So yesterday morning, I followed Sweet Baboo on his second trip around the 26-mile course down at Elephant Butte. He was doing this as a training ride and also to get familiar with the course since he would be officiating here at the inaugural "Elephant Man."
Elephant Butte (elev. 4500) gets its name because of the formation that looks like an elephant (click on the first photo, above, and see what you think.).
Pirate tried in vain to show me, "There, look at that flat spot, that's the ear, can you see it?" but to be truthful, I thought it looked more like a shar-pei.
When Baboo got to the hill they call, "Big Daddy" I know I stared, open-mouthed and watched Baboo attack it, up out of his saddle, his speed dropping steadily as he climed the approximatley 11% grade, hill headed straight into a strong, steady wind.
Mini-me piped up. "He won't make it"
"Yes, he will."
"He can't. He's moving too slowly. He'll fall over"
He did make it, and then the long climb that followed that one up back onto the mesa.
It was then that I made a couple of phone calls, to people who I knew were leaving Albuquerque at that moment, headed down here to do this race.
Now, the key to talking to athletes when wanting to discuss a daunting course with them without freaking them out is the use the special code. I never understood it before, but I did now. For instance, the long run from the lake up to T1 becomes, "a bit of a jog."
A long hill becomes, "a bit of a climb".
A really big steep hill will, "get your attention."
A strong steady gale becomes, "some wind, but we're hoping it will clear out by tomorrow"
In short, a torturous course becomes, "a challenge."
I swam the course, and it was about 72 degrees, which was good because I forgot my wetsuit. However, it was as choppy a swim as I'd ever had, though I think it was calmer the next day; on the way back in I was swimming straight into the chop and finally started swimming really aggressively, almost stabbing my hands into the water as I headed back to shore. Thank goodness for bilateral breathing.
Then we walked the first miles of the 10K out-and-back. As the first mile approached the road, there was a steep hill of deep sand. By this time I was nearly laughing hysterically. I was soooooo happy to not be doing this race. It seriously violates my laziness threshold. I will do short and challenging. I will do long and easy. Long and challenging, though, just pisses me off.
hilly, windy bike
hot hilly run, damn, I'm glad
The next morning, we packed up after the swim start and headed out to the aid station. During the race, I was happy to move do a little dance in the road to the music and ring a cowbell. Pirate, Maria and I were wearing our little black dresses from SkirtSports that we'd screeed with our team logo on it, and I hoped to be some inspiration to the male triathletes as they chugged up a steep hill, the top of which was the run turn around and our aid station. Also volunteering with us was VeganRunAmok.
I was somewhat inspired to do this race next year, but again I'm not sure. It's at the end of the season, after my A races. The bike is unbelievably difficult. The run is completely exposed and hot, and a third of it is through soft sand.
In fact, the only rude person I saw wasn't even from here: she had come down from Albuquerque in her porche and was furious that the road to her slip at the marina was closed. She cursed, and swore, and eventually apologized when the park police agreed to let her go through so that her $2000 (she was happy to inform me how much she paid for her slip) wouldn't be wasted so she could go sit on her boat.
You might even get to see me there.
Yeah, I'll probably do it next year. Sand, hills, and all. (Sigh.)