Monday, May 28, 2012

Back Home!

I am back home in Canada! Back home with The Nut and Mandalay -- life is truly so much better when you can grab a cat whenever you want to for a cuddle. :)

My flight arrived in Calgary at 10:00pm Friday, so I made arrangements for my Dad and I to stay at a motel -- I had to bring my bike in to Bowcycle the next morning for some serious TLC and to pick up a new helmet, new pink water bottles, and more gels.

Now before I left Cozumel, I kept joking that since I was now used to such heat and humidity, I was going to be such a cold weather weenie when I returned. Saturday morning I went for a run and was going to find out just how cold I would feel. I did have a long sleeve shirt in my luggage that I wore, but no capris or pants -- just shorts. 

I looked outside our motel room and saw bits of frost, but "bucked up" as my sister and Mom say and headed out. Oddly enough, immediately it was awesome. AWESOME. I was a little cold but man, the first word that sprung to mind was: relief . Hahahahahaah!

Everyday in Coz, the weather report would be:
  • 27 degrees Celsius
  • Relative humidity of 80%
  • Feels like 37 degrees Celsius
Did you catch that last bullet point?


And it did.  Every day.  One day after I returned from a run, one of the security guards at our condo asked me if I jump in the ocean to swim and then run back.  Because I was always literally dripping wet.  Soaking wet.

Biking was the same way -- my cycling shoes would squelch with sweat and moisture. 

Mike and I would line up our shoes outside our condo rental, until the day that I lifted up my shoes and a million bugs (and all their friends) were having a party underneath and all around my sweaty shoes.  I felt so embarrassed.  But what do you do?  Nothing dries! 

My aero bar pads REEKED.  I'd always catch a whiff of BO and it was coming from them.  And they were ALWAYS wet.  Two black sponges that were probably swimming in all kinds of bacteria.  LOL.

The gentlemen at Bowcycle were awesome on Saturday!!!!!!!!

My left aero bar had indeed snapped off, so a new set of aero bars were in order.  My brakes were toast -- my rear one would lock tight against the wheel every time I would use it, so I had stopped using it.  My brake pads were worn out -- that  was from riding in traffic.  Stop and go, stop and go.  The last week in Cozumel, I just prayed the duct tape and avoiding shifting too much and braking would hold the bike together.  LMAO!

And I bought a new helmet too -- my old one had a crack in it and was bleached out by the sun.  It was yellow at one time, but now looks like something that you'd find in a garbage dump.

Same as my water bottles -- MAN!  The conditions are so harsh that it just destroys stuff.  The ink on my water bottles actually melted off.  MELTED off!  Like, how in the world is that even possible?  The ink came off in my hands!  The salt in the air, the scorching hot sun, the humidity -- it really kicks the crap out of clothing and equipment.

Speaking of clothing....

I am now a size small.  I have FOREVER been a size medium, but no more.   Unfortunately this means all my shorts are too big on me now.  My spandex shorts are baggy.  My race kit -- everything is too big on me now.  And when they get wet with sweat they hang off me.  And then the chafing/saddle sores begin.  So, I need new clothes!  My butt is smaller!!!!!!!!!!!!  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I did try on a pair of Tyr tri shorts at Bowcycle on Saturday and while they felt amazing on, they looked absolutely terrible.  I could see my underwear THROUGH the front part!!  Quite clearly.  That's always a nice touch, eh?   No thanks.  $70 for a peep show -- and a gross one at that.  If you buy those shorts you better shave, and even if you do, if you have a freckle, the world will see it. 

Seriously, do these companies have a quality control department or a common sense department? 

It is great to be back home but I can't lie, Cozumel feels like home to me as well!  Mike and I made so many good friends there and it's just like a small town.  Just the way I like to roll.  We even started looking at property down there. 

I love Cozumel!  :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Swim With Whale Shark Adventure

What Mike and I did on Wednesday May 23! YAY for the whale sharks! :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

2012 Hacienda Tres Rios Sprint Tri Race Report

The original plan was to return home at the end of April...but the way things turned out, Mike and I are able to stay for the month of May too!

Now here comes my deep dark confession...there was a part of me that wanted to go home because I didn't want to miss a local race on May 13.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I was seriously wanting to go back to the cold, the snow, the trainer just because I had a race on the calendar!

I know how absurd that sounds, but I really, really, really wanted to race.  Like frothing at the mouth, kind of deal.  Well, given the opportunity to stay for another month in Cozumel or return home, common sense prevailed (hahaha!) and it was soon after that I learned of another race that would be taking place on May 13 in Playa Del Carmen.  YAHOO!  I could still race AND train in the heat and awesomeness that is Cozumel!!  YAY!

Fast forward to race day...

My Mom came to visit us for 10 days and as the race was going to occur on Mother's Day (in Mexico, Mother's Day was celebrated a few days earlier) I wanted to make it special for my Mom.  She had never been to Mexico and still harboured many doubts and fears about it.  Like:
  • You will get Hepatitis A from walking on the beach and drinking water from a restaurant.
  • Drug lords are on every corner eye-balling new tourists and then gunning them down.
  • Tourists are raped, beaten, and killed on a regular basis.
  • And more crap like this.
I find it ironic that people who spout off this kind of drivel have never actually BEEN to Mexico, and would be the first to point out how *ignorant* tourists are when they think all Canadians live in igloos, own dog-sleds, and might know Bob in Toronto.

Like everything in life, those who speak the loudest most often KNOW the least.

Rant over.  (lol.)

Thus, I booked us two nights accommodation at an all-inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen.  My Mom had never been to one before -- and I was looking forward to the wondrous and copious amounts of food I could eat FOR FREE and not have to clean dishes afterwards!  :) :)

At Riu Lupita resort right before dinner.  Happy Mother's Day Mom!!

To get to Playa Del Carmen, we took the ferry over and then found a cab.  I popped off the front wheel of my bike and put the bike in the back seat and crawled in the back with it, while my Mom got in the front.  lol.

Racing in another country where English is not the first language is a unique experience.  Add different cultural norms into the mix, and the result can be quite funny!  When I went to rack my bike in transition the day before the race, I discovered that I had to wear my helmet while I was in transition.  With the strap closed too.  Hahaha!  This carried over to race day too -- when I went to pump up my tires, I was stopped by an official and made to put my helmet on (and close the clasp!)  LMAO  -- that was a first, pumping my tires up in the dark with my helmet on.  :)

It got tricky when I left transition to head down to the swim start -- how do I leave transition without wearing my helmet?  I need to leave it on my bike...I had to explain to a couple of officials and then I was good to go.  :)

Ok -- enough blather, let's get to the race deets!!!

My poor bike is taking a beating training in the salty-humid air here.  Stuff is rusting out and things are falling apart!  The most recent casualty is my aero bars.  The right one.  It started wobbling and bouncing before the race.  Took it to a local bike guy and he did what he could...then it started bouncing again.  So, I took out my trusty roll of duct tape and here is what I came up with.  Hey it works.  lol.   I felt like I had to apologize to everyone for having duct tape on my Cervelo -- I was embarrassed.  Hahahaha!

How to duct tape a Cervelo.
The swim was absolutely epic!  For a 750m swim, it was the gnarliest, coolest swim I have participated in yet!!  It was absolutely brutal!  The race course is designed so you swim out in the ocean, then turn around and come back and enter a little river that winds through the resort (not the resort we stayed at -- this one was very $$$$ like $750 a night!!)  The key here is the river EMPTIES into the ocean.  All the water is dumping out into the ocean and you are trying to swim into it.  LOL.  I swam a portion of it before the race start and realized this was going to be EPIC.

We started on the beach -- all the men left about 5 min before us, and then it was our turn.  You run out and then swim straight out to a buoy.  When you turn around, is where it gets interesting and fun!

The current is crazy!  CRAZY!  Before I reached the turn around buoy, I saw a head on collision as one woman swam  (in the wrong direction) directly into a swimmer beside me.  Well, when I made the turn around, I immediately saw I was swimming in the middle of oncoming traffic too!  HOLY CRAP!  lol. She wasn't swimming in the wrong direction, she was just trying to swim back!

I made my way through the water and started picking off green capped women and started catching some men too.  Then it happened.


I have never swam in one of those Endless Pools before, but I can honestly say I know what it feels like!  It was so weird!  The water suddenly grew very shallow -- BUT... it wasn't shallow enough to run, and it wasn't deep enough to dolphin dive.  (Think belly flop in sand.)  And swimming just made you go nowhere!  LMAO.  It was so funny, at one point there was a woman beside me and  we were trying all different kinds of maneuvers to move forward.  I dolphin-dived, she ran, then I swam, she dolphin-dived, and despite all these tactics we moved at the same snail's pace.  Hahahahaha -- so awesome!

Finally I got through the mouth of the river and then swam through the resort.  It was spectacular -- the visibility was incredible and there are trees and branches sticking out alongside and under the water.  Rugged and beautiful.

 We had to climb up these steps to get out of the river, but the only thing was, the lowest step was almost at the surface of the water.  Not like in a pool, where you just climb out.  It was awkward but hilarious -- I had so much fun in that swim.  :)

Seriously, the longest T1 I have done so far.  I don't know how far I ran with my bike.  It was so funny, at one point, I thought we would run the full 1km or so to the highway. LOL.
Fast and awesome.  Racing in a tropical climate is very, very different than racing at home.  For example, for a sprint at home, I might have no water or food for the event.  Here however, I went through water and even downed a GU while on my bike!  In a sprint if you can believe it!  The bike was where I made up my time.  Passed lots and lots of guys.  If any of you have been to Mexico, you are familiar with the speed bumps.  These suckers come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are big metal things that jut out, some are depressions, some are like rumble strips.  I took them all at full frigging speed.  lol -- hey it's a race isn't it?  LMAO! (This may/may not have had something to do with my handlebars going one way and my front wheel another at the end of the race when I thought I was swerving because I had a flat...) I believe I had the fastest female bike split but I am not 100% sure...

I run with my bike shoes on.  Don't bug me.  :)
The long run again.  LOL -- People were waving flags and I wasn't sure where the dismount line was, so I think I dismounted too early.  lol.  Oh well -- there were a couple of times on the bike where I squealed my brakes because I was unsure where I was going and was shouting out for directions.  lol.  One was the first set of metal speed bumps, the 2nd time was the during the return portion of the bike, I didn't know when/where/if I should cross over to return to T2.  A lone English-speaking spectator yelled out directions though -- LOL!!

Oh man, it was so unbelievably hot and humid.  The temp was 36 degrees Celsius with a relative humidity of 80%.  It felt like 41+ degrees.  Unreal!  I have never needed so much water in a sprint as I did at this race!  It was like a hot IM race -- surviving until the next aid station.

And the way they dispensed water was awesome!  You know if you go to the pet store and buy a goldfish?   You get a little baggie with a knot tied at the top?  That is what we got.  At first I was like, "Wtf am I supposed to do with this?"  But surprisingly, I found them much easier to drink out of than the usual cups!  I am not kidding!  I would tear a hole in the side of the bag and drink through it -- no inhaled water, no splashing.  It was so weird -- I would have thought it would be more difficult to drink out of a baggie you have to poke your fingers through, but no way!  It's the best!  :D

The aftermath
Weirdness here.  Apparently a woman in my age group cheated and then was arguing with a race official about it afterward.  Two other women came up to me and explained that they were going to set things straight, that they both said I won my age group.  So weird and strange!  It wasn't until the next day, that I learned I was 3rd female overall too, but during the awards, they never called me up.  :(  The first place woman got a bottle of champagne and then popped it and sprayed it everywhere -- it was pretty awesome.   There was some other odd stuff too -- a woman came up to me and kept telling me she passed me on the run.  I told her that I didn't remember that, that she did not pass me.  And the timing chip results certainly don't show it -- so very weird.  It's a frigging SPRINT people!  It was just such an odd thing for people to be cheating!  I've never experienced this before!  It went on and on too -- apparently men were clocking 12 minute 5km times.  lmao.  Hmmm -- somebody only did one loop of the run!  lol.  Very weird.


The COOL aftermath
My new friend Christi was heartbroken that her timing chip was removed after she completed the swim.  Although she completed the swim, she did not make the cut off time.  And it was her very first triathlon too.  :(  I am so proud of her finishing that swim though!! And I teased her about choosing the most difficult swim possible for her very first tri.  LOL.

One of the race organizers, Eileen (THANK YOU!! You are the best, Eileen!) found my Mom and escorted her to the finish line!  How amazing is that?  Eileen also answered my frantic pre-race email inquires. Heh-heh -- she was everywhere at once that day, and she kept a cool head about everything too.  Congratulations on a well-run event!  I had an amazing time and that course is a tough nut of a race!  Whoever thinks a sprint can't hurt, has to do this one!  lol!!

Another friend, Dailene (owner of Cabrilla's - triathlon and fishing shop in Cozumel) came out to support Christi that day. Dailene's sense of humour, positive presence, and selfless generosity is something to behold.  She's one of those people that inspire you to become a better person you know?  :) :)