The story of the SSTriGP for me, really starts a week before race day. My roommates and I woke up on the morning of 9/12 to an inch of water in our basement. We scrambled to save as much as we could that morning as more water was still coming in. My roommates went off to find other places to stay, while I stayed at home to run the small sump pump we had managed to get. I considered heading over to a friend’s house to play cards, but had to stay home to guard the house from the rising water. By 9pm our street had become a small river, and I grabbed my valuables (bikes & schoolwork, naturally) and ran to stay with my neighbor who has a 2nd floor. We spent a sleepless night trying to keep track of the floodwaters and discussing rooftop evacuation strategies.
The scene the next morning was surreal- cars and debris strewn everywhere. Cars that had been left in the street had been totaled by the floodwaters, one had been pushed through a neighbor’s fence. The basement at my own house had 4 feet of sewage backup (we later found out it got as high as 6 feet). The invitation to play cards the previous night then became an invitation for a dry place to stay. Race prep then became interspersed with cleanup activities and trying to hang on to some thread of normality.
Weird to think of heading to Las Vegas to get back to a routine, but that’s exactly how this story goes. I headed down there a couple of days before the race, and was fortunate enough to run into quite a few of my fellow Colorado-based racers heading down there. It certainly was a spectacle the race organizers were setting up down there! We swam in a pool that had been erected in a parking lot across from the convention center, and biked/ran around a tight course next to the pool. Loads of turns- both in the pool and on land!
The race was held as prelims/finals, with the prelim racing being a single triathlon (swim/bike/run) and finals a double triathlon (swim/bike/run/swim/bike/run). For the girls, many last minute scratches meant that the morning would be an eliminator race. We had two heats of six, and the slowest would not get to race in finals. I drew heat two, and exited the water about 10 sec off the leader. I happily settled into a group of 3 on the bike, and was able to pull away from the other two girls on the run.
Finals were held at 8pm at night, under the lights, which was pretty darn cool! First swim/bike/run went off without a hitch; I was in a pack chasing after Sara McLarty on the bike, and running well with the pack. 2nd swim… ouch! I was staying with one of the other girls, but when I had counted to 300m, she flipped and kept going…. In the heat of the race, I figured that I must have been wrong, so I turned around and kept swimming. She, on the other hand, realized her mistake and got to the flags and got out. I realized this when I got out and she was already on the bike. I had lost my pack and 3-4 places to boot. I think I spent 80% of the bike in my 53-12, out of the saddle, sprinting (the 20% would be on the sharp corners), and then tried to run down as many people as possible. Finished in 8th.
Let me start this wrap up paragraph by saying it was a ton of fun! The change in format from the usual swim/bike/run was refreshing, and I’d love to get the opportunity to race more. Should I have trusted more in my own counting ability, yes. Could I get better at riding my bike more efficiently, yep. Could have I had a bit better strategy going into the evening race, yes to that too. But at the end of the day, I didn’t finish all that bad, had the opportunity to test myself against some really fast girls, and above all had a really great time. Coverage of the event will be shown on 10/6 on Universal Sports at 8pm EST 🙂
Next year? Still working on what the year will bring, and had the opportunity to go to Interbike on Friday to meet some potential team members. Which, on a side note, would have to be one of my favorite “conferences” I’ve ever attended. I’m happy to see some of the steps that I’ve been able to make this year, but even more excited about what the future will hold. I’ll post an update when I can get more things figured out, but for now my next goal is finishing up my Master’s degree!