Now I know everyone is just DYING to know how my first foray into being an "elite athlete" (hahahah) went. However I had an interesting/stressful/ridiculous day leading up to this race that I MUST blog about.
Let's back this up a bit because this story starts out on Tuesday. I took my flat rear Zipp wheel (the fact that it was the rear wheel is important) to the bike shop so that my favorite mechanic could change it for me. I babied the wheel all week. It sat right in my kitchen and I checked it at least daily to make sure it was still inflated. As of Saturday morning when I loaded my bike in my car - it was fine.
As I think I have mentioned, I had a wedding to go to on Saturday which was down by my parents' house. So I packed up my bike, my race gear, and my stuff for the wedding and drove home at 7:30 am. I got home and ate lunch and was just messing around on the internet until the wedding, which was at 2 pm. At noon or so, my mom asks me if I'm going to take my bike out of my car. I was like, "Well, I'm not worried about it just staying in there while I go to the wedding." She told me I should just put it in the garage. So I went out to my car, got my bike, checked the tires, and the back tire is FLAT.
Let me point this out now. My parents live in the middle-of-freaking-nowhere. I had no idea where there was a bike shop that even dealt with road bikes. I called the ONLY PERSON in Bradford County, Pennsylvania that I knew that had a road bike - my high school XC coach, Mike Murphy. By some miracle I had his cell phone number because I did a half marathon with him a few years ago. I dialed and prayed it was still his #. He answered and I think I blurted out "Mr. Murphy??? This is Alexa. I need help!." And after a 10 second pause he just goes "You don't have to call me Mr. Murphy - that was 10 years ago." OK, fine, Mike, but P.S. it was EIGHT years ago - I am not THAT OLD!
He gave me 2 bike shops. One was an hour away. The other one was farther. He recommended the farther away one for a race wheel issue. At this point I thanked him and then continued freaking out. I needed to get the tire changed, but I had to be at a wedding in an hour and a half. Thank GOD for my parents. They came to the rescue. They took my bike to the bike shop FOR ME while I got ready and attended the wedding. No complaints - nothing. I wrote a note for them to show to the tech. I don't know why my tire keeps flatting for no reason at all but I think it's because the rim tape had shifted off to the side. I had the guy put new rim tape on and change the tube. Apparently he had some troubles with it but he fixed it!
The wedding was good. I drank 3 glasses of wine before dinner (OOPS) but then I sobered up. And when I say wine, don't think I am classy, it was Red Cat! I enjoy cheap, sweet wine! I danced to some awesome 80s music (I can't resist stuff like Journey or my favorite - Your Love by The Outfield) that a great band was playing. I left at 9:30 even though the reception was still going strong because I had to go to bed for a 4 am wakeup call.
Fast-forward to today.
I was on the road, in the dark, by 4:45 am. I was BUSHED due to a terrible night's sleep. It was cold and sprinkling. I got to the race site at around 6:45 am. I unloaded my bike and went to put air in my tires. The back tire was fine. The front tire (which was slightly deflated since I had not ridden it since mini-Mussel) would not take air.
I rolled it over to the Syracuse Bicycle shop tent. I told the guy "I hate this friggin' wheel, it will not take air, please help me!" While I picked up my packet and got body marked, the nice bike tech determined that my valve was f-ed up, took the tire off, took the tube out, fixed the valve, put the tube back in and the tire back on, and inflated it for me.
I mean really - both wheels gave me trouble in less than 24 hours. Yuck!
As for the race, I was 2nd OA female.
Now this is cool. This is the best I have ever placed.. BUT the field was not deep. The chick that won was pro-level fast. I know who she is and she always wins things. Nobody else was competitive. I'm prouder of my finish at mini-Mussel. I definitely raced better at mini-Mussel. Today I felt off. I am still recovering.
Going out in the elite wave was nice. We went first and there were not very many of us. I seeded myself behind some of my male teammates. The swim was choppy and I dealt with it the best I could. At one point Matt C. hit me in the head during the swim! Totally not his fault - he had some troubles with the swim today. I came out of the water right after him which is not normal. The bike course is really hilly at this race and there was some killer wind so I didn't bike a spectacular split or anything. There were some monster hills that someone had written all of these annoying comments on with chalk. Things like "you PAID to do this" and "what would Lance do?" Well, yes I realize I paid to do this, and Lance would probably draft off a teammate, so shut up stupid chalk commentator!!!! I had some skidding issues on the wet pavement at the dismount line but I did not wipe out thankfully. The run was rough. I had trouble keeping a decent pace up. I was running my ass off but I was not really moving too quickly. My legs are definitely not up to form yet. I don't know splits because they are not posted yet.
Kudos to Matt for pushing through a bad swim to a 10th OA finish and to Mike for a 6th OA finish! (Both of them got chicked by the girl who beat me so I don't feel as bad). :) I also met a teammate Rob who runs in those Vibram Five Fingers! (That was fascinating to my dad! Yes Dad people really run barefoot!).
All in all I am perfectly fine with how I did. I was not expecting this to be a super awesome race effort because of its proximity to the Ironman. I'm glad I got out and raced, got my legs moving, and I'm glad I got 2nd. I won a pint glass, a 12 pack of Bud Light Lime, and a $30 gift cert. to a bike shop in Ithaca.
However, I am onto my next adventure, Syracuse 70.3!