Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Race Report Barcelona

Leading up to the race I had looked into the elite wave and finally decided I would ask the race director if I could switch into it. After about 11 emails back and forth my new spot was confirmed and I was pretty excited to be racing with some of the best. I looked all over the website for a race pack for us or some more information but didn't find much so I just went with it. I was concerned because the course had a looped bike course so it crossed my mind it might be draft legal. I didn't see ITU anywhere so I assumed it wasn't.
My cute neighborhood

So Saturday evening they had a race meeting for the elites and I was walking around trying to find the place and ran into some other lost people. They all start greeting each other in Spanish, kissing cheeks and I'm just like walking along side them feeling more and more like a loser the further we go. I was just so self conscious that I was not an actual elite and just felt like an idiot for being there ha but I sat and the presentation started and thankfully they spoke in English. They went over pointers and got to the bike course and said, in passing,  "short ITU handlebars...." and that's when my heart sank and i felt like EVEN MORE of a losaaaa cause I do not have that type of bike. So afterwards I went up to the race director who was so nice and he felt awful about it and was like don't worry I will make sure you getting into the amateur race tomorrow no problem.

On the way home it was sort of nice cause all of the pressure was gone, I was racing 2 hours later in the morning (more sleep maybe) and I just didn't care as much anymore. I stopped and read about 10 menus with nothing for me (so much meat and fish!) until I was standing outside a pizza place and the guy asked me what I wanted. So I whipped out my Spanish and got an awesome pizza with just sauce and veggies on it and ate the whole thing once back in my room. So good. Then I binged on chocolate. And rice cakes and guacamole. Cause I didn't care anymore!

Race morning was interesting. I still had to get to transition at about 7 to rack my bike and get my new race pack for the amateur race but I didn't go off until 9:30. I also couldn't take anything with me out of transition because I had no where safe to put it and no one to give it to. I arrived at transition and on my way in one of the marshals just waved her head no and spouted off in Spanish something about my bike, pointing to the aero bars. I saw the race director nearby (thank GOODNESS) and he and this woman had a confrontation in Spanish for awhile, then another guy was brought in, all while I am just standing there with my illegal bike feeling quite silly. The race director pulled through though and I would be allowed to race but I was already disqualified. I didn't even care at this point! At least I could compete in my own way!
Football field sized transition!


So I set my stuff up, sadly took my jacket off, grabbed a few euros from my bag and left, barefoot with a baggie of oatmeal, speed suit, goggles and swim cap in hand. The sun was not near out yet so I was pretty chilly. The high for the day was 80 but it was a colder morning next to the ocean breeze! Then I had like forever to just hang out and WAIT to start. I was super psyched to see that a small coffee bar was open at the stadium so I got a coffee and some hot water for my oatmeal then just walked around like a triathlete hobo, talking to random people and watched the pros start, the other waves and then, finally, it was my turn!


It was a mass, all women, beach start. So we had to literally run into the water on top of each other. To start us they had a topless man walk in front of us with numbers counting down the seconds. Awesome. The start wasn't too bad though and I just conserved on my way out to the first buoy. It was very chopping swimming into the waves and as I saw all of the people around me disappear behind me I was happy with my approach. There was a small group of about 2-3 women in front of me but I just used their caps to sight off of and the swim parallel to shore was pretty solitary and uneventful till we caught up to the breast strokers and floaters from the previous wave. More hitting, dodging and sighting later I was headed for home and pretty happy with my swim! My time was super slow but I knew I was in the top so I was OK with that.

Swim course later in the day.

I took my time getting onto my bike since I knew it didn't make a difference (I didn't even have a timing chip) and was off! It was a 4 loop course with plenty of 90/180 degree turns so I was a little apprehensive. The course was FULL of people so I did my best to dodge and beat everyone around me. I was very self-conscious of my aero bars so I just tried to hide them with my hands and get by. Then on the third lap this happened:

Doesn't look like much...but this piece of trash stuck to my wheel and didn't come off so every time my wheel went around it made this loud scrapping noise. Like rap-rap-rap-rap-rap over and over and I averaged about 90 RPM so you can imagine how loud and obnoxious this sound got....ha but nothing I could do! There were major pace lines going on at times and I did my best trying to stay up with them without being part of it.

I came into transition behind a girl and decided I needed to go for it so passed her right out and just did my best to stay up on her. This was the best part: there were lots of crowds on the course and they kept yelling venga venga! ella! Which was so fun for some reason. Maybe because the guys were like seriously attractive. I ran pretty much on track and felt pretty good for the whole 10k and ended up with an alright time so I was pleased considering everything I had gone through that morning. I was pulled aside at the finish and told I was the first amateur. Then I told the woman I was already disqualified and she let me leave haha. So much for that!

Overall it was a really great experience. It was strange to be like literally all alone like not even know a single person racing but sort of fun and exciting.

Next up is Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote. Eek!!

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