Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series #4

Joelle running her heart out

Joelle running her heart out

Another great weekend at the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series. Sadly, the season is rolling towards the finish line but that’s not stopping anyone.  Racers faced some serious wind this morning, and even still we had some bike split PRs- specifically from our ladies who use TotalCyclist as part of their training tool!

Ec, tearing up the run

Ec, tearing up the run

The ladies results:

Sarah, 4th in AG
Angie, 4th in AG
Bree, using this race as a ironman training day, 11th in AG
Joelle, 1st in AG and huge bike split PR
Ec, 2nd in AG and should she have not had a mechanical, bike split PR

 

 

 

 

 

The guys:

Toby, 4th in AG
Jason, 13th in AG and a overall PR
Danny, using this race as an ironman training day, 2nd in AG
Ken, 2nd in AG

The Old-School Crew

The Old-School Crew

 

And finally,a quick shout out to my long-time dear friend and athlete, Angie on a happy birthday weekend spent racing. For those of you newer to the sport locally this picture of Siobhan, Angie, Ec, and Jason represents a sampling of the core group of triathletes from the CSTS races from 7 years back!  We all spent a lot of time racing with each other and I’m a little sad that my current training plan didn’t allow me to join in.  Maybe another time…

Weekend Update: Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series Race #3

Lots of mugs won this weekend

Lots of mugs won this weekend

Team AMEC had a GREAT weekend at the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series Race #3.  PRs, Podiums, and overall great times had by all.  Here’s how it all went down.

Sarah and Joelle, all smiles

Sarah and Joelle, all smiles

THE LADIES:

Sarah, 2nd in AG
Joelle, 1st in AG
Bree, 5th in AG
Ec, 1st in AG

THE GUYS:

Pearce, 2nd in Division
Toby, 2nd in AG
Ken, 2nd in AG
Jason, 14th and SUPER happy with a PR

 

 

Bree and Toby sporting Team AMEC gear

Bree and Toby sporting Team AMEC gear

 

 

There are 2 more races in the series and I expect everyone is just going to keep doing better! Next weekend we all get to cheer Tracey on at Racine 70.3. Stay tuned!

Weekend Update: NC/SC Time Trial Championships, Midlands Triathlon, Charleston Sprint Series Triathlon #2

It’s that time again!

Don shaves 9 minutes off from last year!

Don shaves 9 minutes off from last year!

First, the NC/SC State Time Trial Championships were held on Saturday here in the lowcountry. Don had a great result- shaving 9 minutes off his time from last year.  He is working really hard on his cycling and it is paying off!  I am very excited to watch him excel later this season at IM Chattanooga.

The Boyd Factory Cycling Team on the podium

The Boyd Factory Cycling Team on the podium

 

I had the privilege of standing on the podium with my teammate Catherine as she crushed and gold medaled the Master’s Women 35+ division at the time trial.  I used the day as a ironman pace/bike fit checkup for the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon and while my time was not what I would be able to perform under normal circumstances, I was pleased with the results of what I was set out to do that day. And I still walked away with the bronze, so I am good with that.

 

 

Meanwhile, a 100 miles away Doug was racing AGAIN!  He walked away with 4th in his AG at the Midlands Triathlon.  He’s going to take it easy for a few weeks now while we gear up for Lake Logan.

 

On Sunday we had a big representation at the Charleston Sprint Triathlon #2.  Everyone was too lazy to get pictures, but here is how we did:

No picture of Melisa, but here's her mug!

No picture of Melisa, but here’s her mug!

The ladies:
Joelle, 2nd in AG
Tracy, 4th in AG
Bree, 8th in AG
Melisa, 3rd in AG

Don walks away with a win in his AG

Don walks away with a win in his AG

The men:
Don, 1st in AG
Pearce, 1st in Division
Toby, 5th in AG
Jerry, 3rd in AG

Weekend Update: Boulder 70.3, Greenwood Triathlon, Escape the Cape Triathlon

Lauren and Kelsey- their first 70.3!

Lauren and Kelsey- their first 70.3!

 

Another great weekend for Team AMEC! First up, Boulder 70.3 served as the backdrop for sisters Kelsey and Lauren to jump into the triathlon scene.  This was Lauren’s first triathlon EVER and Kelsey dipped her toe in the water once at the TryCharleston sprint triathlon in April.

They did AMAZING!  Lauren came in sub-6 hours with a time of 5:53 and placed 16th overall in the 25-29 AG.  Kelsey came in at 6:17 and also placed an incredibly impressive 31st in the 25-29 AG.  I know they’re hooked and can’t wait for them to choose another tri to crush.  Next up for both ladies is the Copper Triangle , an extremely difficult 78 mile bike ride through three ski areas of Colorado, all over 10,00 feet of alititude and 6000 feet of elevation gain.

 

Doug wins his AG

Doug wins his AG

 

 

Doug continues to have a great summer by winning his AG at the Greenwood Triathlon. Not bad considering we are using these races as training days! He keeps crushing this heavy race load, and we’re gearing up for the Lake Logan half-ironman distance race, which is his A race of the year.  Can’t wait to report on his amazing results.

 

The Klicks celebrating Escape the Cape

The Klicks celebrating Escape the Cape

 

And, finally, Angie did great at Escape the Cape at Cape May, NJ.  Jumping off a barge to swim to shore is one of the unique features of the tri.  The swim was under somewhat difficult conditions and she rocked it.  Her husband, Chris, whom I worked with on the swim- also did amazing in his first race swim ever.  The weather was very steamy and the run therefore was miserable for all but Angie persevered and finished strong.

 

Great job to all again!

Dirty Kanza 200 Race Report

Look at this stupidly smiling me.  Before I had any idea what I was in for.

Look at this stupidly smiling me. Before I had any idea what I was in for.

Oh, Dirty Kanza 200 2015, what an adventure you were.  It’s only been a few years of gravel riding for me and I’ve been working my way around the regional scene.  Last year I decided that this was not enough and I wanted to start tackling the BIG ones.  Naturally I had to start with the premier gravel race, so in January I signed into Bikereg.com and waited to registration to open.  It sells out within hours (sometimes minutes) so I needed to get on it. I got in no problem and started my training…

Fast-forward to May. The Midwest weather was awful the entire week leading up to the race: rain.  And lots of it. We had heard stories of the river crossings being chest high. And I assumed that there would be mud. I just had no idea how much mud there would actually be.

I went into the race hoping to beat the sun- a special designation for those who arrive at the finish line before the sun goes down.  Basically you have about 14.5 hours to complete the race in order to receive this award.  Chris and I lined up in the 14 hour corral and got ourselves ready for the day.

Getting ready to start

Getting ready to start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All was well for the first 10 miles- we stayed in a good paceline and the roads were dry and the gravel was packed.  And then, in the distance, I could see riders dismounting.

The long haul

The long haul

We came up on a road that was un-rideable. The mud was thick and sticky.  Many riders began to push their bikes through the mud.  Chris looked at me and said, “No matter how heavy your bike starts to get DO NOT push it through this mud.  Carry it.” The mud was thick enough that you would sink to your ankles.  At times I thought I would lose my shoe it in.  Some places you couldn’t walk through it at all and you had to walk on an off camber ledge of grass inches away from a barbed wire fence.  And then people started yelling that they saw (or stepped on) rattlesnakes.  I could see in the distance that this went on for a long time.  Almost 4 miles, in fact.

Riders were stopping to adjust their bikes because they got heavy. Very heavy.  Other riders stopped to clean out the mud being caked into their drivetrains and derailleurs. Many of these people never made it past this stretch- it was either too much for them or too much for the bike.  Many bike parts did not survive this journey.

Damn this thing is getting heavy

Damn this thing is getting heavy

 

 

After about an hour of this I realized that my goal to beat the sun was slipping away so Chris and I decided that we would just make the best of it and stay together- if one of us dropped back the other would wait. As it turns out, we flip flopped being the one who felt stronger than the other all day long.

Back on the bike

Back on the bike

 

Finally, in the distance, I could see riders remounting their bikes.  To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.  The roads then improved for a while, but we were all very wet and dirty.  It was also very cold and windy. It was hard to stay clipped in to the pedals with all the mud caked in your shoes. And as soon as you got into a rhythm the roads turned to mud again.

 

One of the river crossings

One of the river crossings

The chest high river crossing that we had heard about was removed from the course and we were rerouted to much tamer waters. The girl in me looked at it as a good way to wash the mud off my shoes.  But that didn’t last long and I had to deal with soaking wet feet for the next 14 hours.

We stayed in a pack for a while until a cattle stampede broke up the group.  In fact, Chris and I were the only ones who got through before they all decided to run in the road and block all the riders behind us.

The second checkpoint- I'm pretty happy it's "almost" over

The second checkpoint- I’m pretty happy it’s “almost” over

By the time we got to the second checkpoint at mile 153 I was just hoping for a 16.5-17 hour finish. But that didn’t happen. It was getting colder and started to rain again. By mile 175 both Chris and my Garmins died, which had the course directions programmed into them.  We had Garmin chargers, but we couldn’t access the navigation while charging them. We had cue sheets but stopping to look at them slowed us down. We tried to hook up with riders who still had working navigation but based on how long we were out there, riders who still had battery life were hard to find. There were several times we had to stop to figure out where we were. Lots of riders were going off course. I had seen at least 50 riders changing tires over the course of the day, but I really felt for the ones who were trying to do it in the dark. Then our lights died and we had to switch those out.  At one point I decided to help out and ride behind someone when his light died because he didn’t have a spare. It really became a comedy of errors at that point.

I had pretty much accepted the fact that I was no longer “racing” and merely trying to finish.  However, with about 10 miles to go we hooked up with a group that had another female in it.  She looked to be over 40 so I assumed we were racing each other.  Remarkably, I was feeling really good at this point so I told Chris that when we got to the road portion (the last 2 miles until the finish) I was going to turn it up.  I couldn’t believe how much strength and speed I was able to muster and was able to get away from her (and actually the whole group) with no problem whatsoever.

Finished- yay!

Finished- yay!

So, about 18.5 hours after we started, we finished. I still managed to place 11th in the 40+ Women’s category.  It was a major accomplishment considering less than half of the starters actually finished.  Overall, 48% of the total starters finished and only 39% of the women finished. I’m already thinking about going back and killing it next year…

If you want to see some super badass photos of the day, click here on Adventure Monkey to access his site and report. Or, this report from KansasCity.com featuring Instagram pictures from racers on the course.  Really cool.