It’s a gorgeous morning in Penticton the day after ITU Long Course World Championships. The sun is coming up over the vineyards in the east, and the mountains to the west are still slightly tired with moon light. I am sad to leave this venue, and hope that I will someday be able to return here to race-cation. The people have been exceptional, from hotel staff, to Team USA staff and mechanics, to race volunteers, to the random strangers and servers in the cafes. It has definitely been a fantastic way to look forward to my 50’s.
I would not be human if I didn’t admit that my race could have been better. I am pleased with my swim. Everyone who knows me knows I am steady and strong, but not fast. There is always room or improvement. I am beyond happy with my ride. I had come into the race thinking that if I could survive Chattanooga, then I could do anything. After driving the course, I was convinced that I was going to run out of gears, and would have to really push on the flats and descents to make the cutoffs. I am happy to report that I spent a LOT of time climbing in the “baby gear” (yes, GEAR not gearS). I did not stop. I did not walk a single climb. I rode like Jamie “commanded.” While my time/average do not reflect a spectacular ride, I did it and I feel as if I was completely successful in that endeavor.
The run ... it could have been better. My standard plan of run 2:30/walk :30 served me well. Once I got myself settled and in the groove, I felt strong - not fast, but steady. I did have the pleasure of being able to help two other Team USA teammates that I came upon (one cramping and near to the vomiting stage), and another I’ve known for years. The first, a young man from Miami who was struggling mightily with dehydration and cramping, I was able to get iced down and pour some F2C down his throat. He was on his last lap of the run, while I was on my 2nd. When he made the last turn to the finish line, I went on. He was waiting at the finish one to thank me. It was wonderful. The second, an athlete I have known for years and respect greatly, was not a “happy camper” and having a disagreement with his GI. We talked through it, decided on a new strategy, and then he really yelled at me to leave him and keep going.
The finish line is fabulous. The Team USA coach hands you Old Glory, and all of the stress and disappointment you may have felt disappears. Steve King, announcer extraordinaire, welcomes you to the finis line with some personal tidbit he has found about you, and you are officially an ITU World Championship finisher. It. Is. Amazing.
I would not have the infinite, world-wide support if not for Chris and Erika and their vision for a team that is actually a family - thank you. For all of my #SuperSexy teammates, you were with me all day pushing me and motivating me to keep moving, to enjoy every single aspect of the day.
There are so many people who made this day a reality: Mike - for loving me always and putting up with the super crazy/stupid training schedules; Marci - for carefully crafting said crazy/stupid training schedules; Jamie - for kicking my fanny bottom on a regular basis in all disciplines; Chuck - for being an ever willing sounding board and Yoda; Celeste - your regular pool presence is icing on my “chlorine cake;” Stephanie and Charlie - you guys welcomed me on some of the hardest rides I did, thank you; Neil - your practical and no nonsense approach to the entire year was refreshing and kept my head in the game Colin, Aidan, my momma and Daddy (Gary and Mary Kay), my “Bonus Parents” and “brother another mother” Marc - you were all there, all the time, making sure I knew I could finish this and finish on my feet. Kim - I tried to keep smiling. I know I didn’t on a couple of the harder climbs, but at the end I was ecstatic - your love of racing was there.
You all made the day for me, and I am eternally grateful. Thank you. Truly, thank you. Love and hugs!!! (Race report breakdown to follow soon.)