The plan was simple. We would camp. We would take all our camping gear - we did a lot of hiking and camping before going crazy with multisport - and we would camp over by where they were having the doghouse sprint at Buffalo Springs Lake outside of Lubbock. I guess we were expected the kind of camping that takes place at ultras. In those situations, the campers band together, and as they all competing the next day, quiet down and get to sleep at a decent hour.
When we arrived at the camp site, I was looking around to see if we had landed in rural Appalatia by mistake. Scores of men in wife-beaters wandered by scratching, wearing camouflage accessories. Dogs and children ran loose, barking, driving a 4-wheeler through the camp sites, or both. There were 8 large tents set up nearby a large congregation of a particularly bawdy and loud group of 40 or so of these folks were were clearly gathering steam in the early evening.
Three monster trucks full of fishermen showed up, parked on the manicured grass and spun their tires, tearing up the grass, then sat about 30 yards away, sharing one pole, drinking beer, and smoking. When the unmistakable scent of burning marijuana wafted our way, Sweet Baboo was desperate. "I'm in hell," he said, "what would it take to get a hotel room right now?"
"An internet connection," I responded, zipping up part of the tent.
Baboo whipped out his Blackberry, flipped through it, made a phone call, and ten minutes later we'd loaded the address of the hotel into the Nuvi, packed up the tent, and were en route. You gotta love technology. It was a kind of a miracle given that it was graduation weekend at TCU.
There were facilities. There were walls. There was a bed. Ahhhh.
When I headed into the 63 degree water, I had decided I would stay close to the edge of the island as I swam around it to minimize my distance.
What I didn't count on was the walkers, sauntering around the edge of the island like they were walking with their honeys, and as far as I could see, every single one of them were men. I was surrounded, trying to swim through a dozen or more men strolling along the beach for the entire swim. I'd try to swim between them, and something about hearing me swimming would cause them to try to swim, or rather to try to beat the water into submission, and sometimes me in the process. It may have been the most brutal swim I've ever endured, and I've done two ironman swims.
After I got hit in the mouth, the sheer frustration of it all got to me and I screamed in Fisty McStroller's face, F***, MAN!!--and he was so surprised he stopped dead in the water while I swam away, because, after all, I was in God's country, and I'd just shouted the F-word at him.
I'm not proud of myself. It was wholly unladylike. But the anger got me swimming faster and and I finally was up and out of the water and running into transition.
I learned something from SWTriGal once, and I'll share it with you - I pull off my hat and goggles first, and then hold them in my hands as I pull my wet-suit top down. The goggles and cap stay caught in my sleeve. I managed to get the rest of me out of the neoprene and then grabbed my bike and headed out - without glasses - but it turned out to be okay because it was humid enough not to dry out my contacts, and it was too overcast to need sunglasses.
Before today my average speed on this course was about 14.7 mph. It's a nice out and back course, but immediately after you leave transition you're heading up about an 8% climb, then a short flat, screaming downhill back into the canyon, and a second climb, about 7% grade, then you're finally on a long flat out-and-back with a couple of turns. I had a chance to wave to wave to Sweet Baboo when he was on his way back and I was on my way out.
There was this one guy who seemed pretty determined to pass me, and then he would immediately slow down, and I thought, what is up with the men at this race? I finally passed him a third time and worked hard to stay ahead of him.
The bike course is nicely marshaled and traffic-controlled. When you head back into the canyon there's a screaming downhill followed by a last nasty 9% climb back up and then a last heart-in-your-throat downhill back down into the canyon again.
I felt pretty good about my run. I'm not sure what my time was, maybe, 32 minutes and some change. The run is an out-and-back and it rolls gently upward on the way out, but I wouldn't really call it hilly. I got another chance to see Sweet Baboo as he was on his way back in.
I'm not sure what all my times were, because I can hit lap on my watch, but haven't figured out how to scroll back through it, but my overall time was about 1:48, I think.
And then, you won't believe this, for the second week in a row the timers couldn't come up with my time for the awards. They asked me what I thought my time was. So I told them it was 1:48 or 1:49 or something. So, that's what they went with, and I was first Athena overall. If my time is correct, then I've PRd this course by about 15 minutes. Sweet Baboo was first Clydesdale overall.
Mike and Marty Greer, who also put on the Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake on June, put on this race. There is an Oly at the same time that I've done twice, as well. It's a fun, friendly race, well-organized by people who really lover triathlon and have a lot of fun with it. If you have the means and the time to get out to Lubbock, I recommend adding this to your calendar, or either of the two they put on in June.
And now I"m home, back in Albuquerque. I'm eating a Dominos pizza, as I'm addicted to their online ordering thing. A glass of wine, and then I think I'll sleep pretty well tonight.
UPDATE: I looked up my times this morning and they said "incomplete" under swim and bike. I emailed the timing company and asked them about this, and they wrote me a confusing email in which they 1) claimed I wasn't wearing my chip (I was) and 2) at the exact same time sent me a copy of my times, in a picture file entitled pilgrim_times.png, which I've included below. What they sent matches all the times I had estimated on my watch as I went along,
What I'm proudest of is that I was apparently the first place finisher in the 70-74 male division.
Next up: The Jemez 50K (see profile, below), in one week. This is the 50K that caused herself the Dread Pirate to look at me with concern when I announced I was doing it. I am in no way properly trained for this; I'll be running on whatever base I have leftover from the 38 mile run I did in January and the 50 mile run I did in March. Eep!