Amazing! Three races in a row with close to freezing rain in the Pacific Northwest’s late spring.
Waking up to 39 degree temperatures with the kind of rain coming down that soaks you just walking to the car forces you to find the joy in racing a triathlon. You remind yourself that you love challenges!
This is one of the best triathlons in the world and being a short 5 hours drive from Boise makes it a regular on my schedule. This year with my wife being almost at full term and unable to travel I asked my mom if she wanted to go. It was rewarding to spend some 1 on 1 time with mom as we don’t get to do that much anymore. She is awesome with her support!
We almost missed the race though. Using a GPS for directions we traveled on dirt roads to the wrong side of the lake. My poor mom is driving way faster than her comfort level; for a bit I thought we might totally miss the start of the race because we were pretty lost. We finally arrive at T2 at 8:55am for the 9am start. Then, find out the start has been delayed until 10am due to the weather. The bike course had up to four inches of snow on it! They were forced to change the most beautiful course to the Olympic 28 mile route. Still a wonderful course, but it’s hard to compete with the 58 mile route that circumnavigates the volcano with a snow packed summit and several mountain lakes.
After just doing the Ironman Boise 70.3 in similar conditions, we seriously talked about wearing a wetsuit on the bike. Then, the rain stopped! Still close to freezing a little bit of sun made all the difference. The swim started and I enjoyed the scenery (fresh snow in the mountains) while keeping warm with a solid effort. With the sun beaming down on my black wetsuit you could almost be tricked into thinking it was hot outside. Running into T2 I almost thought that I would not need the thermal vest and gloves that were draped over my bike. Then, I though better of it. Thank goodness! All though I was able to stay out of the rain while on the bike, my feet and hands were pretty numb. The thermal vest certainly helped maintain my core temperature and allow me to enjoy the bike course for the beautiful ride that it is. My hands started getting too cold after a few miles on the bike and pulling out the gloves was a remedy that put the smile back on my face.
Once off the bike and onto the run the cool temperatures felt perfect. The kind of running weather you love to just go and go and go in. That is, until about mile 8 when a squall blew in with winds that had me running in place and hail that chilled my hands. You almost had to laugh, my feet had just warmed up and now my hands were freezing. The storm was short and the blue skies that immerged made the green landscape even more stunning. Running next to the Deschutes River I couldn’t help but appreciate the green scene with the sun soaking up all the rain drops. A bald eagle perched high in a tree seemed to be marveling at the beauty as well. I found new speed and ran with the flow we all seek. The finish came too soon? I never say that, but this race and its nature has a strong allure, I didn’t want it to stop. Not to say my legs would agree…they were spent. Stopping allowed me to enjoy the victory and repeating as the Pacific Crest 2012 Champion!