Challenge Roth: a spectators race report

An opportunity was posted on the Tri Club San Diego mailing list for a writing audition, where the winner would be featured in a major film documentary about triathlon.  This is only for those who never done a 140.6 iron distance race.  I thought I’d pass this on to my wife Bessy, whose hobby is writing, as a nice little challenge test for her to hopefully just be considered.  She took it further than just consideration, as she won the free entry and took on the challenge of the race – Challenge Roth in Germany.  She thought great, plenty of time to get ready for the race next year in 2015… only to get an email back saying it is to be done in 2014, giving her only 8 weeks to train!  Jumping into it, zero to sixty (she took a break after the Boston Marathon) for the training load in no time.  We booked the flight which at last minute was pricey (and we still have to pay to ship the bike), but to save money would rent a mini van and camp in it on the race site.

camp out in mini van

This totalled $5000 for the both of us, which hurts our wallets pretty bad, but you must understand the magnitude of this race in particular as it is the Kona equivalent for Europeans.  Another incentive is that she is being filmed by the same people who made the movies “Spirit of the Marathon” 1 & 2 that was released in theaters nationwide.  The triathlon version is to follow Bessy, Mirinda Carfrae (2 time female Kona champion), Luke McKenzie (2013 2nd place at Kona overall), and Rudy the double amputee from Challenged Athletes Foundation.  I am sure you get the “big picture” now.

Para Olympic athlete Rudy Garcia

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Inaugural “UnOfficial Man” Report

What started as a race-simulation for my upcoming iron distance race… With 2 weeks of coordinating with Thao Vu & Roger, this plan became “UnOfficial Man”:  a free 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 run  on dedicated bike/pedestrian paths split into various combination options open to all ages.

course-sag

  • 25 people registered to participate in combos of the disciplines
  • a finish clock
  • SS Program Guide (do just one part or, 70.3: 2 loops, 140.6: 4 loops
  • catered dinner after
  • a mini documentary of the transition area and finish line.

What did I learn?

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A couple of coaches

“You are not my coach!” rings in my ears from her.  Officially I am not, but I can’t hold back the urge to give advice because I went through the suffering she is going through or about to endure.  The intention is to protect her because results only come from suffering in this sport which just leads to burn out where one does not want to participate anymore.  Since it keeps our minds and bodies in sync via the lifestyle, which includes eating habits, sleep and other routines – when we train and race together.  Yes, I probably do cross the line when I lay a guilt trip on her for sub-par performance, missed workouts, or sleeping in – because I know this affects our time together.

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Unwritten Rules of the Road

Bessy is training for something big. One classic workout for determining fitness is a 100-mile ride with 3 mile at pace run after; helps check-off skills needed like nutrition, climbing & descending calmly, road awareness, tire changing, and more.

6am with our race bikes we ride 25 miles to the Triathlon Club of San Diego’s Saturday Del Mar Starbucks ride. We get there with time to spare, and roll with the A group which had some elite Swiss female athletes riding.  Unfortunately Bessy has to be in work by 12, so we break off and head down to a route we know we can finish within time. Bessy gets a flat, and we lose time. Unwritten rule 1) Since flat tires cost time from your workout plan, considering rarely you burn as many calories per mile on a bike as a run, if you have extra time to run instead of biking, do it. On average every run mile you burn 100 calories, while you need 4 bike miles to match that.

After 44 miles a quick pit stop at Girard Gourmet, which has cinnamon pecan rolls which pair well with smoked salmon.

Roll out for another 16  where things change.  Bessy strays away on a different route, yet we are on path to the same meeting place.  Time is running short for her so she has to bail at a total of 60 but still ran 3 to work.  As for me, I am going through a green light when all of a sudden this guy makes a LEFT on RED, right into me.  Boom, there goes my bike, I am ok. I stop my Garmin, cause that shit is important yo.

My bike is a goner with the gears and derailers smashed in, wheels bent beyond what a truing can do.  I was just 4 miles from home!  So getting home and finishing the workout is still on my mind.  Many witnesses were there to see the accident.  Someone calls 911, as he is handing me insurance his hand is shaking.  I am just glad he stopped, typically in San Diego it is a hit and run.  He states he is willing to pay for the bike….  Well the damage is so much a new one (of similar value) will be needed, otherwise lawyers, insurance and police would lead to a bigger mess for him, and long wait for a new bike for me (albeit, one 3x the value) – I didn’t want to wait and just wanted to get home and finish my workout!  We negotiated he will buy me a new bike, and we were not to far from Moment Cycle Sport.  While others may look to this as fortune I rather would have kept my old bike – I built it myself, road from San Diego to San Francisco in 4.5 days, etc.

Kestrel Talon road bike modded to tri bike.
Well, at least it matches my new fearless kit. Felt B16

So I get the bike, shake the guys hand and thank him for not running, and ride home.  I had left our car at the dealer to get it repaired for smog, so I still had 30 miles to go. I switch to my beater bike, cause I don’t want to risk it again. This brings me to unwritten rule #2) don’t use your race bike in urban areas!  I ride up, and another busy area where I plan to go straight, next to me a right turn only lane. It is red… yet again an incident!  This guy doesn’t even stop and does a wide turn (I am on the left to continue straight, all legal) and he runs over my foot!  It wasn’t that bad, I just continued on with adrenaline still flowing. I get to the dealer, do a quick 5k run to match a previous workout I did for my HITS Lake Havasue 140.6 Iron distance test, where I beat it by 10 minutes!

I drive down to pick up the shambles of my bike, and what luck I am pulled over cause my license plate registration sticker fell off.

Ticket happy police

I get home though, to find a letter for Bessy, that she is receiving a check, where she beat a stop sign violation ticket on her bike.  The officer failed to cite her correctly and did not have proof, and she won via trial by mail stating the facts. Unwritten rule #3: a bicycle stop-sign violation can be vague, especially in San Diego.  There is no rule stating to put your foot down, nor the amount of time be stopped.  Just that you come to a complete full stop, then again that is the officer’s discretion.  But if you have a deadlier object, such as a car, it takes more effort to stop. That’s why speed limits on bike-share roads are so important to keep low.  Driving a car is a privilege, not a right – although human movement is a right.

What a day of ups and downs, and time for me to lay down, 2.5 mile ocean swim on the agenda tomorrow, 0 bikes!

Newlyweds who are bonding as they get older by pushing themselves to new limits

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