Monday, June 29, 2009

Pacific Crest Half Ironman

OK, I haven't trained for a while and I really shouldn't have expected much but... I still really wanted to beat my time from last year when I had that horrible stomach issue and I didn't. I did get through it though. So here's my advice on how to survive a Half Ironman done off the couch.

Find a good draft on the swim and use it as a warm-up
Ride at a low heart rate and focus on your pedal stroke
Expect the run to hurt. It's gonna suck. There's a reason why people train for these things you know!

The final result was 6:03 I think. 9th in my AG. 3rd out of the water for my AG, 14th or so on the bike and 8th on the run. So I guess I need to ride more. Bummer ;-)

Sure wish I could walk today, good thing I can still ride my bike.

Success at RAW.

I had no idea. The summary is that we came, we saw and we kicked... well, you know how that goes.

RAW stands for Race Across the West. It's the first 1044 miles of Race Across America. It's a killer ride with lots of hills. Thank goodness I was crewing and not riding.

Tom entered as a 2 man relay team with George Thomas. They rode 58 hours and 56 min to get them from Oceanside CA to Taos NM. I sat in the van with 2 other people for all those hours, taking care of Tom with a little drivng and navigation thrown in when Lisa and Ken needed to be spelled off. The average shift on the bike was 1 hour at a time but got as long as 3 hours if the other teammates needed a sleep and a lot less if it was hot. Some of our rotations were as short as 30 min leaving us barely enough time to get Tom off the bike, into the car, fed, massaged, driven to the next hand off, dressed again and ready for the exchange. It was a really tough job but we did great. Tom and George made it to Taos before anyone else. Granted they had the advantage of being a team but even if you only compared them to other teams they kicked azz.

For those of you that have thought about crewing for an event like this...

Crewing for a team is MUCH harder than crewing for a solo rider. It seems counter intuitive, but it is. I've done both now, trust me.
If you volunteer to crew, embrace the silliness that comes with sleep deprivation, it makes it more fun.
Finally, stock your vehicle really well with snacks, decent food can be really hard to come by, especially when you're crewing for a team and your down time is minimal.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What a trip!!

Wow. To say that I was busy while I was in Europe would be a serious understatement.

Here's the Reader's digest version of the trip....
We arrived in Lisbon having survived the drive to Vancouver WA, train to Seattle, plane to Heathrow and connection to Lisbon. We were jet lagged, hungry and missing Tom's bike. Fortunately the bike turned up the next day. The Race Relations person, Louize, picked us up and took us to the Hotel Barcelona. The next day or two was spent eating, resting and more travel, this time by bus to Braganca. More prep time and the race was on.

The first 3 days were insanely hot and to a serious toll on all the racers. Tom had a very difficult first day but rallied back the second and was doing well by the third. Then the weather cooled and he just got stronger. While Tom was racing my days went something like this: get up, big buffet breakfast, go to our first checkpoint with my check point partner Patricia. We then sat for hours watching the racers go by noting times and numbers. Then off to the stage finish where I'd set up for massage. Massage would go on until about 7:30 or 8 until we had another amazing buffet style meal, then back for more massage. Often I wouldn't get back to my room before 11 PM. Then Tom would finally get his turn and off to sleep to do it all over the next day.

As the race went on, problems started to crop up. At least one third of the riders, if not half of them, had developed saddle sores from the heat, sweat and grit. I ordered dressings for the sores and spend what spare time I had distributing them to the riders, explaining in detail how to use them and even applying dressings for the ones that couldn't reach them on there own. Of course all the jokes started to come out... Cassie is covering everyone's ass... the rider's are really a pain in the ass... Cassie the queen of the butts... you get the idea.

Yes I was busy and yes I was exhausted at the end. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. I got to be part of the team, I had updated info about how Tom was doing all day long and I got to meet a bunch of really great people. I can't think of a better way to see the countryside and I would do it again... maybe even race it one day.

Tom placed 9th overall, much better than expected and he would've done better yet if he hadn't struggled so much that first day. He even had several days when he placed in the top 5 and one day when he came in 3rd after the 2 very fast racers competing for the overall win. It was amazing to watch.

We had 4 days to recover in Portugal, then 2 days checking out London with Paul, another racer from Portugal. He was a great tour guide and we had a blast.

Now we're on the last leg of the journey. We're here in Oceanside getting ready for RAW. There are a lot of details to take care of before we start the race on Wednesday. Speaking of which... it's time to go.

To be continued.