Better late than never! Leadman Epic 125 Triathlon race report
To anyone looking for a truly epic race experience, the Leadman Epic 125 Triathlon is that and more. This race dealt us heat with temperatures in the mid 90s and constant WIND with gusts up to 67mph. Lifetime fitness put on a well organized race and did an awesome job taking care of its athletes.
I drove down Thursday morning to Las Vegas with a few Salt Lake City athletes that were also racing. The 7 hour drive went by fast as we were all excited to get there. On Thursday night, i took part in the athlete pro panel at the swanky lifetime Fitness in Summerlin. I had never been inside one of those gyms before and was really amazed how nice it was.
Friday was an interesting day. I slept on the pull out couch and must have slept weird because I woke up with what felt like a pinched nerve in my neck. I couldn’t turn my head very well without a sharp pain going down my arms. Lucky for me, one of the athletes I was staying with is a chiropractor and active release therapist who works out of Salt Lake. Dr.Tom(UpZen Health 801-572-2272) took the time out of his day even though he was racing too and worked on my neck till the pain was gone. I highly recommend going to see him if you have any niggles. Its great to have someone in that line of work that knows the aches and pains of us endurance athletes.
Mid day we headed down to Lake Mead area for a warm up on the swim course, a short ride and a run to get the blood flowing. Today would have been the perfect day for the race as there was hardly any wind and it wasn’t very hot. At 7:30, I headed over to the host hotel for the elite athlete briefing. It was short and sweet which allowed me to get back for a good nights sleep.
I woke up at 6:30am with no pain in my neck area:) and headed down for the free continental breakfast. I got ready the night before so i was able to take my time at breakfast. We left for the race site at 7:45 and arrived with plenty of time to get our transition areas set up. Good thing because I ended up borrowing a back wheel from the owner of Las Vegas Cyclery. My tubular went flat over night and i didn’t want to risk having it happen in the race.
The swim started off pretty calm unlike the ITU style I’m used to. I got on one girls feet and stayed there for the first 400 meters before i decided to make my move into the lead.. The water was really choppy with the wind being so strong but i just tried to keep a steady pace. I exited the water in 1st, about 45 seconds ahead of the next female.. I took my time in transition putting on socks which I never do but I didn’t want blisters.
I came out of transition on my Fezzari T5 with one other girl and we set out of what would be a really long day on the bike. My coach wanted me to ride at a steady pace with as low of a heart rate as I could. I felt pretty good on the way out with only a few girls passing me. As soon as i hit the turn around, my feeling of being comfortable went right out the door. We went directly into a powerful cross and head wind. It was everything I had to keep my bike upright. I became very dehydrated throughout the bike and watched my power get lower and lower. Girls that I had 10-15 minutes on at the turnaround started passing me. In the last 10 miles, i was blown across the road(thankfully no cars were behind me) three times and passed by more women. Its a very frustrating thing to be having a good race and then it turns into a nightmare. I rolled into T2 very worked and not sure I was going to do the run. I took in some water and gathered myself for a minute then decided I would be a lot more bummed if i came all this way and didn’t finish.
I started the run off walking, hoping to bring my core temperature down but unfortunately that wasn’t happening. Every time I tried to run i was quickly brought down to a walk. I realized if I was going to finish this is how it probably had to be. The run was 8 miles all uphill with no where to hide from the sun. Thankfully, there were aid stations every mile with water and wet towels. At the 6 hour mark, I finally crossed the finish line with nothing left in the tank and a horrible sunburn.
I’ve gone though a lot of emotions reflecting back at this race. At first I was happy just to finish but then realized that I’m an elite athlete and finishing should not be something to be just ‘ok’ with. I’m happy to have the first race of the season in the books and look forward to a solid season full of podiums and good performances:)