USAT National Duathlon Championships 2011. Tucson, Arizona.
The Hilton Hotel and resort was the host hotel. Myself and two other duathletes, Mary Rine and Laura Bergmann were sharing a room. It was a beautiful resort in the ORO Valley in Tucson, Arizona. There were cactus all around, mountains, hummingbirds, quail, rabbits, and many other desert residing critters.
The USAT officials at the packet pick up expo were all helpful and friendly, and very organized.
We had all kinds of USAT goodies in our packets, water bottles race belts, T-shirts, energy bars, numbers, tattoos, race day information, course maps, and many other product samples.
The mandatory bike check in the day before had been cancelled due to high winds. Its funny looking out of a window you would never know it was crazy windy, cactus don’t blow in the wind. LOL! It was evident though when we saw the flags at the hotel entrance, they were standing straight out.
The 0% humidity in Arizona compared 90-100% in Florida, was quite an adjustment. Chapped lips, dry eyes, along with the odd nosebleed were not uncommon.
A nice early start race morning, race tattoo numbers on, my tri lab kit on, Lin’s performance socks, and my racing flats, the bike tires checked and pumped, profile design drink filled with strawberry lemonade NUUN, yum! Transition bag packed with bikes shoes, and Livewire chews.
I drank a quick cup of coffee and ate a half of a banana and we were on our way to the race venue to transition to check the bikes in and pick up timing chips. It was about a 3 mile drive.
Transition was beautifully set up and carpeted. I took note of where the ‘bike in’ and ‘bike out’ and ‘run in’ and ‘run out’ were, and picked out something familiar, that would help me to find my bike quickly in transition. A nice girl from Norway was setting up her bike next to mine.
I positioned my unwrapped chocolate flavor Livewire chews on my water bottle, between the rubber bands, ready to grab during the bike part of the race. I made a quick porto-potty visit and then warmed up and stretched.
The age groups went off in different waves. Lisa Taylor was getting ready for her wave planned to start 5 minutes ahead of my wave. We gave each other a friendly hug and wished each other luck. At the start of my wave the official bragged about the girl next me, she had placed 2nd at Kona, Ironman last year, and had just entered the 40 and up age group. The time passed quickly and the blow horn alerted us to start. I led the first run and felt good, there were two turnarounds and the last mile was a steep climb. Transition went well and I was eager to get going up the gradual incline that was waiting ahead. I kept sipping on my NUUN to keep my lips from sticking to my gums from the dry air; my tongue was stuck in my mouth in one place. LOL! I probably had a permanent smile on my face.
I was hoping to get some good speed on some of the course where we weren’t climbing, but I realized that there was a pretty good head wind and didn’t get up to the speed I had hoped for. It felt great, the Trek speed concept felt so smooth and sturdy. The warm air and the mountains around, wow, it really was an amazing scenery. The two loops on the bike went fairly quick, I dismounted and began to run in to rack my bike, crashing into some guy that had decided to walk out of transition the wrong way. Grr!!
Another fairly smooth transition, and I’m off on the last run. I felt pretty strong until I came to that dreaded last mile, wow…that kicked butt! A sprint to the finish along side another girl and yay!!!!! I had made the podium. I finished in 1.44. (5K, 35K, 5K) very happy with my overall time, although disappointed in my 2nd run time, (come to find out it was a little long).
Some athletes that came in had problems getting their breath and some had nosebleeds. I noticed when I took a deep breath my lungs hurt, but it was only temporary. The award ceremony was set for later that day, a wonderful ceremony where we were given beautiful medals and got our applauds and pictures on the podium. I would like to thank firstly my fantastic husband for allowing me to leave him the responsibility of our two teenage children, pets, and house duties during my absence. Wouldn’t of been possible without him. I would like to thank my great friend Mary Rine, ‘what a woman’, thank you Mary for driving us around the valley and for your special friendship. I would like to thank Triathlon lab for their support, for shipping out a new piece to my race kit, plus my travel box etc etc. Many thanks to Livewire for keeping me focused and energized, the chews really work. Importantly I would like to thank NUUN for keeping me hydrated, with no cramps in the desert heat, amazing stuff, and thank you Lin socks for the high performance socks, my feet were snug as a bug. I must thank the Trek crew for all their unbelievable help and support, Doug Korinek and Mark Cesal, you guys are the best!!! Last but not least Alex Saputo for the continued support in keeping my head on straight. Alex you rock! I am very fortunate to have you all, what a team.
My time in Tucson was a wonderful experience, another adventure and great race memory.
Thank you also to all my friends for your support, before, during, and after.
Now it’s on to ITU Worlds duathlon Championships in Spain. Woohoo!
See you there Lisa T, Mary Rine, and Laura Bergman.
Lisa Buohler, runner/duathlete/friend.
CFT, SPN, & RRCA Run Coach.