Over The Mountain (OTM) was not a race that was originally on my schedule. However, since Knoxville was such a bust, my coach & I decided I should do another "tune-up" race before Rev3 Williamsburg. After perusing the local race listings, OTM seemed to fit the bill. I've always liked the course and it holds a special place in my heart because it was my first triathlon 5 years ago! OMG I've been doing this for 5 years now; hard to believe!
4:30 am on Saturday morning came around real quick and we made it to the race site by 5:55 to do packet pickup and set up transitions (it's a point to point race, so there's a bit more logistics involved than normal). As the sun rose, the sky looked clear and it held promise that the day would turn out to be really nice - unlike the scattered thundershowers that the forecast called for. We even chatted to a USAT ref who said something along the lines of, "Yeah, so we've had real bad weather here the past few days, but it looks like today is going to be perfect weather for the race." I had no reason to doubt his statement, especially because I was issued my lucky number 14! Apparently however, things were not meant to be. Literally as soon as I started putting on my wetsuit it started raining. Oh no, here we go again...
The Swim - 1500m - 24:42 (1:30/100 yds)
Water temp was 72 degrees which felt downright warm compared to what I've been swimming in thus far this season. I started out at the back of the open field, my plan being to draft off of faster swimmers. This ended up working out perfectly and I drafted off of the same guy for the entire race. I felt a little bad about this b/c I hit his feet enough times to be annoying. A few times he kicked really hard, which I think was a signal to me to get off his feet. But I didn't. Actually, I did try to pass him once or twice, but when I realized I wasn't going any faster than he was, I just settled back into the draft zone. I felt comfortable on the swim and I think I owe this to all the open water training I've been doing w/ Jordan at Belew's Lake! As I was swimming into the finish, I looked at the surface of the water and I could tell it was still raining.
T1 - 1:52
OTM has a great T1 - its a fairly long run straight up a ginormous hill! Usually this hill is lined with people cheering you on, but the fan crowd was a little sparse due to the poor weather conditions. As I ran up the hill I started mentally preparing myself for the bike. Because this race is a point-to-point you have to stuff all your things into a bag in T1. I made the blunder of accidentally putting all my gear into someone else's bag. Sorry #18, I hope I didn't confuse you!
The Bike - 45k - 1:23:26 (20.1 mph)
Starting out on the bike I had a few flashbacks of Knoxville, but forced them out of my brain. I was determined to beat the bad weather! I knew that at this point I was in second place and I could not afford to be a baby on the bike or I would lose too much time to the woman ahead of me who is a strong cyclist. I channeled my motor pacing practice and got into the aero and powered away. I felt a little nervous at first, but this went away as the course went on and I did a really good job of attacking the course given the weather conditions. The only problem was that my legs were dead! I was cursing my coach for that lactate threshold bike ride on Wed & that track workout on Thursday! Yes, Sharon, you were the object of my un-affection! Normally on this course I make up some good time on people on the climbs, but my legs were burning on every single one of them. I knew I was probably not gaining on the uphills, so I figured I had to crush the downhills. I've never looked forward to descending in the rain as much as I did on this course. Despite my hurting quads, I really enjoyed the bike - I think it's one of the funnest & prettiest courses in the NCTS!
T2 - 0:43
T2 was pretty quick - ditch the bike & put on the running shoes, Rev3 visor, & Garmin. Heading out on to the run Kurt told me I was about 1:30-1:45 back on the leader. I felt pretty confident that I could close that gap.
The Run - 10k - 39:21 (6:20/mi)
Just like on the bike, my legs felt so heavy on the run. The first two miles were especially un-pleasureable. I'd describe the run course at OTM as undulating - there really aren't any flat areas, it's either you're going up or you are going down. It winds through a bunch of quaint neighborhoods and had a ton of turns. At each turn I kept hoping I would see the woman ahead of me, but I kept turning and turning and she was nowhere to be found! Finally about 2.5 miles into the run I turned the corner and there she was! I felt a little bit of relief. However, she was running really strong and it took me until about 3.5 miles to catch up to her. At this point I drafted off her for about a quarter to a half a mile before picking up my pace again and bringing home the win. To my amazing surprise I got a new 10K PR out there! Pretty happy about that :)
Total Time - 2:30:02 (1st overall female)
It felt good to cross the finish line in 1st! It felt even better to know that I had conquered the rain and beat the bad weather conditions. It was the moment when I knew I could truly put Knoxville behind me. I am so glad that I decided to sign up for this race and it was just icing on the cake that it happened to be my 5th anniversary of my first triathlon, which as I said before was at the exact same race. Just for kicks I looked back at my time from 5 years ago:
Swim - 28:58
T1 - 3:12
Bike - 1:34:55
T2 - 2:19
Run - 48:23
Total Time - 2:57:55
I suppose a lot has changed since then ;-)