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Triathlon - 09. May 2007.

Triathlete Suzy Degazon reports on her latest races

APRIL 29TH POSSABILITIES TRI. ABOUT 15 MILES RUN, BIKE & SWIM.
It is Sunday at 5.45am and I am panicking as I am still in the car heading towards the Sprint tri in Loma Linda. It does not matter how many I do I always get nervous about set up!!. To add to that I have had a foot problem for 2 weeks and have been unable to run, it is well taped up and I am using the tri as a springboard for Wildflower.
The Possabilities Tri is in its 5th year and there is a 5km run, a kids race, a sprint tri and a tiny tots tricycle tri! The great thing about this race is it benefits a community out reach program to provide a new direction and hope to persons with disabilities by birth or suffered permanent physical injury. I first heard of this short tri at a triconnection meeting where I was enlightened by a true mentor a triathlete by the name of one arm Willie, do not let the name fool you as he is quite an accomplished challenged athlete and chances are he can do the ironman swim faster than a two armed athlete!!
Finally at 6.20am I arrive, there are athletes everywhere warming up, racking their bikes, registration is a busy place and I hurriedly collect my number and swag bag . Make my way to the bike transition area. I am in the middle row and I set out my bike shoes and swimming goggles. This is to be a reverse tri with the run first and the swim last. Finally I am ready now I need to know where the swimming pool is and how I get there and which way I enter and leave transition! When I am quite clear on the course I go to warm up and stretch a little the good news is the tri is 15 minutes late to the gun time. I jog with Tony Troccoli who would go on to finish first in the challenged athlete category in 56 mins!!
The 5km run was the fastest I have ever done in about 18 minutes..wow I think that is really fast...( The course was definitely about 2.8km) the bike transition went okay and now I was on the 3 loop format which on the first loop was a learning curve and I held back too much on the first significant downhill, the second loop was a survival mode as there was a LOT of triathletes out there on that small loop and to my horror a few were actually wearing head sets!! By the time I was on my 3rd loop I had witnessed a few crashes helped a few riders up the Hill and was just happy to be on the third loop!! I exited the bike course and after finding my bike spot grabbed my goggles and headed for the heated outdoor pool which was 150 yard swim.....I survived to finish the event in 58minutes and 29seconds . There was also a kids race unfortunately I was unable to help with that. A great fast paced race.

WILDFLOWER LONG COURSE TRIATHLON 5TH MAY.
As a late birthday present my fiance said he would take me to the WIldflower Triathlon, I was very late to sign up and would like to thank Tri California for the great race I had.
I have been a triathlete for 13 years and never had the chance to race WIldflower which as Paula Newby Frazer dubbed it "The Woodstock of Triathlon" In its 25th year it has had many great elite athletes toe the swim start, With the dedication from Terry Davis this race has grown from 86 athletes in 1983 to over 8000 in 2007!!! HUGE and I was stoked to be apart of it.
Al and I arrived late in the night after a 7 hour bumper to bumper ride. The campsite was pitch black as we tried to pitch our tent. I finally closed my eyes at 11.30pm!! We were up at 5.30am as I had to collect my race number between 6 to 7am. I hurriedly ate breakfast it was quite cold as we tried to find registration. At 6.30 we decided to ride the bikes down the 1 mile hill to the shore of Lake Antonio were the registration tent was. After getting my chip and setting up transition I discovered my swim wave was at 9.30am!!! So we decided to get the tent packed away before 8am as the roads to the camp grounds would be closed.
At 9am I put on my PROFILE DESIGN by AQUAMAN wetsuit, oh my gosh it fitted like a dream!!! After finally being zipped up I was wished luck by AL and went to the light blue swim cap wave. This was the 18th wave!! and last of the age groups to swim. Women over the age of 35!! My name was announced over the loud speaker for my Ultraman achievements.. thought that was sweet, then the gun went off......Oh My!! Every thing I have ever heard about mass swimming came into action!! I had women swimming over me, kicking me at one point my goggles were knocked off me...and I was not even as far as the first buoy! I should have started at the back I thought but too late! i cleared my goggles and soon found my rhythm and was just happy with such a great Profile Design wetsuit which was warm and very buoyant!! There was a few swimmers holding on to the life guards boards to catch there breathe, water security was great, but the lake was like a washing machine choppy with a slight current.
On exiting the water it was a small run to the bike transition. I had memorized were my bike was. The sun was coming out as I took off my wetsuit and put on my Rudy Project helmet,glasses and fuelbelt race number.I took a hammergel and a few endurolytes and was off on the 56 mile bike ride.
BIKE COURSE
The first mile of the bike was scary as I climbed out of the transition up a small hill. There was many mountain bike triathletes using the same road and one guy fell right in front of me. The mountain bike triathletes soon turned off onto a dirt road and left the long course triathletes struggling with the hill, I like to climb and enjoyed the view. At the top the course left the park to go around the lake clockwise. There was cyclists EVERYWHERE!! I have never seen so many cyclists. Even in St Croix the road soon thins out, here you could see cyclists for as far as the eye could see. I started over taking athletes on their left. Some were 3 abreast, the wind was howling and the sun relentless.It was pretty cool to see so many athletes! It was also an open road to traffic so I had to be careful. I pride my self in my climbing but going downhill I am slow!!!
The first 20 miles was against the wind and I made good progress. Then turned for about 14 miles on to Jolon Road with a side wind!! The course was rolling hills and cyclists everywhere! I had marked a cyclist with a red outfit on and I was gaining on her.. yippy I past her As I approached the 40 mile mark I began to brace my self for the "nasty grade as the race bible calls it" It was at this point were the cyclists had thinned out just before the iron bridge and I had just caught a relay girl who had past me a few times and I had past her, It was then an official USAT bike had started passing the cyclists I remember saying I hope he is not giving tickets. he should have well over 500 if he has!!!. those words will haunt me for a long time!
I carefully went over the bridge, I started passing cyclists, it seemed like a dead zone. So many cyclists were slowing down as if in anticipation of the Hill which turned out not to be not that bad I really found the descent was worse! The road gradually snaked back into the camp grounds and you could see the runners already at mile 6 on the off road! The last mile or so of the bike is a fast and curvy downhill into the transition area.Boy I was so grateful to rack my bike.
THE RUN.
I took my time to put my socks and new Brooks shoes on, took a few endurolytes. I slathered Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen on as it was really hot as I headed out of the transition. I had done well nutrition wise taking all the Perpetuem on the bike. ...The run was 60% trail and 40% road...it was relentless. The climbing and rolling course was beautiful and painful. I was having a great run as that is my favourite part of the tri, There was aid stations every mile were I would take water and my own hammer gel, the run was going great until mile 10 when I suddenly fell victim to a side stitch...the next 3 miles were to say the least survival!! But I managed to do the run in 2 hours and 25 seconds it was slower than I planned but at least I finished standing up and not bent over double. The run course was one of the most demanding 13 miles I have ever raced in my career as a triathlete!!
Over all I had a great time. Al and I stayed round for an hour then we had to leave for the LONG drive home.So we did not stay for the awards. My watch said 6 hours 14 minutes not bad I thought. Until Sunday evening when I went to write my race report and discovered I had been docked 4 minutes for drafting. I felt sick as It was impossable to ride without being near someones bike there was nearly 2000 athletes out there! Oh well, even with those four minutes it would not make much difference to the overall standings I ended up 23rd out of 80 females 40 - 45. I guess it has to be difficult for the USAT officials with that amount of cyclists on the road to do their job.
Thank You to Hammer Nutrition, Profile Design, Profile Design wet suits by Aquaman, Polar USA, Brooks USA, Spinergy Wheels, Hawaiian Tropic Suncare, Serfas Tires,Kool n Fit, Fuelbelt, Rudy Project USA, Ko awa Loa Plantation Hawaii, Avon of Puerto Rico and my fiance Al Wiscovitch for a great birthday present!!

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