Saturday, April 9, 2016

HITS Full Aqua-Bike–Robin ‘16

April 9th, 2016 – Lake Berryessa, CA
Swim 2.4m – Bike 112m

8:30:20 (1:08:49-4:19–7:13:17)




FCA TEAMMATES – Caryn Galeckas (Aqua-Bike), Suzanne Hartley (Half)  

After Ariel’s Earth Day Play, we head out to Lake Berryessa.  I know I’m going to be missing the race meeting because of the play but I figure it’s all the same.  I glanced at the course online and it looked the same.

We get to the campsite and are greeted by Caryn Galeckas and Suzanne Hartely.  They are our teammates and good friends. They help us set up and we have a good time hanging out.

I get up at 5am and eat. I then do some quiet time and head over to transition which is a very short walk.  So nice!

I get my stuff ready in transition.  I see Suzanne walking her bike to the mechanic.  She’s got a flat.  She’s going off soon for the half.  The mechanic is really busy so I tell her that Troy can fix it.  I take the wheel and run back to our campsite.  Troy and the girls are gone.  They must be at the swim start.

I run back and find Troy at the swim start.  I hand off the tire to Troy and we all take a moment to pray together before he goes

The half iron distance folks go first.  They have white caps while the Iron distance folks have yellow.  I ask Caryn where we get out and run to go to the second loop and she says we don’t need to…yeah!  She tells me to turn at the red buoy out there.  I see one really big red buoy on the dock and figure that they will put it out in the water after we’ve all left.  Caryn shares the verse the Lord gave her this morning, Psalm 19:14: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  Hum, yes, that’s a good one.  Lord, I want my thoughts to be pleasing to you today.


Ready, set, go!  I jump into the water for the first time.  It doesn’t feel too bad!  I immediately focus on my right arm.  After some recent shoulder pain and a coach’s comment on the incorrect entry of my right hand into the water on my stroke at masters, I’m really trying to work on my right hand entry.  Working my way to the first buoy which looks like a candy corn.  I see Sena Minshew come along side me.  We are side by side for a few minutes.  Soon I see her heading off to the left.  Looking up I see the buoy straight ahead so I choose to stay the course.  I’m thanking God that I am swimming straight.  

Feeling great to the first buoy.  On the next stretch I’m gaining on more half distance racers.  No shoulder pain!  Don’t see any yellow caps nearby. 

At the next buoy we are heading back to the dock.  I continue to pass white caps and see a few yellow caps ahead.  That big red buoy is still on the dock.  As I get closer I notice a smaller red buoy in the water.  I put my head down and continue to swim hard toward the dock and the big buoy.  I’m on the right of all the swimmers and the small red buoy is on the left.  As I get closer, I see yellow caps turning there and heading back out.  Oops!  That is definitely the red buoy that Caryn meant.  Should have asked more questions yesterday about these details!  I see a break in the swimmers and get across without having to slow down.  Thanks God!

Now it’s quiet!  I have just a few yellow caps ahead of me to chase.  On the way back to the candy corn, I pass two of the swimmers but one alludes me.  Could it be Sena?  My neck is starting to hurt.  Uh-oh, in the hustle and bustle of getting my wetsuit on fast, I didn’t check to make sure the velcro was off of my neck.  It’s definitely rubbing good.  I try to reach back to fix it as I swim.  To fix it, it would require me stopping.  I figure I’m almost done…how bad can it be?

As I head to the next buoy, I’m totally alone and the swimmer ahead continues to stay out there.  Ouch, my neck really hurts.  I reach back again but cannot fix it.

Last turn and almost done.  I look at my Garmin and it looks like I’m ahead of last year!  Yeah!  Let’s finish this up strong!  I understand now that that big red buoy was for sighting purposes.  Boy it sure stands out and helps!

I get to the shore and run up the ramp.  This time I’m keeping my wetsuit on up to transition (T1).  Troy and the girls are running alongside me encouraging me.  As I get to the entrance to T1, he tells me it’s time to take it off.  I do and then run to my bike.  It’s starting to drizzle.  I’m sooo glad I put my gear in a plastic bag to keep it dry! I put on my warm jacket and rain jacket.  Troy comes over and I ask him about the beanie and gloves.  Yes to both but take the warm jacket off.  Really?  I guess I feel pretty warm already.  I take it off but leave the rain jacket on.  Troy tells me that Sena has come and gone 5 min ago.


Off I go!  Down the road and out of the park.  After a few miles I notice my Garmin is having some sort of issue and my average mph is 5!  Maybe I accidentally set it to the bike mode while in transition and it was registering me while I was standing around.   I decide to try to reset it but as go to do that, I notice I had stopped it in transition. Oh, well good! 

Last year I started out very cold and it was hard to concentrate.  On the second half, I had to work hard to bring my average down to 17mph.  This time I want to get there in the beginning. 

At MILE10, my hamstrings are really hurting.  This is very weird for this early in a race.  And I’ve been riding this new bike for months with no pain.  I try to move around on the seat to get more comfortable and try to figure out what is wrong.  I’m also getting cold. It’s a steady drizzle.  Even though my core is dry, my legs are not and my gloves are wet.  I’m thankful for the beanie and aerohelmet which is keeping my head dry and warm.

There are a lot of people getting flats!  What a bummer!  The roads have patches of potholes and if you hit them just right, you just might get a pinched flat…that’s when the tube gets squashed between the tire and the rim and it creates a small hole in the tube.  With the rain, there is a good amount of debris out here.

I pass my favorite spot.  It’s a property whose long fence is covered with hub caps.  Must be from years of lost hub caps along this road.  I soon catch Suzanne and encourage her as I go by.  I also see Sena roaring back already.  She’s flying.

I make the first out and back.  On my way back I see Suzanne again and then Caryn.

At MILE 20, my average is at 17!  That’s great but my hamstrings are still bothering me. I’m getting colder and it’s starting to make me feel more uncomfortable…though my head is still clear.  Still, I really wanted to be warm this year after what I went through last year.  I start to cry and wanting to get angry at Troy for telling me to take off the jacket.  I feel the Lord reminding me of Psalm 19:14…may thoughts/heart be pleasing to Him.  Lord, please help me not to be mad and dwell on these negative thoughts.  Just a few minutes later a fire truck goes whizzing by with sirens on.  Oh dear, I hope that’s not a racer!

Around the next corner, I see a bunch of athletes stopped on the start of a steep climb.  Yep, someone crashed coming down.  That really puts things in perspective!  We wait for about 6 minutes and I’m starting to shiver.  Lord, may my thoughts be pleasing…don’t get upset about being cold or that my average pace is decreasing.

We are able to go through and I see a rider on the side of the road sitting up with a tarp around him, blood all over and looking shocked.  The sitting up part is encouraging and I pray for him.  The road is mostly blocked but there is a small opening between emergency vehicles for us cyclists to funnel through.

The next several miles are quiet because the cars behind us are still at the accident sight.  It’s also a very beautful and the roads are smooth.  This is a new addition this year to the course and I love it!  I make the 2nd out and back.  Just as I head back, here comes the long line of cars!  I’m very grateful I didn’t have to share the road with all of them!  My average is slowly creeping back up but it will take a while to get it back to 17mph…still possible.

At MILE 40, I’m heading back towards the park and to another out and back.  I expect I’ll be seeing Troy and the girls here at this junction.  I’m heading downhill and will have a few seconds to communicate to him.  As I see him I shout “cold, hamstrings”.  I round the corner and look back and him and give him a thumbs up to let him know I’m doing okay despite these struggles.

I complete this next out and back quicker than expected this year.  I’m so glad we don’t have to ride very far down this road this time! 

At MILE 55, I’m looking forward to getting my special needs bag (food/drink I dropped off earlier) at the park entrance as last year and getting a chance to talk to Troy.  I head in and get directed back to transition.  Without thinking I ride in and realize this is wrong.  I turn around and go back out and ask for my needs bag.  The aid station cannot find it in their box.  Troy comes up and he tries to help them.  After a minute of searching, I see that this box is the run special needs.  Nobody here knows where it is.  I tell them I’ll keep riding and hopefully I’ll get some answers literally down the road.  I must have lost another 4 min here. 

I see Caryn coming back.  She seems further back than earlier.  I hope she didn”t get a flat out there!

I ride out and know that Troy is back there trying to figure it out for me.  I have to pull over a 3rd time for a pit stop and loose a few more minutes.

Just before MILE 65, Troy drives by and he says he doesn’t yet know where the special needs bags are.  He drives ahead and a rider ahead of me recognizes him and slows up to say hi.  I go by not knowing the rider but recognizing the voice.

I turn to the go back to the first out and back.  I notice that my front tire feels funny.  Uh-oh, a flat?  I pull over and sure enough it’s a flat!  I’ve never had to change these race wheels before.  I look down the road for Troy.  I know he cannot physically help me but he can verbally give me tips.  Man, this is the 4th time I’ve stopped!  Usually it’s only once or twice in a race. 

That rider goes by and I recognize it’s our friend Sam we met here last year.  I wave and tell him good job. 

Troy pulls up as I have started on fixing the tire.  So glad he’s here but also so frustrated with the difficulty I’m having!  For a moment I loose my cool and start complaining. Troy calls me out and hear Psalm 19 in my mind.  Thanks God for the accountablity!  Finally, after about 12 minutes I’m off.  My average is at 15.3 now.  I try not to get upset.  I’m 1st out of 3 aqua-bikers.  I can still make this into a good training day despite beating my goal!

I ride continue riding out to the out and back/aid station.  Troy is coming back and he tells me there is no special need there.  I’m out of any nutrition and will have to restock with what is there.  I stop for the 5th time and get some HEED and 3 peanut butter/chocolate gels which I like…thanks God for that!  There is another rider there who is missing his special needs bag too. 

I’m warming up finally.  And, I realize my hamstrings have been great for miles.  Thank you Jesus!

I head out to the next out and back/aid station and hope to find something there.  Troy catches up to me and tells me that the needs were back at mile 50.  That means I probably wasn’t even supposed to go back to the park at all.  I had no idea.  I’m really upset myself for not asking Caryn more questions about the race today since I missed the race meeting.  It’s my fault for not knowing the details!  This means I’ll get my special needs at Mile 106.

MILE 85. I grab more HEED at the aid station.  Next out and back done and heading back for last one! 

MILE 100.  One more out and back! 

MILE 106.  I stop for the 6th time and get my special needs.  I gobble food down and drink up.  At least my last 6 miles will be fueled well!

I pull into the park and know this is correct and final!  I finish and praise God!  Troy is there and tells me he is so sorry for the jacket and mishaps.  I tell him I’m just so thankful to be done!