WCCTC Conference Champs
With the conclusion of finals week, we hit the road early on Saturday morning to drive up to SLO for the much anticipated conference championship and the first Olympic triathlon for the season. In my case the first Olympic triathlon ever, and let me tell you, it’s intimidating. The fact that we got to camp under the stars, over-looking green rolling hills made me a happy camper and calmed my nerves the night before the race.
An early wakeup call, from a deep sleep got the blood flowing as we climbed out of the tent into the dark foggy air and started to prepare for the race. By 8 o’clock the first heat of the men’s race was off and I was walking down the long ramp preparing myself to enter the lake and start the race with a 1500 meter swim. The fog made it impossible to see past the first two buoys, so as my heat started I followed the huge pack of swimmers, relying on them mainly for direction. I maintained a consistent pace, constantly checking to make sure I stayed on course. Finally, I passed the last buoy and rounded the corner to the massive uphill ramp that leads to the first transition. I’d completed my weakest leg of the race, and now here came the brutal but exhilarating process of catching back up and making up for lost ground.
While exiting the first transition I was running with my bike in one hand and squeezing out GU in the other. The bike portion, although hilly, was absolutely breathtaking. You pass by green meadows, beds of flowers and horses which got front row seats to the race. With about 6 miles to go we hit a huge climb, which wiped out any energy I had been wishing to reserve for later. I had been expecting a hill, but this felt more like a mountain. Making it to the top could only mean one thing though; it was now time to fly. A net downhill back to transition two was greatly appreciated as I mentally prepared for the last and most painful leg.
With record time out of transition two, I aimed to catch up with one of my teammates Kaitlyn Van Peursem who became my angel for the last 5 miles. Working with her made every mile a little bit more bearable as we pushed each other all the way to the finish. As I crossed the finish line my body ached from head to toe, a token for completing my first Olympic triathlon. I felt blessed to be able to compete on such a great team of top notch athletes and teammates.