Living in Boulder I have seen my fair share of crazy lightning storms. We get a lot of them in the late afternoon all summer long, and into fall. However, nothing I have seen in my life stands up to the gnarly storm that hit the Twin Cities Saturday night/morning. I woke up at 4am to my alarm, but before my feet hit the ground I heard the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard and upon checking the window, cats and dogs doesn’t really do this rain justice.
I tried to go about my normal routine but every time I looked out the window it was tons of water and lots of lightning. Not exactly the ideal combo for a race morning. Luckily they kept telling us that is should be blowing over within the hour and shouldn’t have any lasting effects. So after breakfast I loaded the car in the downpour and headed over to Lake Nakomis. As I found a parking spot the rain wasn’t letting up and the lightning was still ripping. I checked the weather, and the social media outlets for any advice and the best people had was “it should stop by 6.” Ok I thought, kick it here in the car playing some Candy Crush, and wait it out. Good plan, but about the six the lightning had somewhat subsided but the rain was still dumping.
Oh well, its the third race of the year in a downpour I was thinking as I got soaked putting the wheel on the bike and riding towards the lake. When I got to transition I found a few of the other pro’s huddled under tents, and a few of the race personnel trying to sort out the plan of attack. At first they were just saying it would be a 30 or so minute delay, but after they had a chance to drive the bike course and realized parts of it were now lakes, they had to push back a little farther to figure out a plan.
Now this is where I really have to give some props to the new race directors at this year’s race. I think all of us were a little wary of the fact that a new team was having to deal with this crazy situation, but they more than proved us wrong with the way they made timely, and correct decisions and kept the race going. As a full triathlon I might add! They got all the pro’s in a tent and basically laid out our options and got our feedback on what we thought would be the best race. It was pretty unanimous that we all wanted to do a sprint distance race, which in this case was an 800m swim, 15 mi bike, and 3mi run. They set the start time for 9am and left us to try and figure out some food and a warm up.
This is the only part of my morning that was a little sketchy. I was good rolling with the weather punches, but I have my nutrition for race morning really dialed in, and frankly its not made to last an extra couple hours. The 9am start was after we should have been finished with the race, so I was trying to sort out what I could do to keep my calories up, and stay hydrated. I was able to find plenty of water and a Gatorade and snagged a bagel and a muffin from the VIP tent. It wasn’t the perfect snack, but in a pinch I will take too much food over not enough any time.
I got in a little jog, set up transition, and headed down to the water for a splash. I knew the swim would be really fast since it was so short, and having the small run in between the two laps was going to cause for some heart rate spikes. I swam for 10 or so minutes and decided it was the best I was gonna get that morning and headed for the line. As the gun went off I knew it hadn’t been a perfect race morning for me, but all of us were in the same boat, so it was time for a little throw down!
I had a great start and got out cleanly. I jumped on a pair of feet and followed them for the first lap. As we did the little run in between laps I saw I was in a good spot in 4th, and right with the leaders. No reason to put more effort than I needed into the swim so I stayed relaxed and hung onto the feet the 2nd lap as well. After we exited I put in a good run and was able to get to the bikes in the basically the lead, and after a quick T1 we were off, Hunter and I in the front. I hammered out a good half mile or so before I took the time to get my feet in my shoes and from there is was time to crush pedals.
My legs didnt feel great, but every time we hit a spot where I could glance back I realized I was putting time into the chasers and just kept pedaling away. I was fighting to go as hard as I could knowing it was so short, but at the same time the roads in MN are a bit rough so there is a lot of just holding on, and dodging pot holes and bumps as well. I got back to T2 a lil ahead of Ben, who rode really well, but I knew we had put some good time into Hunter. I took off like I had stolen something and never looked back. It is amazing how much more that little bump in effort hurts, but as we made our way around the lake and I realized that no one was right behind me I tried to relax and enjoy the finish.
This race in the past has been a tough one for me, with a crash a couple years ago, and getting caught part way through the run the last 3 years after leading off the bike. So it was really nice to finally hit the tape in the lead and enjoy the carpet run for once.
As I said earlier hats off to Lifetime and the race directors for salvaging a really tough day. Having it be a sprint actually worked out great for me as I head to Hamburg, Germany on Wednesday for the Mixed Team Relay World Champs, which will be even shorter and faster. Bummer I had to miss the Boulder Peak, and a chance to defend my title, but the list of past winners at Lifetime is certainly one I am very proud to now have my name on.
Next stop Hamburg. Now I just have to remember how to ride a road bike!