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Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Napa, California
United States
Enviro-Sports Productions
Total Time = 7h 10m 57s
Overall Rank = 211/254
Age Group = F 30-34
Age Group Rank = 15/23
Pre-race routine:

I registered for this race as prep for IMCdA, so I went into it as a "training day." My mom and I camped out at the host campground in her trailer the night before the race. I rolled out of bed at 5:30, fixed my bagel with peanut butter and honey and drank some tea. Topped off my tires, and wheeled over to the transition area. Parked my bike in transition, then went to packet pick-up to check in. (This race does not do packet pick-up prior to race morning.) Set up my transition area, make a trip to the potty, slicked on the sunscreen and bodyglide, and pulled on the wetsuit. Spotted Ryan in the middle of all this and said a quick hi. Then handed my transition pack to Mom.
Event warmup:

Not much. Got in the water about 3 minutes before the start and warmed up the wetsuit. That was chilly water!
  • 38m 45s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 50s / 100 yards

We were given the option to seed ourselves in either of the 2 waves. As I had no illusion of a podium spot, I went in the second wave. I was up in the second row, and found myself right in front of Ryan.

Immediately after we went off, I got on a pair of feet. I had to fight off a few folks to protect my claim, but those feet took me almost to the first turn. At one point someone tried to take my goggles off my head, so I had to stop and adjust the strap. Of course, I lost my ride at that point, but quickly found another! After awhile, it seemed my train and I had found some clear water, but then I felt someone working their way up my legs. Since I knew it wasn't my husband, I gave a good kick, and they left me alone.

At the next turn-around, everyone bunched up again, and I lost my ride. Once clear of the bouy, I found another pair of feet to follow, and kept on trucking. About this time, the surf started to kick up a bit. By the last third of the last lap, I had lost the last of my free rides (actually I passed them), and had to be careful when breathing that I didn't end up drinking too much of the lake since the chop was pretty rough.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I came out of the water asking if I could do that again!
Transition 1
  • 04m 20s

I couldn't tell where the timing "mats" were, since they didn't really use mats. They had folks helping us up onto the boat ramp, and then we had to run up a rough/gravely road to transition. Pulled off my cap and goggles, and got my wetsuit down around my waist on the way up Got to my transition spot, and tried to pull off my wetsuit. Had some trouble getting the wetsuit over the timing chip, and wanted to make sure I had everything just right--this was going to be a long ride!
What would you do differently?:

I need to figure out the trick to getting a full suit over a bulky timing chip. Otherwise, not much. This was probably time well spent.
  • 3h 50m 38s
  • 56 miles
  • 14.57 mile/hr

The plan was to keep the gearing pretty easy until the big hill climb that started around mile 22, then go by feel. As I was coming out of the campground, I saw Gordo go by, having finished his out and back--hey, hey, I'm not that far back! Immediately I was hit with a bit of cross wind. Not bad, but it would be a constant and would get worse as the race went on.

About 1/4 mile in, the hills started. Big rolling hills. Made the turn around, and headed back toward the campground. Near the campground entrance, there was a crowd of 40-50 spectators, all completely silent. There was no one else near me--in front or behind. When Mom realized it was me and finished taking her picture, she cheered and rang cowbells--everyone else was deathly silent. A bit frustrated, I yelled out "Go Crowd, YEAH!!" Suddenly the crowd started cheering! :)

A little further down, I spotted my brother's car stopped by one of the traffic control officers. I waved, and my brother, sister-in-law and niece started cheering from inside the car. The officer standing at my brother's window figured I was probably the athlete they were there to support.

Kept it nice and easy until the big hill I had been worried about. I have to say, my hill climb training really helped out here, and the hill was over much faster than I was expecting.

Shortly after that (around mile 28?) the road turned to complete crap. The surface was chip-seal, which is rough enough, but there were tons of potholes, many of them un-marked. At one point, I was coming down a hill, around a corner in shade, and realized my side of the road was all torn up! I went a little wider than I had intended, and had to fight for it, but I stayed up! Call it a little mental/confidence victory since in my last tri I crashed and broke my wrist. Could be I needed that challenge. It was clear not everyone made it through that curve upright.

The hills and curves kept coming, and the wind got a bit worse. With about 12 miles to go, I got hit with cross winds that nearly blew me off the road and almost blew the bike out from under me. I was actually happy when I made a turn and the wind became a headwind.

Two miles before the finish, there was another good climing set--ouch! The last mile I went with easy gearing to let my legs get ready for the run.

Overall, I passed a few folks and got passed by a few folks. I came off the bike in good shape, leg feeling pretty good!
What would you do differently?:

Not much. My pace wasn't great, but given the wind and terrain, I'm pretty pleased.
Transition 2
  • 03m 11s

Ran my bike to my transition spot, and couldn't get my bike racked to save my life. I was trying to rack it in the opposite direction from where I had it before, but I couldn't get the front wheel over my running shoes sitting on my towel. Ended up having to rack it by my brake levers, which was fine, but it took me too long to figure that out.

Switched my shoes, grabbed my nutrition, hat, and fuel belt, and was on my way.
What would you do differently?:

Rack my bike by the brake levers in the first place!!
  • 2h 34m 12s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 46s  min/mile

Headed out on the run feeling pretty strong, and saw Ryan heading out on his second lap--he was in fine form. About 1/3 mile in, I started to get a side stitch. I knew I needed to pee (I had a whole debate on the bike, and decided if I could hold it, it would be better to wait until I was off the bike and could find a port-a-potty than to run in pee-soaked shorts), so I found a port-a-potty and hoped that would help. No dice. Every time I tried to push the pace, the stitch would tighten up and I felt like I would get sick, so I would walk for a bit. After awhile, I started to wonder where I would be in pain if it were appendicitis, since the stitch was kind of low. I decided to jog at a steady, easy pace and see if the stitch would work its way out--not much luck there either. I had a few periods of fatigue, where I probably could have curled up on the side of the road and taken a nap, but those passed pretty quickly.

I used my fuel belt instead of my number belt, as I had heard that last year the aid stations ran out of cups and started "recycling." It didn't appear to be an issue this year, so at the end of my first lap I passed off 4 of my bottles to my brother.

It wasn't until the return trip on the last lap that the stitch went away. At about the same time, my left calf started to cramp. I ran to the next aid station and grabbed a banana. Majic! With the leg feeling better, I was able to pick up the pace a bit and charge on home! I was feeling great by the end of the race!

As I headed into the campground my brother met me and started running with me. He said my niece was up ahead, and if it was OK, she wanted to run in with me. Well, OF COURSE! I grabbed her little hand, and she started running, matching my pace perfectly. She said "Auntie Shannon, we're almost there!"

The announcer was in fine form. "Here comes Shannon (mangled last name), and we're assuming her daughter? She looks too young to be her sister...."
Right in front of the finish line I yelled "My Niece!!"
"OH her niece! It's her niece!"

I crossed the line, picked up Kendall, and gave her a big hug.
What would you do differently?:

Eat a banana earlier to prevent the leg cramp. I had been taking endurolytes, but I guess I needed extra potassium. I still need to figure out that dang side stitch!
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around a bit, grabbed some water and my t-shirt. I was told the post-race food sucked, so we packed up my gear and headed back to the campsite for endurox and an ice bath.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Side stitch on the run.

Event comments:

This is definitely a low-key race. The host campground is in need of major renovation, and the roads were in horrible condition. If the roads had been repaved, I might do this one again. It is a challenging course in a beautiful area. And it was great to have family there to cheer me on!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-11-26 12:00 AM
00:38:45 | 2112 yards | 01m 50s / 100yards
Age Group: 13/23
Overall: 0/254
Performance: Good
HRM says ahr was 176--I don't think that's right, but whatever!
Suit: Blue Seventy Full
Course: 2 Laps around basically an out and back. We started and finished half-way through the course.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:20
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:50:38 | 56 miles | 14.57 mile/hr
Age Group: 16/23
Overall: 0/254
Performance: Good
AHR 154.
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Short out and back section at start, then a big loop with another out and back about 3/4 of the way through. Very hilly course. According to the mapping tool, there was over 4800 feet of climbing. Roads were in very bad shape, and road hazard marking was not good.
Road: Potholes Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:11
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Bad
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:34:12 | 13.1 miles | 11m 46s  min/mile
Age Group: 17/23
Overall: 0/254
Performance: Below average
AHR 152
Course: Double out and back with several big hills. According to the mapping thing, there was about 800 ft of elevation gain per lap.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2007-05-08 1:45 PM

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Littleton, Colorado
Subject: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon

2007-05-08 2:00 PM
in reply to: #793260

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Official BT Coach
Englewood, CO
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon
Wow!  what a day!  You did it in fine fashion!  Congrats on a great finish!  Look out CDA!
2007-05-08 2:00 PM
in reply to: #793260

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Coeur d'Alene, ID
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon

Hey Shannon-

Sorry I did not run into you.  I was wiped-out.  Suffered some stomach issues of my own.  I was hoping for 5:45 but ended up at 6:20.  That bike course was unbelievably tough.  I have been training on the hills here in CDA and they are as tough, but not as many.  Congrats on a great race.  Sounds like you had fun.  Wife and I had a blast in Napa, but the roads could really use a makeover.  The crowd was a bit silent going past the entrance to the resort.  How about the big hill right before making the left back to the resort!!!

Way to go.  See you in CDA.

2007-05-08 2:12 PM
in reply to: #793260

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Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon
Congratulations on finishing your first HIM!! I'll admit that when I was out on the run I was thinking about those roads on the bike and hoping you made it through some of the areas okay. Needless to say, I was pretty glad to see you when you were making your way out on the run, knowing you got through the bike okay. Hope this was the confidence builder you needed to get ready for CdA!
2007-05-08 2:51 PM
in reply to: #793260

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Denver, CO
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon
Nice work on your first half.  Sounds like you managed the course really well and had a great race.  CdA will be no problem!
2007-05-08 2:51 PM
in reply to: #793260

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Visalia, CA
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon
right on!! i didn't know if you where still around in camp for the sprint, so i didn't even really try to track you down. you were probably one of the hooligans that kept me up all night at the bar for cinco de mayo i know what you mean about the roads. the sprint went out of putah the opposite direction and the roads were horrible!! probably saw 5 people with flats, but didn't really see anything on the road, i imagine they were just from the chipseal or something. keep up the training and get some good recovery in this week.

2007-05-08 4:18 PM
in reply to: #793260

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Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon
You did amazing!! I bet it feels great to have such a tough race under your belt in early May. I love your story about your niece at the finish  line--I bet she'll be doing tris someday. Again, congrats on a successful race...very inspiring but I just can NOT imagine those distances! 

Edited by serrotta 2007-05-08 4:18 PM
2007-05-08 6:16 PM
in reply to: #793260

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A very cool place in Colorado :)
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon

That was your first HIM?!  WOW!! WAY TO GO!!! Seems to me you are right on track for your IM coming up -- stay mentally strong and you've GOT it!

CONGRATS!! And how sweet your neice got to cross the finish line with you - I bet she remembers that forever 

2007-05-08 6:44 PM
in reply to: #793260

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Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon
Nice work Shannon!!!  Good thing you rode all those mountains before taking on the Napa hills   Sounds like you managed your race well and learned lots of info for fueling and nutrition.  CONGRATS on a fantastic first HIM.   Ready to ROLL for CdA baby!!
2007-05-08 7:10 PM
in reply to: #793260

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Extreme Veteran
Denver, CO
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon
CONGRATULATIONS!!! You did SO great, kept a positive attitude, stayed focused, worked through all the challenges and had a great race. You MUST feel 100% more prepared for CDA than you did a week ago with that confidence-boosting performance! Great job
2007-05-09 4:19 PM
in reply to: #793260

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Haddonfield, NJ
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon
Awesome race and great report.  Way to go!

2007-05-10 2:47 AM
in reply to: #793260

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Subject: RE: Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon
Great race, that Ride was tough, I hated the wind, at points I was looking down trying to see if I was still going. well good luck in the rest of the tri this year.
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