Driving the race course, running the run course and knowing no wetsuits would be permitted on the swim left me having 0 clue of what to expect of myself in Vegas. This course was brand spankin new with no past results to measure myself against. My last 70.3 was in April 2011 and I was nervous doing another one let alone one with so many challenges.
The swim would be tame, just the general kicks to the side and arm throwing expected in a wave start swim. Lake Las Vegas was partly their choice of swim venue because with the average temperatures no wetsuits would be permitted. The bike was a beast of a course; 5,500 feet of climbing over 56 miles with a lot of the climbs taking minutes at a time to get up. With the open landscape the climbs could be seen from far away to ensure maximum time for dread. To make sure we did not arrive in T2 feeling fresh the last 15 miles of the course were on a gradual incline that would require big chain ring mashing (in my case :)).
Once off the bike the run awaited, by then nice and heated up. The first mile is down hill, followed by a mile uphill with a pass by the finish line that you can't imagine ever getting to followed by one more mile up hill. The last mile of the loop is thankfully downhill but you again pass by the finish line chute and the announcers wonderful voice. This flows right into the beginning of the loop which is completed 3 times. SOOO that makes ~6 miles uphill. FUN!
Considering all of these barriers to speed and the course directors predictions that the pros would go ~30 minutes slower than their usual 70.3 times I had no idea what to think for myself and how I would stack up to anyone around me. I knew there were 59 women in my 25-29 age group but that was it. I also knew my IT band, calf, hip and random places on my knees had been acting up just with the season coming to an end and being my body telling me it had had enough. All I could do was fuel up on trail mix and look forward to the impending challenge!