Thoughts on my mind the week of Galena…
Leading up to this race, I was very concerned about how the FREAKING COLD weather would effect the water temperature of the lake at Apple Canyon River. I was checking the weather updates for Galena all week to see what the lake temperature was going to be. I wanted to get an idea of my swimming fate. According to USAT rule, water temperature needs to be at least 60 degrees in order for the athletes to swim. The water temperature at Apple Canyon was teetering on 58-60 degrees all week. I was certain Galena would just change the triathlon into a duathlon. There was no POSSIBLE way that the water temperature would be 60 degrees. We had such cold, rainy weather the past few days. I had such high hopes that Galena would change the race. I couldn’t even imagine what swimming in 60 degree water would feel like. Galena stuck to their guns and stated that the water temperature was 60 degrees. This meant we were going to swim. Boy, did my heart drop when I heard the final announcement. I could not believe that the water temperature was actually 60 degrees. I was terrified to swim in water that cold. I didn’t know if I would survive. Lets touch back on that in a minute…
Morning of the race: it was a three hour drive to get to Galena… THREE HOURS! Can you say leg cramps? Good Lord, was I glad to get out of the car once we arrived at the race site. The Galena triathlon has two different transition areas. One is right by the beach were we swim, the other transition area is 16.8 miles away. So this means race morning you need to set up two separate transition areas. It took 25 minutes to drive to the second transition area and another 25 minutes to drive back. There goes my warm up… This also meant that my dad would have to go from the start line to on an hour long bus ride (around the course) to get to the finish line. Not a very spectator friendly race to say the least.
Once we finally got my transition set up, I went to the water to see how horrid the swim was going to be. When I first stepped in the water, my feet were burning. Then it felt like tiny needles were stabbing at my skin where Audrina was not covering me. Eventually, they were numb. A very brave French lady in the water next to me jumped in head first into the water…If she could do it so could I…this seems the be reoccurring factor in my life lately…. So I went underwater expecting the worse, which would be that I decided I could not race. However, it wasn’t actually as bad as I had expected! Pheww, that was a huge relief. I mean it wasn’t going to be a cake walk, but I would be able to get it done without worrying if I was going to die.
The race was beach start. I squeezed my way up to the front of the pack of women waiting to go off at 9:20. When the buzzer went off, we ran into the chilly lake water. I was able to fight my way to the front of the pack of girls and started drafting of the girl in the lead. My fingers grazed her feet every so often. I felt slow at first, because of the cold. Once we got into the grove of swimming, I felt like I was going at a decent pace! The lead girls and I started passing the men from the previous wave. Take that guys!! All of us lead girls came out of the water at once. I was fourth in my wave. The transition was a LONG and pebbly one. My guess was that the actual
swim only took 7:15-7:25minutes, we had a heck of a long transition to run up.
Goodie gum drops! Just what I’ve always wanted. Thankfully, some of the run to the transition area was covered with a rug. The parts not covered with rug was covered with sharp little rocks which got stuck to my feet. Ouch! I had such a hard time getting my feet into my shoes. I swear, they were fighting against me at one point!
Now for the bike. There was a steep hill right out of the T1. Hence, I could not stick to the normal plan of jumping onto Cecilia with shoes already on the pedals. Running in my shoes with cleats was the only option. On the bright side, I was able to get Audrina right off of me! No problems =] HOORAY! She is finally liking her momma.
I was the first woman out of transition and onto the bike course. Two things about the bike portion. The hills were huge! Holy Guacamole! I expected my legs to be like jello once I was finished with each one. Surprisingly, I felt pretty strong after each hill and was able to push hard going into the down hill that came with each steep climb. I was passing guys left and right. These were guys in full tri gear. I was so happy! This definitely gave me the confidence to push even harder on the bike. I hadn’t seen a woman pass me yet! Around mile 13/14 I was getting ready to climb a big hill. I switched from the big chain ring to the small. Low and behold, my chain dropped. This is the first time anything like this has happened to me during a race that has caused me to stop completely. I was terrified. I had never dropped my chain at all. My pedals wouldn’t move and I was convinced I was going to fall over. I safely (shocker) got to the side of the road and tried to fix poor Cecilia. Now I put my chain back on my bike several times before, so I knew how to fix it.. or so I thought. However, being a Mascarella, my chain was stuck between the bottom bracket and the chain ring. For the life of me, I could not get it loose. At this point, my grief stages started to kick in. I was in tears trying to fix stinking Cecilia. Finally, my knight in BONKER kit came to save my life. It took some elbow grease and some skill to finally get my chain back on, but after a heart wrenching 3.5 minutes, I was finally back on my bike and ready to go! While I was having a mental break down on the side of the road, three women had passed me. No way I was going to catch up with the first two, but I was going give everything I had to catch the third women. This lady and I were playing cat and mouse once I caught her. She was about 15ft in front of my when we arrived at the transition area. She dismounted her bike by clipping out of her pedals. I was able to hop off of Cecilia and edge the other girl out of the T2 line by a few inches! That’s what ya’ get for passing me! I ran to my next transition area and attempted to take my helmet off… but Vaderette did not want to come off of my head. She somehow got herself wrapped up in my hair. I mean, Christ on a corndog, could anything go right? After fighting with my helmet for a while, I was finally able to get her off and get my shoes on.
I was off and out of transition and just a second behind the lady I had just edged out of the bike… touché, my friend, touché. I was now going to take on the monster hill that was the run course of the Galena Triathlon. I ran the first half of the hill and walked the second half, I mean there was no point. I was going to save my energy for the rest of the run. There were a couple of little hills thrown in during the rest of the run. My legs were shot and screaming at me from trying to catch up to the ladies on the bike. Once I was at the turn around point, three women blew past me…typical. I was going to finish strong and steady. I kept a good pace the rest of the run, even finishing with a 7:50 mile..should’ve been faster, but I’ll take it.
I crossed the finish line and was happy that race was finally over.
I was 2nd in my AG and 11th female OA. If only I did not drop my chain, I strongly believe I would’ve placed first in my AG and at least somewhere between 5-10th place OA.
Oh well, like everyone keeps telling me, “Its alright, it’s a learning experience.” Yea it might have been a learning experience, but it still really sucks that my chain dropped!!! Ughh! I’m still steaming over it. I’ll eventually get over it, but it wont be anytime soon!