I have to be honest I did not get much sleep the day before this event as I was glued to the broadcast for the World Ironman World Championships!! As well as trying to get my gear packed, see Cheyenne my step daughter dressed up for her first homecoming dance and date as well as drive the hour drive to Lake Castaic to pick up my race number etc I was to say a little tired!!
Race Day: As we were leaving from home we were all up at 4.15am and out of the door by 4.45am, the drive was hassle free and we were soon at Lake Castaic. Good parking space in the early darkness prepared the bike and gear; then panic set in as I could not find my timing chip ANYWHERE! Darn I thought I must have mistakenly removed it from my race packet when taking out the race fliers! Well nothing I can do I need to rack my bike and beg forgiveness. Al, Montana and I head over to check in on our way over I asked if I could get a new chip. This was the most painless task and a huge Mahalo to the timing company. Without any drama I had a new race number and chip within 5 minutes 707!! From there everything went smoothly, I racked my Cannondale, put on my Aquaman Wetsuit and walked down to the start of the swim.
SWIM: A mass start lucky for me there was not 1000 athletes getting ready to churn up the Lake. I sighted the turn buoy, the gun sounded and we were off. Once in the water any notion of calmness disappeared as I was head dunked swam over repeatedly and grabbed at!! I kept my cool even after swallowing some nice lake water! I stopped took a breather, re grouped and decided to swim away from the pack. I practiced my bilateral breathing so I could see what was going on around me, I was moving and passing buoys and just as I thought I needed to stop I was on the shore running up the sand to the transition area, Unzipping my Gold cell suit ran over the timing mat taking care were I placed my feet I made it injury free to my bike, which was easy to find as I am not the fastest swimmer!
BIKE: Compared to the early hours the sun was now making an appearance so I decided to fore go the arm warmers and socks, refuel with a Hammer gel and before I knew it I was setting off for a 56 mile bike ride, which I had not pre ridden or even seen via car… in some ways I am glad I had not seen this course wow, I heard it was hilly but this was HILLY! I cycled out of Lake Castaic made a right turn and lo and behold before me like a string of diamonds were all the athletes who had taken me down in the swim!! I changed my bike gears into a low spinning gear and began to climb the road ahead; slowly passing many different types of bikes, 6.5 miles later I was finally cresting the top! Without any flat road I was suddenly flying down a steep descent I know it was steep as there was a sign not allowing the use of aero bars!! I realized as I was quickly approaching Earth that there was a turn around some where, as cyclists were now ascending this steep downhill!! And so this would be the order of the day… climb descend, climb descend I had to make 2 loops on the course as I was doing the long course. Despite the climbing and rough road, I was actually having a blast! And enjoying the challenging course and scenery! Santa Clarita is certainly pretty and I even saw a hunter bag a Buck!! The course was well marked and there was plenty of Hammer Heed and Water available, I was able to exchange my bottles 3 times!! I knew it was hot so I kept well hydrated and taking Hammer Electrolytes the final climb was a quad buster only about a mile and then 7 miles downhill back to my Ravenna running shoes!!
It always makes me smile as I am heading towards the transition area and an official says slow, get off your bike…. I needed no prompting my bike was screeching to a halt and I was ready to walk over that timing mat to my set up area!!
I took my time to put on Ocean Potion sunscreen and take a Hammer gel as well as put on socks, I figured better to prepare for the run and heat all in one go! My Brooks shoes felt great and they wanted to run, I felt good, I had my fuel belt on which made me self sufficient nutrition wise for the 13.1 mile run!!
RUN: This was two loops of 6.5 miles, a little confusing on my first loop as again had not seen the run course, at the beginning of my second loop my husband AL had thought I had finished but I happily smiled back and said sorry a rather hilly bike I still have one more loop to do!! And off I set for the second loop which was a lot easier as I could visualize the course. I was running and I kept thinking of Macca at Hawaii Ironman, he never slowed down he kept on running forward I drew strength from that! With plenty of Heed, Hammer Gel and water available for the runners I was soon running through the finish chute with a sub 2 hour run!
POST RACE: I really enjoyed this challenging half iron distance race, and loved the fact it was held on 10/10/10. I actually won my age group but was disappointed there had not been more triathletes at the venue as this was really a fantastic race, well organized and challenging. It felt really good to cross the finish line and know I had survived that bike course!! The event also boasted an Olympic distance triathlon and a 5km run something for everyone. I would recommend this race to triathletes who really want to challenge themselves at a good venue and well thought out course…..Its not called Magic Mountain for nothing!!
Courtois Straight Through to the Semis
– Pauline Courtois leads after first day