My first triathlon of the 2013 campaign is done and dusted. I raced the Rage Olympic Distance Triathlon at Lake Mead, NV on Saturday. The race provided a chance to test fitness and practice on a course similar to St. George, where I’ll compete in my first 70.3 of the year in two weeks. The weather conditions are also fairly similar, hot and windy. With thoughts of preparation filling my head, I headed East for a weekend of racing, training, and beer-drinking Father/Daughter time with my Dad who was in LA to drive with me.
The race came two months later in the year than my first triathlon of 2012. I’m hoping that the longer build-up, focusing on training and health will benefit me late in the season. As part of my health focus, I’ve been taking Pur Pak daily to aid in recovery and keeping my energy levels high. I’ve also been controlling my diet more closely than I have in the past. Though I’m still balancing a healthy love of craft beer in my life, I’m taking care to indulge slightly less frequently. I’ve had a few set-backs in training, including a bout of shingles, but I still went to Vegas excited to try out some “early” season fitness.
The race proved why the Lake Mead area is one of my favorite training/racing venues. The swim in Lake Mead was absolutely perfect, with temperate water around 64 degrees and water so clear and clean we could see the bottom throughout the entire swim. Though winds tend to make the lake a bit choppy, it’s only enough to keep things interesting. I came out of the water second and all alone, unable to find a group to swim with. My time wasn’t as fast as previous Olympic swims, so I know that is something I need to continue to improve on.
The bike course is all rollers on perfect roads, with a view around every turn. The fierce winds always provide a bit of extra challenge as well. I was caught before the turn-around and played leap frog for a bit with the girl in second place. At the turn around, I realized I had enough left in my legs to push harder, and worked on getting back to T2 faster than I had reached the turn-around. I made it 7 minutes faster! That made me realize I hadn’t really been pushing, and I desperately need to put my power meter back on my tri bike!
The run works over loose rocks for the first mile, then climbs for just over two miles. At the 5k turnaround I had about a minute over the second place racer who I had passed at the bike turn-around. I put my head down and tried to push harder for the downhill two miles. Mild cramping held the pace slower than I would have like, but I kept working. The loose rocks on the final mile were almost my undoing, but my Dad was there shouting that a girl was about to catch me, so I sprinted hard in the last half mile. The run split was about the same as mine at Wildflower Olympic last year, and I was pleased with the effort. To meet my goals at St. George, I just have to keep the same pace for another 7 miles!
Since Pur Pak helps me recover quickly, I got back up the following morning and went on a three hour bike ride around the gorgeous Lake Mead National recreation area. Between that and quality time with my Dad at the Hoover Dam, I can’t think of a better first race weekend. Onto St. George!