Tuesday, March 2, 2010

First Multi-Sport Race of the Season

This past weekend I went out to the warm and sunny ....errrr cold and wet.... state of Arizona. I decided that the Desert Classic Du would be a good season opener because there is always a good field of competitors, and it would give me a chance to finally get outside and run/bike.

I ended up taking off on Friday evening. Flight wasn't too bad which is always nice. We left on time and had one stop in Kansas City. Ended up arriving in Phoenix at a little past 8. My dad had called to say that my bike arrived so that is always reassuring. Instead of carrying it out onto the plane with me, I shipped it out Tuesday afternoon. At the airport, I hopped a shuttle over to the rental car building. Now that I'm 25 I can rent cars without any extra fees! So this was my first time renting a car, which was exciting, yet a little nerve wrecking. I opted out of any insurance so that I could pay the least amount possible. Ended up being 90 bucks for the whole weekend, so that was nice. I was given a brand new car too! 2010 Ford Focus with 500 miles on it.

From the airport it was about an hour drive over to my dad's cousin's house (Kathy). The whole family was extremely generous and nice. Really felt welcome from the moment I walked in the door. They gave me a key to the house and said to make it my home. Hopefully I wasn't too much of a bother for the weekend! Since it was so late when I got there, we all sat down for a little bit and then I headed off to sleep.

It was nice to sleep in the next day for a bit. I wanted to leave the house by 10 because I had a lot of running around to do. I knew it would be a busy day and wasn't even sure what time I'd get back at night! First thing, I took my unpacked bike in its box over to the UPS store to see how much it would cost to ship back to Chicago. I was told it would be $133. No way was I going to do that. I decided that since it was so much I would just bring it on the plane with me since 1)its cheaper and 2)I'd have my bike with me at all times. Only problem is that its a big pain to carry that box around the airport. I then put my bike together in the parking lot. You wouldn't believe how many people stopped and asked me how to get some place or where something was. Just had to keep saying I'm from outta town. I got the bike together and darn..the end piece to my wheel easy release fell off in the box and went missing.

So I drove down to a bike shop and it took almost an hour! They were very generous and gave me the piece at no charge. I also pumped the wheels up so that I could ride the bike course when I got there. The shop was close to Mesa though so I swung by the Cubs practice facility. Got there around 12:30 and darn! They were just finishing up. Caught a glimpse of Geo Soto though. Tried to get his autograph but he was in a hurry and said to come back tomorrow, haha. I then made my way over to the bike course to pick up my packet and then practice a little bit.

While driving over..I noticed the sun was out and take a look at the temp!

It soon went up to 72 and I was lovin' it! Made it over to the course and put together this trusty stead:

My initial workout was going to be ride 30 mins and run 20. I got onto the bike and remembered the bike course from doing this race 2 years ago. Its really simple, just out and back with not many turns. I was cruising along and just soaking in the warm weather, being outside, and seeing the mountains in the background. Before I knew it, I was at the 10.5 mile turnaround point and heading back. I rode the whole 21 mile course and it felt like nothing. Got back to the car and was heating up so I ran in just my shorts and a tank. Wow, why can't it be like that back in Chicago?! I ran the 2nd run course of 2.7 miles. I remembered that the 2nd run course was a lot more difficult and that a few guys went off course 2 years ago. I wanted to make sure I knew where I was going and to see how tough it was. Did some strides and then felt ready to go!

I left the race park and went in search of some food. I wanted to stop for a gatorade so I saw a Safeway grocery store on the way back, and while inside there was a salad bar screaming my name. Perfect, a two in one stop. All of my needs for the race along with a delicious dinner!

I relaxed at the store for a while and ate there and then went in search of a wireless hotspot. I brought my laptop along so that I would be able to work on a few things. Two years ago, my dad and I stayed at Fort McDowell Casino Resort, so that's where I went. They had free wireless internet there, so I was able to get a little work done...along with losing 20 bucks in the casino. Darn. Although...I did win a free pair of Brooks Glycerins while on the internet. Those should be coming soon. ...just one of the perks of working at a running shoe retail store.

Finished with all of that and it was time to head back to my homestay for the weekend. By the time I got back it was really late. I just showered and then prepared all of my goods for the next morning. Weather forecast called for rain and cold!

Race Morning:

Woke up and it was raining pretty hard. Nothing I could really do about that. Got over to the race course pretty early and ended up sitting in the car for close to an hour waiting for the rain to die down. Time was running short so I just bundled up and took my gear over to the transition area. Mens field was pretty good with a few guys like Chris Foster and Ben Hoffman so I knew I had my work cut out for me. Training has been going well, but not riding outside for a few months and running on a treadmill are a little different!

After racking my bike and warming up, I came back to see that two pro women's bikes were next to mine. Michelle Jones and Sam McGlone! Michelle's is sweeeeeet. I need a custom job like that :)

I opted to run in just a one piece uniform along with arm warmers. I had gloves on for the first run but then took them off in transition since I thought I was too warm (bad idea).

First run went out fast! Chris Foster took off in what seemed like a sprint and nobody was near him. I slowly moved up throughout the first run. Started in about 7th and finished in 4th right on the heels of Matt Sheeks. I had a great first transition and caught Matt and the 2nd place at the time guy immediately. Matt and I then went on to ride together the whole time. Ben Hoffman flew by my on a downhill. I should've put more of an effort in to stay with him, but now will learn from my mistakes. I finished the bike in 4th. Matt pulled a little ahead in the final two miles. My hands had gone completely numb and I couldn't feel anything. I was worried about falling off the bike and took it easy. Into transition..couldn't get my helmet off. My hands had no feeling and I was about to ask a volunteer to get my helmet for me!
Onto the run I caught up to Matt and we basically ran the whole way together. He gapped me around mile two, and that is when I started to coast. 5th was too far back and Matt was the stronger runner. He actually came very close to catching Ben Hoffman at the finish. I should've put in a stronger run but it will come around in time.

Here are a few pics of the run course:

The picture below is the hill we run up and back down in the second run:

Overall, I took 4th place pro and came away with a little money. Enough to cover the cost so that is good. My time was 3 minutes faster than when I did it 2 years ago...so another plus. With a little more continued training, I should be ready to go for Powerman Alabama at the end of the month.

The rest of the day I relaxed and had an AMAZING dinner at the house. I need to learn to cook like that! Watched some TV and then was time to get ready for home.

Overall, a really fun weekend. A special thanks for the hospitality of my dad's cousin Kathy and her husband. It was really appreciated and worked out perfectly for me. Now its time to get back to training and get ready for the next one!

I know one thing...I'll definitely miss the mountain view while drivin'

1 comment:

Jeff Paul said...


Congrats on a great first race! Good luck in Alabama. Keep up the good work!