While my year did not start out on the right foot I was looking forward to racing in Santa Rosa for a few reasons. Firstly it has to be one of the more beautiful race course with my preferred race whether, sunny but cool, reminiscent of race morning at one of my favorite Minnesota races, Square Lake. Secondly my fitness was starting to come around a little bit, meaning I finally started doing a little speed work on the run and bike. Lastly, my husband Patrick was also racing with me, doing the 70.3 distance for the first time. I can’t deny I was looking forward to Patrick having a different perspective of these races that I do.
- Race morning we were up bright and early as the race was starting for the pros at 6:10 am and we had a 30 minute shuttle ride from town. Race morning was chilly, I was thankful for my hot coffee and layers upon layers of clothes. I slipped out of my clothes and right into my wetsuit to say warm. I kissed Patrick good luck and ran into the water about a minute before the ladies were taking off.
- The swim start was aggressive which always takes me by surprise but it happens every time. The ladies tend to take out the race like an ITU race sprinting the first 200 meters but typically things spread quickly after that. I tried to stay on some feet as best I could but settled into my own pace and exited in third just behind 2nd.
- The exit was carpeted for a small portion for then about a 400 meter run up the boat launch on rocky pavement. It was one of the more painful transition runs I’ve done, definitely will bring throw away shoes for next time!
- Before the swim I debating putting a jacket on for the bike as the air was in the low 50’s and the water temp was mid 60’s but during the swim I warmed up and I knew I’d be OK. I hoped on my bike and took off for a beautiful bike ride.
- In the first mile of the bike a few ladies flew by me but I knew not to give chase, today was about executing my race as best I could and I couldn’t start burning matches from the beginning.
- While I was trying to race I have to admit I also wanted to enjoy the scenery a bit. I made sure to pick my head up and look around every once in a while to take in the scenic vineyards, rivers and towns.
- Somewhere in the middle of my ride I hit a pretty big bump and a gel packet popped out. I had to turn around and go back to find my gel before moving on. It was of course frustrating but my own mistake, I need to make sure to zip up my bento box when I’m not grabbing for nutrition!
- As more and more age group men started to infiltrate the field I tried to use them as motivation to keep pushing into town. I do enjoy a carrot to chase!
- T2 was uneventful and I felt surprisingly good heading out on the run. The run was ideal for me, flat, partially paved, partially trail but 80% shaded so easy to keep cool. I tried to stay with another pro gal as long as I could but eventually she faded in the distance.
- The course was two loops, the first being about 8.5 miles and the second the 4.6. After the first loop was done, I was still feeling pretty good so I tried to maintain a strong pace for the last third. When I hit the pavement for the last mile through town I even had a little kick to push it up a notch to the finish.
While my race is still far from where I wanted it to be I was thrilled to get through a race feeling decent. My swim was solid, my bike was OK for the base training I’ve done and my run is starting to get back to where it was so I’m happy with the result. I really enjoyed the race course and definitely would recommend it to others that like cooler, scenic racing.
Post race I tried to track Patrick at the run turnaround but did not see him so finally moved over to the finish line. Luckily I did because within a few minutes of getting there I saw Patrick running down the finishers shoot. I couldn’t have been more happy for him to finish his first 70.3.
After the race we enjoyed exploring the area, Redwood Forrest, Bodega Bay, Healdsburg, Windsor, Santa Rosa and a stop in San Francisco. Definitely worth the visit (and now Sun Country is doing direct flights to Santa Rosa so you can skip the non sense of SFO if you choose). Hope to see you all out there racing soon. Thanks to wonderful sponsors, Tri Team LC, Gear West Bike and Tri, Premier Sports and Spine, Blueseventy, Ventum, Hoka One One, Pacific Health Labs, Kask Cycling, and Santini, I couldn’t do it without their support!