Sunday, October 30, 2011

Victory Velo Duathlon - Robin

October 30, 2011 – Auburn, CA
Run 5.5m - Bike 9m 

2:09:30 (48:30-1:21:00)

2nd Woman
Claudia Sidijaya, Glenn Carnahan, Jamie Frink, Todd Allington, Troy and more!

Troy and I ride down to the Confluence in the dark to drop off our bikes and then run to the start.  I can tell on the ride down that my body feels pretty beat and then on the run back up Stagecoach it doesn't get any better.  Still, I'm hopeful that things will feel different in the race.  With Christ, anything is possible.  That means He can get me through the race if I feel great or  awful.  It's about persevering in any situation.

Since Halloween is tomorrow, Troy and I have dressed up.  He's a new kind of "Spiderman" covered in cobwebs and spiders.   I'm a bumble bee with antennas, wings and a stinger to boot.  The whole group of "racers" line up in Downtown Auburn in front of Victory Velo bike shop.  This event is free and unofficial.  It always draws a talented crowd!

Ready, set, go!  What a sight we are in our costumes!  Our friend Todd Allignton is a banana, and Jamie Frink is a fairy.  There is also a real Spiderman, another bumblebee,  a  cheerleader  and a country hick.  I can tell within the first mile 3 things.  1. There is a really fast girl, Dawn, 2. I don't feel so hot and 3. I need to use the restroom.  Still, I don't let it stop me from pushing as hard as I can.

Mile 1 is 7:53.  Just 4.5 miles to go...ugh!  Now that were are on the Western States trail, I try to focus on my footing and the scenery.  Troy, Todd, Dawn and some other guys are long gone.  I pray for Troy and hope that he doesn't twist his right foot out there.

Mile 2 is 7:37.  I still feel yucky and I can see today is going to be all about persevering through the discomfort.  I think about the Ironman.  With the way I'm feeling now, it seems so out of reach.  Glenn Carnahan and his 2 dogs are catching up.  I'm amazed at the pace those dogs are holding!

Mile 3 is 7:58.  I decide to make a quick stop since I cannot hear Glenn.  It helps improve the comfort level but I still feel beat.  The trail is getting more narrow, curvy and rocky which slows me down.  I still have trouble running these trails...even with all the experience. 

Mile 4 is 8:42.  Ugh!  I just need to survive!  Help me Lord!  I'm following a few guys and they take another trail to the left.  It seems wrong since we are now climbing again, but I hope they know better.  Soon it's apparent that we took the wrong trail since we end up on Hwy 49.  It actually is fine by me since I don't have to run on the rocky trail anymore.

Mile 5 is 8:29.   Almost there!  I can see the bike transition.  I don't know if I should smile or cry.   The pain of the run is almost more appealing than riding my mtn. bike on the Lake Clementine loop...I still haven't acquired a lot of confidence on the bike.  Troy and I practiced this loop 3 weeks ago and I struggled.  I decide that when in doubt, I'll jump off and run with my bike.

I get to my bike, stuff my shoes in my bag, hand them off to Jay Garrard in his lederhosen and ride off.  It's neat to be riding under the highest bridge in CA, the Foresthill Bridge.  I do jump off  the bike in a spot that's rocky, narrow and on a cliff.  Now it's a long climb to the top of the loop.  This climb felt great when I practiced.  Now, it feels like torture! 

I catch up to a father-daughter duo on their tandem mtn. bike.  "Nice work guys!" Wow, how did they do that narrow section?!  The dad is wearing a skirt and the daughter is dressed as an elf with a Santa's hat on top.  I wonder if they are going to do some of the more technical parts of the ride.  A friend, Dave, passes me and rolls ahead like a machine.  "Good job Dave!" 

Finally, after 2 tough miles I'm almost at the top.  Suddenly, Aaron from the VV bike shop flies by!  Wow!  "Go get 'em Aaron!  You can close the gap!"  I get to the top and now it's serious!  I have to ride some technical descents and I'm almost wishing I was still climbing.  I do pretty well and mostly stay on my bike more than last time.  I'm not having tons of fun because I'm tired and stressed...but I know I have to keep a good attitude and keep going. 

The trail ends at Old Foresthill Road.  I can either turn right to ride down the road or go straight and pick up the technical trail again.  Anything goes in this race and so it wouldn't be cheating.  But when I practiced last time, I actually did okay, so I have to do the trail!  This time around I find that I'm more cautious and tentative... maybe it's because I'm exhausted?!  I get off my bike a lot more in sections along the cliffs as I think back to Troy's warning to be careful. 

I finally get back to the road and am relieved!  All I have to do is climb up Stagecoach...I can do that!  Ha, ha!  I'm so wiped out that even this climb that seemed so easy weeks ago is killing me!  Halfway up I see Troy.  I'm grateful for the company, though, it's hard to smile and be happy.  It's good practice for when I'm exhausted in life to continue being joyful and continue looking to Christ.  I can feel the Lord helping me dig down and find that joy to continue and not just stop and throw my bike over the edge. 

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  I cross the finish line with Troy and no one else in sight.  The other finishers are long gone.  Without Jesus, I can imagine I'd be bummed out and mad about how the day went.  I put my head down and thank the Lord for his help and catch my breath.  That was one of the hardest races I've had in a long time and I'm actually grateful for the experience.  I really wanted to take shortcuts, which I could have without penalty, but I continued to suffer because I knew it would make me rely on the Lord more than ever.  Thanks,  Jesus, for always being there for me especially when things are tough!  Now, I'm going to lay down for a while and rest.  Ah, good times!