Tuesday, May 31, 2011

French Broad Challenge Race Report

I have been looking forward to this race for quite some time.  Not that I don't look forward to all of my races but this one was special because instead of the swim leg we got to paddle the French Broad River!  The other reason I was really looking forward to this race is because this was going to be Steve's first triathlon.  He is not a fan of swimming so it was the only way to get him to do it.  Unfortunately, he fractured his foot about 4 weeks ago so he was sidelined and once again my personal photographer.  I was pretty bummed.

This race involves a 1.5 mile run, 2.5 mile paddle, 10 mile bike & a 2.9 mile run. The start & finish are on the Carrier Park race track.  The race is part of Asheville's Mountain Sports Festival.  A cool event that combines sports & music in Carrier Park.

This is also the first triathlon that we did not have to get up at 4AM since the race didn't start until 5PM.  It was really nice being able to sleep in but I really didn't know how to prepare for a late afternoon race.  What do I eat?  What do I do all day?  Well, we decided to check out Clingman Cafe a local place in the River Arts District for a late breakfast.   I ordered the breakfast special, an egg & sausage wrap with a side of fruit & some coffee.  It was really good but I played it safe & only ate 1/2 of it.

We then went to check out the WNC farmer's market & then went to check out a couple of caches for Steve.  He is a big geocacher.  One of the caches took us to a park along the river.  That is the cool thing about geocaching...it takes you to places you would never know exist.

After we were done geocaching we grabbed Subway for lunch.  Again did not want to take any chances & then went back to the hotel to hang out for an hour.

We loaded up all the gear & left the hotel about 3PM.   This race had 2 transition areas.  One for the kayak & one for the bike & second run leg.  We dropped off the kayak first and checked out the put in.  We then went to T2/T3 & dropped off the bike & run gear.  Here we checked out the take out.  It looked a little challenging because of quite a few rocks & some baby rapids coming in to the take out.  Hmmm, should be interesting!
My yak in T1
All the boats in T1
T2 & T3

We then drove back to Carrier Park to pick up the timing chips.  No body marking for this race.  We had about 40 minutes or so before the race start so we went to find some shade.  I took a gel & drank some water about 25 minutes before the start.

Steve & I just before the start

At about 4:55PM the race director gave the pre-race talk.  At 5PM the first wave started.  I was in the second wave & we started at 5:05PM.  We ran 1/2 a lap around the race track before exiting to the greenway.   My legs felt like lead.  Not sure why but I just tried to keep my run pace & not go out too fast.  About a mile into the run my stomach started cramping.  It was hot & the sun was beating down but still I was not thrilled about getting a cramp so early in the race. Really, who would be?  I kept on my pace & soon I was in T1. 

I put on my cycling gloves & attempted to put on my PFD.  MENTAL NOTE - next time I do a running then paddle race make sure to loosen up the vest first!!  Not sure if it was because I was breathing hard or because it was hot but when I zipped up my vest it felt like I had on a corset.  I could barely breathe.  I didn't bother adjusting it though.  I just hoped I would settle down once on the water.  Fortunately, being in the back of the second wave a lot of the boats were already gone so I was able to pull mine to the put in without having to do too much navigating around other boats. The put in was super easy.  Now I was ready to start paddling.

This section of the FBR is mostly flat with a couple of baby rapids & a few tree stumps to navigate around.  It was moving pretty good.  Steve was waiting for me on the river bank.  His form of cheering me on was to yell 'you better pick up the pace!'  I just laughed....even the spotter on the river gave him a hard time for that one.  I had no idea how long it would take me to paddle 2.5 miles but every time I looked at my watch it was between 11 -12 minute miles.  I guess that was OK...I really had no idea.

I slowly gained on a large group of boats over the 2.5 miles.  In fact, by the take out I had caught up to about 10 boats.  Getting out was a little more difficult.  Between navigating around the rocks & at least 10 boats trying to get out at the same time it was a little more of a challenge.  I wore an old pair of run shoes for the first run leg because I figured there was a good change they would get soaked.  Well they did when I hopped out of my yak so I was glad I had another pair of shoes for the second leg.  We had to pull our own boats up the stairs before the volunteers would take them.  Once he grabbed my yak I was able to run into transition.

After a quick sock change I was out on the bike...my favorite leg!  It was an out & back course.  The out bit was a slight down hill with a tail wind.  Here I was able to pass a lot of folks.  Before I knew it I was at the turn around & that is when I realized I had a nice tail wind on the way out.  Oh well, nothing new there.  Training for the Iron Girl I had lots of training rides with the rolling hills of KY & 20+ mph winds.  This was no where near as bad as those training rides.  There were 3 of us girls that rode most of the way together, with 3 bike lengths between us of course!  We kept passing each other & it was good to have that challenge to keep up with each other.  We all ended up going into transition together.  My bike computer said my average speed was 18.1mph.  I was hoping it would be closer to 19 but no such luck.

Now for the 2nd run leg.  Ugh, my run legs still felt like lead. My heart rate was up & the heat was getting to me.  It's this time of the race when I start asking myself 'why exactly do I do this?'  Oh yeah, because it is fun.  Right, it just never seems like fun when you are trying not to puke.   This leg was a mix of road & trail run.  My only complaint on the volunteers is that they kept saying 'you are almost there!' but really I wasn't.  I think 'almost there' is like 1/4 mile not 1.5 miles!  Just saying.  Seriously though, the volunteers were awesome!
Neither one of my run legs were spectacular by any means.  I finished the race in 1h58m26s.  Instead of finishers medals we got free beer tickets....my kind of race!  We also had Doc Cheys noodles.  Post race food & beer are the best!  We had about an hour until the awards ceremony so we went back to get all my crap out of transition.  We then went back to Carrier Park for our free beer & to listen to the awards.  To my surprise I actually won 3rd place Masters Female! This was the first race I won anything!  That was pretty cool.

This was a really fun race & a great atmosphere.  I would recommend it & may actually do it again next year hopefully this time with Steve!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...