I have always been the kind of person who can't sit still and who, for better or for worse, likes to do things a bit differently. In fact, when O magazine asked me to describe myself in one word, that is exactly what I said: unconventional. I would say that opting to race in Nevis exemplifies just that. Instead of racing in Miami as I have the past two years, I decided to try something new. I believe that to get to the next level and to keep yourself inspired in triathlon or whatever you do, it is essential to tackle new challenges. As many of you know, a 1k swim- 100k bike - 10k run does not exactly play to my strenths as a triathlete. But, I figured how will I ever overcome my weaknesses (in my case cycling long distances) if I don't face them head on? I also wanted the opportunity to meet new people, see a new place, and of course to ride my bike up a volcano! TriStar Nevis presented all of these possibilities so I jumped at the chance when the race organizers invited me to participate.
The experience exceeded all of my expectations. I wanted to race in the heat - 90 degrees and humid! I wanted to see a new country- I got to see two. I wanted to meet new people - too many to list but Lindsey, Winston, Greg and the organizers, Amy Kloner (champion) and Tom who saved me over and over again, NY'ers John and Christine, Lesley who is 63 and made a triathlon which included a 63 mile hilly ride her first one, a 79 yr old man who raced with his two sons. Could go on and on - what an enriching few days.
I also wanted to the chance to ride my bike outside, in the sun, up and down hills - and I definitely got that out of my system! The course was a short swim in the sea (took me 14 minutes) and I was second out of the water behind Olivier Marceau (Swiss pro). This was followed by a 100k bike ride circling the island 3 times. A steep (way steeper than expected) 20 minute climb followed by what I quickly knicknamed (to myself) the Cyclone. Has anyone ever ridden it in Coney Island? It's an old, old wooden roller coaster that chugs uphill and then makes a quick turn and twists and screams it's way up and down. It is so bumpy and rickety that you think you are going to fly out the entire ride. It's exhilarating but scary. People ride it over and over again. This is what the bike course was like. I held on for dear life (the wind was so strong that it blew me and my deep dish wheels all over the road) and sang songs from A Chorus Line to myself. People like SJ or Justin or Lance would eat it up. I just wanted to return to T2 safely so I could run! So, yes, I got my challenge there!
When I got to the run I had amassed a 16 minute deficit to first place! Insurmountable. Amy had ridden like a bat out of hell around that island. I decided I'd just run as fast as I could and go for a good time. A good time on this course was 42:59. We ran through streams up and down big hills, dirt roads and the beach too. (Can you believe a 63 year old first timer did that?!) I ended up with the fastest run of the day by over 2 minutes and finished with a sprint and a smile - somehow my legs felt great. How?? I have to credit First Endurance for keeping me hydrated with EFS and fueled with my flasks of vanilla gel - never bonked, never felt thirsty. I had energy the whole race due to my two shots of FRS on the beach before the swim, and I had impeccable training and advice from my coach Cliff English. Plus I had a new bike from Cervelo, a new race "outfit" from Nike, a new helmet and shades from Rudy Project, fast wheels from Hed, shiny shoes from Sidi, cold refreshments from Zico, healthy snacks from New York Super Foods, my best friend saddle from ISM, and the immeasurable support of NYAC, Chelsea Piers, my ever-inspiring training partners and the amazing fans on Nevis. Thank you all! Most thanks to Bec for preparing me Athlete Food for the trip and for guiding me from afar. The wondertwins will be back in action together soon! The next race is St. Anthony's, which while familiar still does pose significant challenges.
Congrats to Amy and Olivier on their wins and to everyone who raced!
Here is good write-up about the race from Triathlete Europe. Unfortunately I obscured my face with my bouquet of flowers!
Also, I highly recommend the TriStar series to all triathletes who want to enjoy a fun, challenging and well-organized event. You also have to like cycling 100k's!