Earlier this year, Jennifer, Brandy and Sharon made a decision to do Barb’s race on August 4, 2007 – the only Women’s only 1/2 Ironman. Barb’s race is held at the same time as the Vineman Ironman – so there’s no “time limit” – i.e. typical 1/2 Ironman triathlons have an 8 hour time limit to complete. This one didn’t.
After hearing the training schedule, I realized that I didn’t have enough time to train for a full 1/2 Ironman this year, but that if anyone needed me to do the bike leg of a relay, I could do that. I also offered our hearty friends to drive their bikes down to the wine country as an excuse for a road trip. I planned on taking my bike and going for a ride around there anyway.
The Sunday before the race, Joan (who is training for a marathon) decided that since she could already swim a mile AND she had to do a 12 mile run that weekend anyway, that she’d do those two legs of the relay if I was willing to do the bike. How can I say no to a supported 58 mile bike ride?!?!? We signed up on Monday, having not trained a lick specifically for this particular race.
Photos are here
Joan and I left around 6:30 pm on Thursday. We stopped for a quick bite to eat at Whole Foods and was on our way. We also saw 2 deer (including one with a huge rack) eating on the side of the road. We arrived for our first stop at Joan’s mom’s house in Hillsboro for the night. We were back on the road at 6am and arrived some 12 hours later at Windsor, CA, having taken the twisty windy scenic route through Clearlake CA (which also managed to avoid a Friday night traffic accident near Novato). The drive was beautiful and amusing, as always.
We missed the pre-race meeting, but had no trouble meeting up with Jennifer, Brandy and Sharon and getting our registration packets. Then we checked into our hotel in Santa Rosa, unloaded the bikes again, then went to dinner (mmm pasta). We made an early night of it so we could wake up at 5:15 am…
Even though we KNEW what time we’d be waking up, 5:15 comes REALLY early. We dragged ourselves out of bed, dressed, loaded up the bikes and followed Sharon and Brandy’s car first to the Starbuck’s then to T1 (first transition site) in Guernville, CA.
Here’s a general image of the whole race.
I didn’t realized that the full Vineman started as early as 6:30 am. By the time we got there, there were many people in the water. While I was setting up our transition area the first full marathoner came out of the water and had transitioned and was running down the carpet to the bike start. His time for 2.4 miles of swimming? 45 minutes. Unreal.
Barb’s race swimmers were started at 8:15 (for the < 40 women, including Jennifer and Brandy) and 8:20 for the second wave (> 50 and “Athena”), including Sharon. Joan started in the last (Relay only) wave at 8:30.
I waited for a while watching the swimmers come out of the water, then I went to my transition area. I saw Jennifer come out of the water first, then Brandy. Joan came out next and we transitioned – they have our time listed as 0:45:34 for the transition, but I think that was her swim time. I was off on my bike. Joan took some pictures of Sharon coming out of the water and transitioning to her bike, then took the key (I fortunately remembered to give her) and headed back to the car.
Joan spent the time with James (Siggy) having a nice long lunch while I was sweating it out on the course. I saw Brandy and then Jennifer on the route (and Jennifer’s touring entourage of husband and 3 kids)… I managed to talk to a couple of people on the route – a few of the women were really pretty evenly paced with me. I lost one “ride buddy” when I stopped to fill my water bottle at mile 28 (she later found me when the race was done). I did do my fair share of passing people – including a couple of guys.
I sent a text message to Joan at mile 40, I was ahead of what I thought I’d make (I was thinking 4 hours with stops), then hit the “hill” – a 6-11% grade up Chalk Hill Road… I saw a couple of people walking up, but I slogged it up the hill. It wasn’t as bad as I thought (not as long, but steeper), but I was tiring by the time I got there.
One minor sub goal I made – I beat the first Ironman into T2 🙂 🙂 🙂 Since I couldn’t listen to my tune on the bike (no personal audio devices allowed, even with the speakers), I was doing calculations in my head – like how fast it would take the best Ironman to make the 112 mile bike course. I figured I’d be passed around mile 50, but wasn’t sure. I asked one of the volunteers near that point on the route and she said an Ironman HAD come by… but she was WRONG. LOL! I got to T2 at around 12:40, the first ironman made it in around 1pm.
Per Elizabeth’s thread on how much fluid she drank on STP, and because it was so )(#@*&$ hot, I made a special effort to drink at least one full bottle between stops (mile 13, 28, 40). The first bottle was plain water, 2nd was Accelerade, 3rd was SmartWater (what they were handing out) and 4th was Gatorade which I didn’t finish, but I was drinking more water. I got to the point where I’d take a at least sip or two every 10 minutes. I also ate 1.5 bananas and a small cliff bar. I know I drank at least 4 x 24 ounces – maybe a 5th… I got a little wonky after Chalk Hill. I saw a lot of people having problems because they weren’t drinking enough and offered one of my untouched bottles of Smartwater to one woman – she refused, but saw me later in the transition area and said I was her “carrot” (I was just in front of her for a while)… she thanked me.
Here’s a link to my GPS data
. Unfortunately my GPS must have missed some of the data in the trees because the official distance is 58 mile route. I did it officially in 3:28:42 – averaging approximately 16.5 mph, while keeping my heart rate around 155.
At T2, Joan was waiting for me under the relay tent, and walked over to the Transition rack with me. She took 2 pictures, I swapped the timing chip and she was off and away. I stayed around in the transition area to take pictures of Sharon (who came in a bit after me) then Brandy, then Jennifer. Jennifer had gotten a flat RIGHT before the end of the ride, but rode the bike in and slipped and fell on the turn into the
transition area. 🙁 She didn’t look so happy right after, but then the endorphines must have kicked back in after she transitioned, and she was on her way for the run.
I found the car and changed my shoes, then sat around and pictures of the runners as they came around their loops (it was an 8 mile loop then a 4 mile loop for the 1/2 marathon). It was REALLY hot – high 80s through the whole run. Even still everyone finished! I was so incredibly happy for everyone.
Note, the run times have to be wrong in these. I know Joan’s time yesterday was listed as 2:48:??. They also have our Swim/Transition1 time mixed together. The total times are correct.
1310 Boyles, Joan/Bricker, Lauren
Swim ( — )
T1 ( 0:45:34.6 )
Bike ( 3:28:42.7 )
T2 ( 0:03:35.5 )
Run ( 0:00:15.6 )
1042 Simis, Brandy
Swim ( 0:54:14.8 )
T1 ( 0:05:37.0 )
Bike ( 3:48:44.8 )
T2 ( 0:04:19.6 )
Run ( 0:00:23.7 )
1113 Cruz, Jennifer
Total time: 8:18:27.5
Swim ( 0:52:05.2 )
T1 ( 0:04:26.8 )
Bike ( 3:59:13.9 )
T2 ( 0:04:38.0 )
Run ( 0:00:18.2 )
1232 Signorelli, Sharon
Total time: 7:45:14.4
Swim ( — )
T1 ( 1:03:24.4 )
Bike ( 3:44:35.0 )
T2 ( 0:04:40.4 )
Run ( 0:00:18.3 )
I have to say the Vineman race was VERY well supported AND supportive (so many people encouraging us on the route!!!) The only negative was not enough port-a-potties to support the athletes’ pre-race jitters…. What I heard was that the 70.3 1/2 iron wasn’t so supportive in terms of the athletes – because it was a qualifier a lot of the athletes get very very pushy. I could definitely see doing a full 1/2 ironman *some year*, but for now I’m totally happy with doing the bike portions of a relay.
Joan and I left at around 6:30 am yesterday and re-traced our steps through the mountains to I-5 (rather than taking the route through Novato and Vallejo). We stopped in at the Cowpoke Cafe for breakfast – a tiny place in Middletown, CA… very cow kitchy! And very very very filled with regulars. We did few other stops except in Redding (for Jamba Juice) and in Jantzen Beach (Portland OR) for some brew-pub food. We made it back to my house around 10pm – only to find that Joan’s car tire was flat! At least she was here (tired, but here) and had AAA to come fix it (they were around the corner). We’re both pretty tired today, but it was so worth it.