Friday, November 20, 2015

2015 Nevis Triathlon Race Report/Review

 {Warning: This is long. So was the race. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride}

Enough about the island (that post HERE). Let’s talk about the whole reason I went to Nevis – the RACE.

When I was invited to come to Nevis, I checked out the website for the race and saw that it was one of the most beautiful triathlons in the world. Sounds awful. I better go and check it out. 

The Nevis triathlon has two distances: a sprint (550 yard swim, a 20 mile bike and a 5K) and the long course, which was double (1,100 yard swim, 40 mile bike, 10K). I was like, well I am not going all that way to do a sprint, so I signed up for the long course. I mean, I’ve done two Ironmans (well, not in the biblical sense, but you know what I mean), so this seemed like a piece of cake.

Famous last words. Did I mention I hadn’t swam in a year or biked in months?

The day before the race we drove around the island. There is one main road and I would ride it twice. Sure it was windy and extremely hilly and hot and there was no shoulder and the roads were pretty rutted and everyone drove on the “wrong” side, but NBD, right? Let’s just go with the flow. Because I am such a laid back person. No Type-A here. <where is the sarcasm font? 

I didn’t have time to ship my bike, but was assured they would give me a bike to ride. The morning before the race I spoke to the bike guy and told him my height and that I’d like a tri bike. He said, “How about a hybrid?” I thought, hmmm…he must mean like a cross between a tri and a road bike –I’ve never heard of that, but he doesn’t mean like a hybrid, hybrid the kind you cruise around on, right?

At the bike shop some guy came out with a beautiful tri bike. YES! This was all going to work out fine. Until that guy took the bike and went away and the bike guy came out with this for me:

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I was a bit worried about the pedals not having cages and the sheer weight of the bike. I kept telling myself “You are in it for the adventure, who cares?” Plus, it had a sweet tool kit and pump. And reflectors!! Safety first.

Race morning dawned warm and beautiful like every day in Nevis. We got to the start and I set up my transition area.  To the right is Jane Hansom, pro triathlete, who just came in 2nd in her AG at Kona.  She and I are clearly very alike. Only she did not steal the green towel from the hotel like I did.

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Looks like a swell day for a swim in the Caribbean.

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Start/finish line.

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The race director, Greg, did the usual debrief. I asked a volunteer if there were bathrooms along the way. “Well, no, my love. You will just have to contain it or sweat it out.” Hmmm..hadn’t heard that one before. Clearly she does not know who she is talking to. Sometimes there are things that are hard to contain and sweat out, sweet lady!

We stood on the beach and with a “ready, set, go” ran into the water. The swim was uneventful. I saw a star fish on the bottom of the sea.  I would have dove down to get him but I was kind of in a hurry. To get on…

The bike started out well enough. Riding on the left side was odd. Don’t even get me started on the round about. I can’t even do those in the States on the right side of the road, not to mention on the “wrong” side of the road. I lived to tell.

I began the ascent on what is called the “Anaconda.”  This is about a 4 mile steep and winding hill. My gears were not cooperating and my feet were slipping off the pedals and there were 95 f-bombs dropped, but I made it to the top.

The reward was a sweeping view of the Atlantic and the Caribbean as well as cold blue Gatorade. I took a GU (I had fortunately stuffed two in my suitcase last minute…they were to be my only fuel for this race. AND I stupidly forgot my Salt Stick). Btw, I was WAY under fueled for this race. I usually take in 200 cals/hour on the bike and for this race I only had about 50 cals/hour.

As I rode along taking it all in, I was trying to ignore the fact that I had to do the Anaconda all over again and the fact that my legs were working REALLY hard to keep this bike cranking and to keep my feet on the pedals. I dodged the herds of goats and the wild donkeys. I knew the run was going to suck balls. But sucking balls in a beautiful place is better than doing it in an ugly spot, right?  After the first loop I checked my watch. It had taken me about 1.5 hours to go 20 miles!!!  Jane was probably already done with the entire race. Damn Jane.

Groundhog Day and let’s do the bike loop again. 8 miles from the bike finish some car behind me would not pass and kept trailing me. I waved him on for a couple miles then realized he was a police escort. WHY? I am not first, I am not last. I did not poop on the road and I didn't break any laws that I knew of. Unless the f-bombs were a crime. He followed me to the transition area, putting on his siren for the last mile. I was in a PARADE!

The last thing in the world I wanted to do was run. It was inching near 90 degrees and I was spent. I knew I would find a way to squeak out 6.2 miles, but I was in a bad mood about it. I started feeling sick and I had major chills, which I knew were a sign of dehydration. How was Jane doing? Oh, yeah. There she is coming into the finish. Go Jane.

By this time I had been out there for 3.5 hours. There was no shade and I could feel the heat coming off the hot asphalt. I took a couple of walk breaks and just tried to get through it, throwing water on my head every chance I got and talking to myself like a crazy person. With one mile to go, a police motorcycle came along side me to escort me to the finish. I’m surprised he could ride this slow. Again, on came the siren.

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I think he is going to run me over. Or, he’s checking out my ass.

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So glad to be done after 4 hours, 25 minutes.

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Determined face.

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Then, thrilled to find out I would win one of these for coming in third! Best prize/souvenir ever (even if security at the airport didn’t appreciate it). Three faces, one for each phase of triathlon.

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JANE!

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My first podium finish. Thank you Anaconda. Thank you blue Gatorade. Thank you police escort. Thank you Academy.

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After a shower, there were beers and burgers for all. And, lots of pool time.

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All in all, this was one of the tougher races I have done. For a variety of reasons. Climbing, heat, etc. It was also hands down the most scenic race I’ve done.

You should do this race if:

  • You like to combine a kick ass vacation spot with a race.
  • You enjoy a good challenge. This one is HARD.
  • You prefer smaller, more intimate races.
  • You like being warm (hello, no wetsuit!).
  • You are inspired by scenery and a continuous warm breeze. Mountains + water + palm trees + wildlife.

SUAR

Thank you to the Nevis Tourism Board for hosting me!

Thanks to Kevin Mackinnon (Triathlon Magazine/Canada) for the race photos!

24 comments:

  1. Hey, that's the same bike I have! And I cannot imagine doing 40 miles on it...the seat alone would cut me in half. I mostly use it for light cross training as I'm not a super serious biker. Congrats on your podium finish!

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    1. Haha! Cut you in half. That is about how I felt.

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  2. WOW! Congratulations on your finish! That was a well deserved 3-faced rock!!! And the scenery looked beautiful!

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  3. That is a beautiful race. Congrats on 3rd place!

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  4. Congratulations on what looks like a very difficult, but beautiful race! Love the bike :)

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  5. That must be a tough course! You should get a "corrected" time based on the weight penalty you were working under. The bike, not you. And you are right, that cop was behind you to totally check you out. That first beer must have been the best one ever!

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    1. It was. The second one wasn't bad either. And the 4 glasses of wine later.

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  6. WOW! Congratulations! Imagine what you could have done if you'd had your own bike and been fueled properly. Nice job.

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  7. This one is now officially on my must do list!

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  8. Was the siren to announce 3rd place? The only thing missing on your bike was a kickstand!

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    1. I guess so!! I actually was surprised there was no kickstand!

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  9. You are such a trooper! I know I'd want to finish just to get that trophy. I love that quirky stuff. Best trophy ever!

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  10. Love your race report. I would call that triathlon "Survivor - Nevis". Congrats on the podium finish and the stone bling. I'm flashing back to Gilligan's Island - hope there's no curse associated with the triple header. You are one adventurous person!

    And yes - you know exactly why the cop was right behind you...

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  11. I like the Tri Bella suit. Looks good.

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  12. SOOOOO cool, I was loving all of your photos while there and congrats on walking away with an extra memento!

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  14. Hey there article writer! A wonderful against your accomplish! That is your necessary 3-faced mountain!!! As well as panorama checked attractive.

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  15. Awesome!! I'm just getting into running, and can't imagine how you do all three. I have done road biking in the past, so I can just understand how uncomfortable that seat must have been.

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  17. It is an awesome experience!!!!! Congratulations!

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