a race report for Vineman Olympic.  We drove out to Monte Rio on Saturday afternoon without a plan of attack at all.  It was 90 degrees and we stopped in Santa Rosa to try the Russian River Brewing Company but the wait for a table or bar was over an hour so we continued on.   For future reference, Monte Rio is in fact in the middle-of-nowhere-wine-country.  It's right on the Russian River and only like 10 miles from the beach but I think the population is less then 1000.  There is no cell service and there is a sign when you drive into town that says, "congratulations you did it, we're going digital."  That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about Monte Rio.

Almost by accident we found the transition area/packet pickup.  Everything was pretty well organized and we got our packets.  I noticed that I didn't have a timing chip and when I asked I was told that you don't pick up your timing chip until tomorrow morning when you're boarding the shuttle bus. Pardon?  Sneaky sneaky Vineman.  You've got to give it to them though.  One way to guarantee people don't drive morning of and congest the small area with parking?  Don't give them a timing chip unless they take the shuttle.   Well played.  We got our bikes down from the car and decided we might as well set up  our entire transition areas so I ended up leaving my tri bag, bike, shoes etc.... all there overnight so I didn't have to worry about forgetting anything or fitting it on the shuttle.  It actually worked out pretty well.

We walked down to the river to check out the swim area and the ridiculously long ramp (worse then WF) we had to run back up to transition.  Definitely wish we could have floated the river that day but alas we were tubeless.  We asked around for thoughts on where to camp and some of the volunteers listed some campsites they thought might be close.  Then we got back to the car and realized there was no cell service so names of campsites didn't really help us. what?  The next three hours consisted of us driving round and round in circles to spots that had service, calling hotels for vacancy, driving to the beach, actually looking at hotel rooms and deciding if they were worth $200 a night, deciding if we would be arrested if we camped on the beach and randomly coming across campsites that were either full or didn't have tent camping etc..  Finally we decided to go to the Country Store (no joke) and buy some stuff for breakfast the next morning and just sleep in the car by the shuttle area.  I would like to point out that during this process, MFR and I did not get into one fight nor did I have a single type A panic attack.  Winning!

While checking out at the country store we asked the local cashier if she knew of any camping spots that would still have space (it was probably close to 7pm at this point).  She directed us to a huge campground right across the road and next to the shuttle area.  What? We thought that was only for RV's? Nope, turns out if you go past the "RV Only" sign there is a huge tent camping area right on the river.  Whoops.  So we got a spot, set up our tent very quickly and drove to the one restaurant/diner in town for dinner.  They were out of pasta so we settled for chicken strips (which had to be sent back because they were not cooked all the way - nothing like salmonela poisoning to start off your race morning) and a burger.  Made our way back to the campsite and forced a quick campfire before we finally retired around 10:30pm.  Oh and we forgot our pillows too so had to sleep on rolled up sweatshirts.  Needless to say when the alarm went off at 5am I was sore, tired and very cranky.

We got to the shuttle around 6am and after getting the coveted timing chip we boarded a shuttle that left around 6:15.  MFR was starting at 7am and I was starting at 7:05 so I was little stressed about timing.  We rushed through transition, throwing on our wetsuits and sunscreen etc... We headed down to the water around 6:55am and I jumped in line for a porta potty (barefoot by the way - new low - just call me B. Spears).  While in line I saw MFR sprinting back up to transition and he yelled out "forgot my earplugs."  He made it back maybe 60 seconds before the gun went off.  Reminder - do not follow any of these instructions when doing a triathlon.  I waded into the river with the other 36 women and off we went.

Clearly not my group.
 Swim - (34:51, 14th in AG out of 37))
The water felt great and was really warm.  I had a brand new wetsuit on (finally after wearing my free TNT one from 2006 for all these years) which performed well.  The gun went off and we headed upstream.  I got a little clamored for the first 200 meters or so and I did my best to stay right in line with the buoys and kick off anyone drafting over me.  It was a straight out and back swim with people on either side of the buoys so there were a few times I almost ran into swimmers coming the opposite direction but I can dodge pretty well in the water.  It definitely felt like it took awhile to get to the turnaround buoy considering we were swimming upstream but the current wasn't actually that strong.  After WF I had been kind of defeated about my swim so when I got to the turnaround, I was surprised to see so many purple caps behind me and surprised how good I felt.  I kept it up the whole way back and I ran out of the water feeling great.

T1 - (5:37, 25th in AG)
I ran up the extremely long hill barefoot on bueno!  You could hear everyone around going, "ouch, seriously?"  Once I got into transition I mentally fell apart.  Do I need bike gloves? Yes.  Why can't I get them on?  Man that swim felt great.  Which way do I go out again?  I suck at transitioning.  What else is new?  Leslie later texted me asking if I took a nap in T1:).

Bike - (1:25:54 , 23rd in AG)
You guys this bike course was so awesome.  I can't say enough good things about it.  It was so beautiful and just enough rollers to keep you guessing but nothing too intense as far as climbing.  Once out of transition, you looped up into the forest and although the road wasn't the best condition, we were in shade and had views of overgrown greenery everywhere and a creek along side you.  It felt like being back in Oregon.  At about mile 15 we dropped back onto the main highway and made our way to the beach (also beautiful and scenic) for a few miles along the ocean cliffs, then a turnaround for a straight shot back to transition.  I felt good and tried to keep pushing the entire time.  I lost focus a few times with the surroundings and realized that I could be going harder.  I am used to longer races so it's weird for me go hard on the bike the whole time.  I felt strong the whole ride though did feel like more people were passing me then in WF.  I had two Gu's and drank Nuun Cherry Limeade and water.  Right when the heat was starting to get a little unbearable, I rode back into transition.

T2 - (2:37, 26th in AG)
I tried to rack my bike and hurry as much as I could because I knew how slow T1 had been.  I thought I had done a decent job but clearly in comparison to my AGers not so much.  I threw on my shoes, picky bar wristband grabbed my hat and race belt and one last sip of Nuun.  I ran out of transition thinking, "I can't believe how great I felt on the swim and bike, this is so fun.  Crap now I have to run, F it's hot!"

Run (55:18, 23rd in AG)
That damn run.  It always gets you.  I went from feeling giddy and excited to fu** why is this so hard in about 2 min.  The run was an out and back and luckily most of it was in the shade but it was getting really warm out.  The first mile I felt okay but could feel my body slowly starting to hurt and feel pain.  I just kept thinking, it's just a can definitely get through a 10K, just keep pushing. I stopped at two aid stations and sipped water.  At about mile 2.5 I passed a woman and heard her say in a very snarky voice, "ughh, of course you would pass me AGAIN!"  I didn't think she was talking to me until I realized I was the only person close to her.  I looked back and said "are you talking to me?"  "Yes you passed me on the bike too." Awkward silence, "ohhh.ummm sorry."

WTF?  Okay so whats your point?  You don't want to get passed, then run faster.  And she wasn't even in my age group so who cares?  Believe I always know when I pass people in my age group and I specifically noticed that she wasn't in mine when I passed her.  I shook it off and continued to the turnaround.  The 3 miles back were rough but the fact that I had felt so good on the swim and bike carried me through.  I dug deep because I didn't want to ruin a great race with the last two miles of the run.  When I finally saw transition coming into site I pushed and ignored that heat was getting brutal.  All of a sudden, I realized we had to actually circle transition and climb one more steep hill right before the finish line.  I hate when they do that.  I slugged up and crossed the finish feeling like I had left it all out there.

Overall: 3:04:17 (20/37 AG, 225/397 overall)

Had I known that I was going to be so close to 3 hours I probably would have pushed a little harder on the bike and maybe in transition but I felt pretty good about that time considering my goal was 3:20.  I really enjoyed this race and the course.  Afterwards they had full breakfast for everyone: pancakes, eggs, sausage and bacon.  It was amaze.  MFR had a rough race and pulled something in his calf on the run so he had to go to the medical tent.  I was stuffing my face with pancakes being a very attentive wife and then we sat in the sun and stretched.  I told him about the crazy lady on the run as we started to walk back to the shuttles. I kid you not, two seconds later I feel a tap on my shoulder.  Crazy lady!

This is what followed:
CL:"Ummm do you mind me asking what your time was?"
Me, "I actuallly don't know, I didn't wear a watch but I am assuming a little over 3 hours."
CL: In her uber-annoyed snarky voice, "no you came in before me and I got 2:58 so clearly you did better than that."
Me: "Well you started at least 5 min after me so that's why."
CL: "No I didn't, what's your number.....pause, pause, pause....oh wait you're right."
She walked away.

What the hell?  Who does that?  MFR just looked at me in disbelief.  I don't know why she decided to make it a personal competition with me or why she doesn't know how age groups or race waves work but if I see her at another race, game on bitch!  I picture it in my head as seeing her in transition and leaning in ever so slightly to whisper (in my best Don Cheadle voice), "and remember, you brought this on yourself." A girl can dream.

I am back to the good ole days where the swim is my best event and a consistent bike makes for a good run.  All in all everything improved and it was a great race and great day.  Excited to focus on the run for the next two months but I am hoping to get in a swim and bike at least once a week.  Cute medal and shirt (not pictured) but the shirt already has a hole so pretty poor quality.

Speaking of poor quality - my horrible photo skills

Of course I didn't take any other pictures but here are some great ones if you want to get a feel for the race and course.


  1. Awesome Race!!! Way to keep strong and dig deep on the run!!!
    That is so funny about that lady! CL must be a rookie and a bitch in real life!!!

  2. Whoa, that lady really does sound crazy! Glad you had fun! I'd like to do a race in that area at some point since it isn't too far from home.

  3. Kristen you should definitely do one. It's an awesome area; though I've heard Vineman 70.3 is set to be 90+ degrees on race day.