Rocky Point Triathlon, Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. 13th April 2002 (Swim 1500m, Bike 40km, Run 10km)
Ever since this race started and I had been training in Tucson, I had always been encouraged to take part. In 2000 I did and it was a blast. Now I’m hooked – it’s a must do for me as well…one of the highlights is the beer truck at the finish. Mexican food ROCKS!! There are usually around 600 people taking part in the Triathlon and another 400 in the sprint triathlon and 10k run.
The swim is gorgeous and perfectly clear water with shoals of fish and nice and warm. The bike is flat and hot and always a big headwind on the way home. The run is hot hot and up the rocky outcrop where the lighthouse is. This year I was in a new age group, though, big deal I thought, as my best place had been 6th in my Age Group last year, so far. I travelled down with my friends Jeanne Anne, Rob and Rebecca…all seasoned winners of prizes here….so much so that I remember being the only person at our dinner table without a prize. Still, I would not concede defeat of my lifetime ambition to win a prize, just one Third Place, in a race 6,000 miles from home, while racing with my friends and in a race organised by my friends. The carved wooden trophies were just so…well you can’t describe how much a trophy can mean until you win one.
I had an ok swim no real problems…I swam as usual at the back, but it is such a beautiful swim compared to the rest of my races…I just can’t complain…managed to draft a bit (all the men 30-49 were off in the last wave with me) and tried to glide..cut into shore sharply left after the last buoy as it has always been difficult to get to shore in the past (the last 50 yards into shore…feels like you’ll never make it) and it seems worse the closer you get to the rocks in front of the hotel on the right. Time was 26-30 as I stood up which I was reasonably happy with considering my recent swim form and anyway with the tide coming in I’m sure the distance is always up for debate.
I have only training wheels here, so poor me I’m disadvantaged…but I give it my all – jumped on the bike and just hammered and hammered…my heart rate was high and I was flying (we rode an hour easy on Friday morning, the day before the race!) and at 3 miles I wondered if I could keep the effort up (I knew I couldn’t!!) as my body tells me that it is going to die if I keep this pace up, so I ease back to the red line. I have dropped the angle of my tri bars to level or just below level and it still feels fine..but gets my head down a bit more. I can’t remember coming out of the aero position and was passing people in droves..no-one that passed me stayed in front of me. Windy as usual on the way back into town but not as bad as last year …it’s hard though on training wheels which are 1-2 mins slower than my race ones. It was hot (the sun was beating down) and the sweat was pouring off me..probably in the high 80’s in the shade.
My wave is always last so I get to play pass-the-cyclist for 25 miles. I love racing in warm countries, it’s so nice!
Throw the bike on the rack and slip into race shoes (with elastic laces) as fast as I can… no time to dawdle and exit out onto the run as fast as I can.
Saw Rebecca as I ran into transition (she was running out) and transitted really fast. I saw 1-39 on my watch as I exited which meant if I ran under 44 mins for the 10k I would beat last year’s time which should have been no problem (I ran just under 41 mins last year). Of course I had no idea what position I was in..I just thought about runnning hard and catching Rebecca. After the uphill bit (UGH!) I nearly caught Rebecca but when I reached the top I had to ease back as I was tiring…I see Rebecca again as I head to the turnround in the sand…we high five as I sense she is running strong and I’m not closing her down any more… I see Rob cruising at speed and focussed as usual. I’m unsure of the run course changes and it appears I’ve followed last year’s course and then a new out-and-back but I follow everyone else…as I realise it’s going to be a long long run in to the finish…though I was still passing people. I knew I was way slower than last year but also knew that the course we had run was waaaaaay long. I start feeling tired as I realise the run is over a mile longer than I expected. I try to catch some of the guys in front of me as I near the finish and then it’s over. Didn’t think I could sprint finish as I was so tired but I did and held off somebody the crowd was cheering for behind me. Had to sit on my haunches at the finish as I was drained…a 49 min run without water…then I took a cold coke and grabbed a handful of ice and stood with the ice pressed against the back of my neck. Not nearly as hot as 3 years ago, but hot enough when I’ve only been here just over 2 weeks (it was 95 when we got back to Tucson!!). Now where IS that beer truck? Had a few beers or 5 but they weren’t very cold.
Mmmmmmmmmmm ice cold Tecate beer…what an awesome sponsor as I quench my thirst with their product…and of course it takes the pain away too I meet Rob who says Jeanne Anne won the women’s race and he thinks he was second. Rebecca has not been feeling well for 2 days and she sounds like it wasn’t a fun race for her.
After some lovely fatty food, we go to the dinner and award ceremony where as we go in, we check out the results. Rob is 2nd in his age group as is Rebecca in hers. I appear 3rd in mine, but dismiss it saying that the results are only provisional. When my age group winners are called, someone else is named in 3rd Place….I resign myself to being close…but then Jonathon announces my name in Second Place…I can’t believe it and I WHOOP with delight (embarrassing my friends) and am so excited and proud. I DID IT. And not 3rd place….I got 2nd. As I receive my prize Jonathon shakes my hand and tells everyone that I am the farthest travelled athlete, coming all the way from Scotland to take part in the race each year (there were 1300 in the tri, sprint tri and 10k). As I walk back to our table, someone asks me my time and says well done. I put my trophy on the table with the other 3 we have. We had a table full of trophies at the end and people walking past said ‘Check that table!!’. Words cannot describe how proud I feel, for just once in my life to win something and now I feel part of the group. There are so many great triathletes in Tucson, it is nice to be able to say I got a prize.
I had tears in my eyes when we returned home the next day and my cell phone picked up a signal outside Tucson and I sent a text to my brother saying ‘I got Second Place in my Age Group. Coming home with a trophy!’ I think to myself that sometimes all the training and sacrifices does have its rewards and since I am currently unemployed, it is even sweeter. I could have stayed home and looked for work and look what I would have missed. Santiago would understand. I have my swordfish in pride of place in my house.