Saturday, July 13, 2019

June Lake Olympic Tri-Robin-2019

7/13/19, June Lake, CA
1.5km S – 40km B – 10km R

2:55:49 (28:13 – 1:54 – 1:19:37 – 2:11 – 1:03:53)


1st, F 45-49 (Out of 9); 1st Overall (out of 69)


OLY – FCA: Anna Soares; Sharley Simpson

KIDS RACE – FCA: Ariel Soares

LONG COURSE – FCA: Troy Soares

This is our first time at June Lake Triathlon in June Lake, CA.  The long drive was tough and longer than expected due to a wrong turn so wondering if it’s all worth it.  But as we arrive I see it was worth it.  The first person we see when we exit our car is Whit Raymond.  Whit is a long time race announcer and well known in the Ironman circuit.  It’s great to catch up and introduce him to the kids. We attend the race meeting which is well run and very informative.  Clearly the run is going to be tough…hilly, sandy and at altitude!  Next, we set up camp at Oh Ridge campground right next to the lake.  It’s beautiful and windy!  It’s hard to set up the tent but with all four of us working together it’s a success.  The forecast shows little wind tomorrow.  We pray for good sleep.  It's usually noisy at campgrounds and hard sleeping on the ground.  I’m thanking God for giving me peace this week for Anna’s race.  I was questioning whether it was going to be a good experience as her first Olympic distance tri because of concerns of altitude, car traffic and health.  After reading past race stories from other triathletes, those concerns were eased.  And Troy felt confident as well about her ability to do it.  Ultimately the Lord made it clear that we had His blessing.

Amazingly the camp is very quiet and we all sleep great!  We thank the Lord for answering that little prayer.  Troy and I get up first and I help him get ready.  Once he leaves, it’s time to get the girls up and going.  I make sure to find the time to get in the Word even if it’s short.  The three of us head down to find Troy and pray.  We see Troy’s small wave of half distance athletes take off.  The water is absolutely still and beautiful.  I’m looking forward to getting in with Anna in an hour. 


The time flies by and it’s already time to get in the water!  Anna and I walk out to the start in the water.  Anna asks if we should fill up our wetsuits with water to loosen them up.  I don’t feel like it but know it’s a good idea so we do.  Ohhh, that wakes me up.  The men take off first and we are 5 minutes behind. 

I don’t like to train in the pool but I love to swim open water.  I felt calm until now and am starting to think more about myself and less about Anna.  Lord, help me not to get self centered.  We pray together.

Ready, set, go!  As I swim off, I look over at Anna.  She looks good.  I know she’ll do great!

The water is chilly but I quickly adapt.  The water is crystal clear.  I can even see some fish swimming.  I remember that I’m at altitude and take an extra breath every third stroke like I did at Tahoe in 2013.  I seem to be in the thick of it.  Pretty soon I notice a girl in a sleeveless wetsuit just ahead of me to the right.  I pick up and move right.  I get in her draft and it seems to be a perfect fit!  I follow her all the way to the first turn buoy.  The water is deep here and the mountain above is casting a huge shadow.  I feel unsettled by the darkness but know that the Lord is with me.  I continue to follow my sleeveless friend to the next buoy. There is a group of guys turning also so I loose her for a moment.  I’m feeling strong and wondering if I can pass.  I try and almost succeed but she seems to shift into another gear.  I tuck in behind her again. 

The finish line is in sight.  I am amazed how perfect this draft has been.  Not once have I even touched her toes or bumped into her.  My friend picks it up and I follow. I swim right until my hand touches sand.  Then I’m up and running.  I run over a sandbar into a small pool of water.  I take off my wetsuit there.  As I’m struggling to get my last leg out I can hear Whit explaining to the crowd that some triathletes take off their wetsuits at the water’s edge.  I wish I could demonstrate better.  I finally pry it off and slip on my flip flops.  It’s a long sandy and rocky run to transistion.  I’m really glad I had Anna and I do this!

I see Ariel as I enter transition.  She’s been volunteering all morning there.  It’s great to see her smile and hear her encouraging voice.  I make a quick transition and then I’m off. 

(Swim: 1st in AG, 7th OA Females)


I run out of transition with my bike shoes on.  I haven’t practiced with the shoes on my bike so not going to try.  Out of the campground, up the road, turn and along the lake.  I can see swimmers down below.  I ride through town and see folks having breakfast and coffee.  Suddenly I see a truck in the road backing up.  He’s making room for a car pulling out.  I stop and he stops.  The car we are waiting for seems to be struggling to figure out what they are doing.  Several racers just go around and continue on including a girl in navy.  I decide to follow since no cars are coming in the other direction and this seems to be taking too long. 

The scenery is just beautiful.  Just love these little lakes along the way.  I am feeling strong and get into a good groove.  Several male cyclists pass me.  I go back and forth a bit with a Santa Barbara Tri guy.  I don’t see the girl that passed me.  I am not concerned and am just happy to be able to race today.  I think about Anna and pray she is safe and doing well.  I wonder if Troy will catch her on his 2nd loop of the Half.

I’m getting close to Hwy 395 and the only aid station.  I’m out of water and am working on my Perpetuem.  Two riders fly by.  One might be a female.  As I watch them head down the long straightaway, I can see they are drafting off one another.  Frustrating but nothing I can do.  I pull up on the aid station and ask for water.  I’m going too fast and I knock the water out of the volunteer’s hand and it hits the ground.  I shout “so sorry!”.  Bummer!  I should have done that better.  Hope I have enough fluids to make it to the end!

As I bike along the highway, the riders that were drafting are no longer together.  I catch up to one and pass him.  Soon I catch the other rider who I thought was a female and it’s actually a guy.  I sense he’s trying to stay with me and I pick up the pace.  As the hill gets steeper, he drops off.

This is probably my least favorite part of the day.  The bike lane of the highway has bumps every few feet and the road continues to go up.  My Perpetuem is getting low but I think it will last.  I am passing several riders that passed me.  I can see I’m gaining on some others.  Finally, I see riders turn off the road up ahead.  Looking at my Garmin I know once I turn, there isn’t much to go!

I make the turn and enjoy a downhill.  Yay!  The road is much smoother here and the scenery is much prettier.  I notice that I am catching up to a female rider in orange.  As I make the turn to head back to transition, a volunteer says that the girl is the first female.  I wonder about the other girl in navy.  So maybe I’m the 3rd female?  Exciting!  Lord, this is a gift!  I haven’t been training a lot especially on the bike due to supporting Troy, the girls and my father-in-law at home.  My Perpetuem is gone.  It worked out great.  Better get water in transition!

I continue to catch up to the girl in orange.  As we turn into the campground, I see her pulling her feet out of her shoes.  I do the same.  I am pleasantly surprised how well I get my feet out on top of my shoes. As I hit the dismount line, I am able to jump off easily…but my back is really stiff.  I hobble to my spot.  I quickly grab all my gear and hit the porta potty.  I utilize the “break” to put all my gear on.  I give Ariel a high five as I run out of transition.  I grab water and off I go! 

(Bike: 1st in AG, 3rd OA Females)


As I head out on the run, I can see the girl in orange ahead. I didn't lose too much with my pit stop.

Pretty soon we hit the first big climb that everyone seems to complain about. It's steep and sandy. The top sprint athletes are flying down the hill and I'm passing a variety of racers going up. I come upon an 83 year old woman. She is power walking up and looking strong. I tell her good job. I think about my 80 year old mom and how she's still racing 5Ks and doing great. I also think of my father in law who is turning 86. I couldn't picture him out here!

I make it to the top. Yay! I turn on Northshore Dr. Runners are going both ways and Sprint and long course cyclists are finishing up their ride. I see the girl in orange. We hit the first aid station together. I make sure to get water. She takes off and I follow. I'm feeling strong and make a pass. I tell her good job.

Mile 1 is 10:14. Downhill we go! I see runners crossing the street and heading on a trail. Up we go again!

I start on the trail and run up to the next aid station. Runners are starting to walk here and I pass them. I am able to continue running slowly and plod my way through the sand which makes it much more challenging. I wonder where the top is.

Mile 2 is 11:26. This climb is still going. I look up and it just keeps going. Determined to continue my slow run, I trod on. I am able to pass a few athletes. Close to the top it gets too hard to run so I hike it for a few minutes. This makes that first hill seem like nothing!

Finally the top. It takes a few moments to get my legs used to running faster again. It's just gorgeous up here. I am feeling great and am thanking God! I thank Him for his beautiful creation.

I pray for Anna and Troy. I'm concerned that Troy's foot is really going to bother him. Lord, if it's your will, let him not have pain and enjoy your creation.

Mile 3 is 10:56. After some downhill, it flattens out. I see the next aid station tucked in some shade. Good timing! I get some electrolytes.

I see a guy in my race ahead. I catch up to him but before I can pass, the trail becomes a super steep downhill. I let him lead the way. This kind of terrain is not my favorite and scary. I try to skip down the hill and jump over the rocks. The trail eventually gets less steep and widens. I hear some footsteps behind me. I move over and a long course guy flies by. He must be in first place.

Mile 4 is 10:37. I continue to watch the long course guy continue to fly down the hill. I can see another aid station.  This part of the trail is so much easier to navigate then the technical top. I make it to the aid station.  I appreciate the water! 

The trail turns and it follows along Northstar Dr.  I’m actually gaining on the long course guy a bit.  I feel like I need to go the bathroom…my inside is not feeling good at all.  I’m so close now.  I can make it.  Please Lord help me just push through.

I see that we are going to turn off onto the road again.  And I see that girl in Navy from early on in the ride running up the road!  Can I catch her?  Lord, it’s up to you.  My insides are still feeling bad. 

I make it to the road and I can see that girl walking up the hill.  Lord, I think I can catch her.  I hear Troy calling my name.  I look up and see him climbing the monster hill.   I cannot make out what he’s saying exactly but I know he’s saying encouraging words and something about Anna doing well.

I catch the girl 2/3 of the way up the hill. There is an aid station ahead.  I pass her, tell her good job and grab water.  I don’t look back as I continue up the hill.  I know I’ve got to get down that sandy downhill that i ran up.

Mile 5 is 8:50.  Here we go!  I push down the hill, even though I feel out of control and my insides hurt.  I feel God telling me to not look back and just go for it.  I fly down the hill. It flattens out and I can see the finish.  I’m catching up to the long course guy even more.  It’s great to have someone to focus on ahead of me. 

Mile 6 is 8:31.  Go!  I push as hard as I can and try to smile.  I turn into the finish shoot and look up to God.  As I cross the finish line in the sand I hear Whit saying I’m the first woman.  I am floored.  Lord, that is a gift.  This is all your doing.  Nothing can explain this result other than Jesus.  Thank you Lord!