Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Teva Games Tale

The Teva Games is probably one of my favorite events of the year with a multitude of outdoor events, races and entertainment. In addition, the weekend attracts top notch athletes in every event. This year I did the Ultimate Mountain Challenge consisting of kayaking, mountain biking, trail running and an uphill road bike time trial all within about 30 hours. I went into the weekend knowing the women I was racing against, Sari Anderson and Gretchen Reeves are World Class athletes and it would be a hard weekend.

I also went into the weekend taking some icky drugs, something I'm not a fan of. In early May I had an unfortunate encounter with poison ivy. After three weeks of itching and seeing new spots of very attractive rashes appear all over I broke down and went to the doctor the week leading up to Teva. I learned I had systemic poison ivy and was given some meds to clear it up. Despite feeling odd from these lovely pills I was still excited to test myself mentally and physically.

We headed up to Vail on Friday so I could learn to kayak before the race on Saturday. Yep, you read that correctly, I had never been in whitewater, unless you count tubing in Boulder Creek. This was the perfect year for me to make my first attempt at kayaking because the water levels were very low. A huge thanks to Travis Macy who gave me a quick 10 minute lesson in the pond before I plunked my rented sit-top kayak into Gore Creek for my first ever whitewater kayaking experience. I made it down the 3 mile stretch of river and while I’m sure I was easily identified as a novice I loved it, even when I flipped off my kayak once. Overcoming a fear of doing something always leaves a smile on my face. Saturday morning I had no expectations for my time in the kayak portion. My mission was “be safe and don’t flip”. I achieved the first part of my mission but not the second. I flipped out in almost the same place I did during my practice run but again made it to the finish with a smile on my face. 


Mountain Bike
About 2 hours after I finished the kayak it was time to mountain bike. For the first time ever the UMC athletes got our own start 2 minutes behind the Pro Women. The kayak didn’t make me cold but drained me in a way that I had never experienced. The combination of using different muscles and the excessive adrenaline that was pumping through my system before the kayak left me feeling flat. This was evident from the start when I simply could not hang with Gretchen and Sari. Turns out they were indeed flying and would have placed 5th and 6th in the pro race, which was a stacked field with the likes of Georgia Gould and Heather Irmiger. I simply focused on trying to be steady and catch some pro women (which I did) and not crash with my noodle arms.

The 7.5 mile 10K
Sunday I was faced with a run and uphill time trial. I was excited for the run even though it is without question on of the hardest 10K races out there. If you don't believe me I challenge you to do it. I figured I could bring back some time I lost in the kayak and mountain bike on Saturday. This year it turned out to be 7.5 miles which was about 3 miles too long for me on the day. I started out strong and had the goal of keeping the top 3 women in my sight. Until just after mile 3 I was able to see the top 3 women and was within striking distance of 3rd place. My body decided that was enough and essentially turned off. It was not fun to have to walk a bit but I am proud that I kept pressing forward and ended up still finishing 8th overall.

Time Trial
After grabbing some food and sitting down just long enough for my body to try to shut off I had to saddle up and psych up to race 10 miles up Vail Pass.  Since I don’t own a road bike my Specialized Crux cross bike with super light NoTubes wheels was my weapon of choice…no aero bars, no aero helmet, just me and my bike.  I finished the time trial with the 16th fastest time among all women and  2nd among the UMC women.

A little press time with Sari

I ended up finishing 3rd in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge behind two humble supportive competitors. To say I was tired would be an understatement and to top off my draining weekend I woke up Monday morning with a cold that has been hanging on for the last 10 days. A little cold won’t scare me off from coming back to the Ultimate Mountain Challenge in the future.
Telling Larry "I don't know where they are" in regards to Sari and Gretchen. They showed up a bit later after we left. Next time we'll get all of us on the podium at once.

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