Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cautious Kandi Takes the Win!

Last year I tried an Xterra event at Snow Valley and I walked away with bruises, cuts, blood and a first place award.

You can read about my experience at last year's Xterra Sport Triathlon by clicking on this link:

After that day, I said I was going to go back and do the course again - without hitting my face against a certain rock along the "bumblegum" downhill track.

That rock wasn't there this year.....

When I went to registration Saturday morning they had some of the awards sitting on a table, probably to entice the participants to swim, bike, or run faster.

Look at all the PRETTY trophies!!!

And I was told it would be a good thing if I won my age group because the award for my age group was made out of the rock that I had crashed on last year.

Ah, that was so sweet.

I was also informed there were a lot of women in my age group this year.
I was happy to hear that. 
Last year, I won first place in my division, but I was the only one in that division. It made me happy to hear there were more women signed up this year.
Yeah!!! More women are out mountain biking and competing in triathlon - that gives me a smiley face.

So, while I was happy there were more women participating this year, I was not geared to win.
My mind set was to finish without blood.

This year's swim was perfect and I was really happy to finish the 500 yards in 9:13.
Yeah, I know I complained to a few of you about that girl who kept swimming criss-cross in front of me to the point that I purposely splashed water on her and told her to stop swimming criss-cross and to hold her line. 

My T1 time of 4:05 was pretty slow, but since transition was DIRT, I was trying to keep everything moderately clean as I shoved my wetsuit, goggles, cap and towel into the big plastic bag for all our swim stuff. I managed to get my socks and bike shoes on without getting dirt in them.

Picture from Xterra Snow Valley.

And then my bike ride started.
I cruised along for a while and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Tall trees, blue skies, white clouds, dirt road.

It was a gorgeous ride until - 

This picture was from last year....but it was the same this year. People (including me) walked their bikes up this hill. There were a few (very few) cyclists who actually rode their bikes all the way up the hill.

And then there was the downhills.
I made it past "bumblegum" twice without incident.
And thank you to the guys standing along the course who cheered me on and congratulated me for NOT crashing out this year.

I also rode my bike a lot with my right foot clipped in, with my butt off the seat, while my left foot scooted me through the downhill (REALLY DOWNHILL) sand (DEEP SAND).

I was being cautious, but I was going to finish without blood.

Okay, I admit that I did tip over to the right one time and I couldn't get my foot unclipped fast enough and I did hit my knee. But, no worries, because the injury is really small compared to my "laundry incident" scar.

You can see my "laundry incident" scar, and my Xterra injury is next to it...oh, and I guess a little above it, too.

It took me 2:08 to ride my bike a little more than 7 miles.

Yes, I probably could have run faster than that. I probably could have run faster downhill through sand with my bike if I had had on my running shoes instead of my bike shoes.
But I pulled into T2 at the bottom of the hill with my face intact and NO blood on my tri-kit!
I was relieved to park my bike and put on my running shoes.

Truth - that was the HARDEST mountain bike course I have EVER ridden (pushed my bike) on.

I knew what to expect from the run.....up, up, up, then across, then down, then up, up, up, down, down, down, up, up, up, down, down, down, up, up, up, across, up, up, then down, down, down.
The best part of the run was meeting the DEVIL at the top of Mt. Diablo.

The picture is of last year's devil. This year's Devil scared me. He knew my name and pointed his fork at me and said, "Fork you."


I laughed as I ran/slid to the bottom of Mt. Diablo. I'm not sure what the grade of that hill was, but someone said it was in the 30s. I'm just glad I didn't have to push my mountain bike up that hill.
44:30 for my run/jog/walk/trudge.

Finally, I saw the finish line.

I got my finishers metal, picked up my bike from transition, found my T1 bag and took everything to the car.
By the time I got everything loaded and made my way to the free "lunch" they had already given out the awards for my age group.
Orietta, who had done the swim as part of a points relay team, told me they had announced my name.

How could that be?
It took me 3:08:40 to get to the finish line.

I won first place for the second year in a row!
I was the ONLY woman in the 50-54 age group for sport triathlon for the second year in a row! 
(That was pretty devious telling me there were LOTS of women in my age group. I am sure that competitive thought in the back of my mind made me push my bike faster uphill or through the sand).

There was another women in the 50-54 age group, but she was in the points division, and I don't know her exact age, so I'll just say that we were the oldest women at the event for triathlon.
I'm not really sure I want to admit that I was the oldest woman competing anyway. 

Altogether, there were 6 women in the sport triathlon division and 6 women in the points triathlon division.
The rest were all men.

After the race I said I had done what I had come out to do and I didn't need to race Xterra Snow Valley again.
But then I started thinking....if I don't go back next year, there will be no one in the 55-59 women's age group (there wasn't anyone in that age group this year).

Well, I have a while to think about it.
And if any women want to join me, that would be great!!!!

In the meantime, I have my piece of the rock.

And if I do sign up for next year's race and I am asked at the top of Mt. Diablo who made me sign up, I'll say, "The Devil made me do it."