The traffic at the booth was incredible at both events. It was awesome spending time with my colleagues at Klean Athlete and seeing them in action. The idea behind clean and safe sports nutrition is causing a lot of people to think more about what they chose as a supplement. The really fun part was the ability to work hard, then play hard by racing both events post expo! Prior to both races, I added a great blog on my supplementation plans on our Klean site, which can be found here.
First up, my first ever enduro mountain bike race outside of Austin, at the Rocky Hill Ranch. Wow, what an incredible way to spend a Saturday morning! To toe the line with 800 other racers, all looking to challenge themselves over 100K on a hilly and fun course was a great feeling. The race started much faster then I imagined, but I was able to get into a good group. I learned that there is a lot of drafting in these races, so I tried to find a solid pace group and see what happened. The first lap went well, as I came in with Red Bull’s Rebecca Rusch with her on my wheel during the last bit of single track. I have never ridden in front of someone so nice that was coaching me as I tried to stay up right. The last 3 laps were just as challenging with me having to learn how and when to take in nutrition and hydration while bouncing around on a mountain bike. I made some tactical errors on lap 2 as far as this was concerned and lost some time. By lap 4 however, I felt very strong and was able to push the pace and finish up with 65th overall. I just missed out on a Leadville slot, but will use that for motivation for next time!
Hats off to the race organizers at Lifetime for putting on a fabulous expo and awesome event. The vibe at a mountain bike race is like nothing I have experienced before. Great people, great athletes, and great crowds make for an incredible day on the bike.
The very next weekend, we headed over to Galveston, TX for the first big 70.3 (half ironman), of the season! Despite a lot of wind and crazy weather, the expo was awesome. Again, more people are recognizing our Klean brand from our advertising efforts and we got to meet a lot of clients already on the product. We also had a lot of fun with some of the pro athletes sharing stories and great laughs over dinner on Friday night.
Race day came on Sunday with wind, rain and some cooler temperatures. I give Ironman credit for doing the swim leg. I just knew it would get canceled. As a swimmer, if they drop the swim leg from a race, it really puts a dent into my placing.
Our wave went about 1 hour after the pro athletes and we started off with a heavy headwind for the first 500 M. There were swimmers struggling everywhere. There would be up to 6 people hanging on each buoy for either a rest of looking for support. I personally found it challenging and exciting to go out in rough water. For me the swim ended a bit slower than normal, but I was in very good shape overall.
The bike was blessed with a nice tailwind to crosswind on the way out, making for some fast cycling at low watts. The turn brought more of a crosswind then headwind due to changing conditions which suits my riding style. In the end, I had my fastest ever bike split in a 70.3 of 2:19 or 24MPH.
Finally came the run. I knew if working back to back events and racing back to back was going to hit me, this would be the time. Shockingly, the first mile came in at 7:00. The legs felt strong, HR was good and I was able to get in some nutrition. I told myself that the goal was to hold this through 7 miles and see what happens. Mile 7 came and I still felt good.
That pace in a multiple loop run has you passing a lot of athletes. Racing in your backyard also has you running with and sometimes by a lot of people you know. Thus, the words of encouragement and support were everywhere. I just used that to fuel my effort and decided to go for it the last 6.
In the end, I ended up in 6th in my AG, and a slot to the 70.3 World Championships (which I had to pass on unfortunately), and a new PR of 4:27! Bottom line, it felt great to race again, and to race fast! The last time I broke 4:30 I was 37, so to do this 5 years later in my 40’s has an even better feel to it.
Special thanks to my family, coaches and colleagues at Klean Athlete that constantly support me. Special recognition to my family that had to deal with me being gone both for the event and the race, plus other travel over that two weeks.
In conclusion, it felt awesome to race back to back! I can’t wait to toe the line again for our next big event, Ironman Texas here in The Woodlands.