The morning of the race came with the ringing of my 5:00 a.m. alarm. I never really know how I’m going to feel on race day until I go out for my morning walk, because I feel groggy waking up. I slept well and my walk felt really great! I was excited to race alongside my mom and her boyfriend. They left the house before I did and I left about 10 minutes after. Shortly after leaving I received a call from my mom saying she forget her sport sunglasses. I didn’t have time to turn around and go back, which brought a little stress to a peaceful morning. Luckily my girlfriend had an extra pair of glasses.
Driving toward the lake, the sky was full of haze. I had heard earlier during the week that there had been a fire by the lake, right across from Sutcliffe. This worried me a little bit and it looked like they might have reason to cancel the race. Getting to the race site, the smoke was pretty thick. A lot of the racers were worried, and many, including myself, considered doing just the swim. Setting up transition and prepping for the start, I squeezed into my wetsuit and headed down to the swim start. The water was absolutely gorgeous and my swim warmup went great! The start of the race was extremely fun! I’ve never done a running start, and I got to high-step into the water before taking about 5 dolphin dives before swimming towards the first buoy! I took a shorter line to the left while, Brandon, Scott, and Matt took a further line to the right. I got out fast and got to the first buoy with some feet out in front of me. I followed them all the way in exiting the water in 4th place.
I forgot how difficult the run from the beach to the transition area was in the thick sand! It drains your legs and takes your breathe away. I lost a lot of time to my competition during this section. T1 was a little slow, struggling to clip my helmet, and the first portion of the ride out of transition also drains your legs! I stayed conservative and then really attacked the rest of the bike course. I felt super strong and maintained my position. My bike split was 34:33, a full 10 minutes faster than 2 years ago! Cruising into transition, my T2 was one of the fastest all day and I ran out. This course is extremely tough because cycling and running out of transition is a difficult hill. The smoke had really caught up with me at this point as I struggled to catch a good solid breathe.
I didn’t feel great the entire run, but pushed through to the end. My time was 1:08:22, a full 11 minutes faster than 2 years ago! This was a huge confidence boost going into Nationals in less than 2 weeks. The competition was good for the top 5 spots and Sierra Endurance Sports athletes were 4 of the top 7 finishers. I won my age group, my mom was 2nd in hers, and her boyfriend was 3rd in his! It was a great day!