Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Adventures at Wickiup

Our TNT team mentors had the brilliant idea of camping out at the Pacific Crest racecourse, and letting our team members swim, bike, and run on the course to get a feel for how their race day would go. Despite dire weather forecasts, it ended up being pretty nice, if a little chilly (especially in the mornings). The big shocker of course was the lake temperature, a very brisk 52 degrees. Now a lot of seasoned triathletes won't even dip a toe in anything under 60, but our TNT team is a bunch of hardy souls, so on Saturday once the air temperature warmed up, we donned our wetsuits and jumped in for a swim. Yes, that's snow on the hills behind us!

Despite some understandable skepticism and a few moments of also-understandable panic, we all got going. This is really the hardest thing for new triathletes, and as I've shared with my team I even feel a bit panicky when I first start open-water swimming each season. Between the wetsuit constricting your chest, the cold water, and whatever is lurking beneath you, it can be a bit nerve-wracking to say the least. I am so proud and happy that our teammates made that hurdle and not only swam on Saturday but on Sunday as well!

And look at that great form....and in a sleeveless wetsuit to boot!

Sometimes it takes a bit of encouragement to get going. It's nice to swim with a group who can give support and camaraderie along the way.

We were very grateful to have a TNT Teammate from last year and avid kayaker to accompany us on our swims!

Once we were done with the swim, our bikes were waiting for us. Team mentor Mike created this cool race-style bike rack. This definitely comes in handy for practicing transitions! Everyone took the time to dry off and warm up (not to mention eat up) before donning some cool weather biking clothes for the ride to Sunriver.The bike course for this race is just plain beautiful. I wish I'd had my camera on the course, it winds through pine forests with occasional views of lakes and snow-capped mountains. A few gently-rolling hills provide some distraction and a chance to stretch your legs but nothing to really discourage you. And the last few miles is all downhill into T2 on some nice smooth pavement!
We had a little excitement on the bike when one of our riders took a spill. I had been playing the sheepdog by biking back and forth between the tail and front of the line of cyclists, and after stopping to make sure everyone made the final big turn, we realized that our last cyclist hadn't come through the checkpoint. I turned back to find her, and as it turned out she had crashed and headed back to camp, giving me quite a scare as the miles spun under my wheels and I still didn't see her! Fortunately all was well and I caught a ride back up to the rest of the team and cruised the rest of the course with them. They all did great, and I think they are definitely more confident that they can all tackle this bike course (and enjoy the views along the way!)

That night, it was an awesome pasta dinner created by the team, and a campfire complete with s'mores, brownies, fresh strawberries, and other well-deserved yummies!

The next morning, the team geared up to go into town and run the course.... From their reports, it sounds like a nice run along the paths that wind through Sunriver. They all felt good about their run (especially after another toe-numbing swim that morning!)

Since my hubby couldn't come along with me, I stayed back in camp with the kids. Not wanting to miss out on a run, I did 10 loops through the campground with my kids on their bikes, about 6.5 miles. So I was with the team in spirit at least (and my kids slept good that night!)

All in all, it was a great experience for the whole team. We all enjoyed the beautiful course, the good company, and the satisfaction of knowing that we had tackled the distances and would be able to carry that confidence forward to race day. GO TEAM!

1 comment:

TriGirl 40 (okay - 41) said...

What an amazing training experience for your TNT folks! I want to come next time!