Hello from St. Croix!
Yesterday morning, I had my best race ever in St. Croix! I finished 2nd place behind Mirinda Carfrae from Australia – winner of the Nice Triathlon and top finisher at many ITU World Cups. Joanna Zeiger, 4-time winner here at St. Croix finished 3rd.
Originally, I had planned to race Wildflower on Saturday May 6th, but I was privileged to be the keynote speaker at the Subaru National Dealer Meeting on Thursday May 4th. Dave and I decided that flying to Wildflower in California and arriving the day before the race was not the best preparation for a race that I had never done before and so I switched races.
I arrived in St. Croix late Friday afternoon for the Sunday race date. It was a tight turnaround between arriving and racing, but it would only be “tough” if I believed it would be “tough” and so I quickly dispelled any sentiment that I was arriving too late. After all, I knew the race course and racing hard is instinctive for me. Upon landing, I quickly put my bike together and rode for 20 minutes – I felt as if I had been here for weeks! It is all in the mind.
I spent Saturday preparing mentally for the race. I drove the course and rode down a few of the significant descents. I am very tentative on downhill curves and corners and I have been working very hard at improving in this area. Last year, I had been pathetic on my descending and I was determined not to lose this race on technical skills.
Race morning was overcast and grey which to many, would be ideal for racing. I love racing in the heat and sun I kept hoping that the skies would clear and heat up the course. I figured that the women to beat would be Joanna and Mirinda and of course, you can never count out one of the world’s best, Karen Smyers who has won this race several times. I had never raced Mirinda before, but I knew that to challenge Joanna I would have to have a better swim and be more aggressive on the bike. I managed to do both. I had a descent swim in the choppy waters and exited less than 5 minutes behind Joanna whereas last year, I was 6 or 7 minutes behind. Off onto the bike, I felt quite strong but this course isn’t a rhythm course at all – you ride hard, brake, corner, ride hard, climb, descend and in my case, brake around the corners again. But I did a much better job descending than I had done last year – in fact, I was even scaring myself going around those corners as fast as I did! I knew that no matter what my finishing position was, I had ‘won’ this race because I had accomplished a huge goal of riding better technically than ever before – I still wasn’t cornering like Lance Armstrong but I was cornering at least as fast as my dare devil 5-year old nephew Braedan, so that was good!!
I actually had the 2nd fastest bike split of the day which is amazing for me on a course like this which doesn’t play to my strengths. I got off the bike in 3rd place about 3 to 4 minutes behind Joanna and about 8 minutes behind Mirinda.
I ran as hard as I could run – I love to go fast – and I caught Joanna at about 4.5 miles into the run. Mirinda was having an amazing run and I wasn’t gaining on her at all. I was not discouraged at all about that – racing is about personal excellence and about execution. I ran hard because I wanted to have the best race I could possibly have. Success isn’t all about the finishing position – it is about the effort, the pace and the pleasure of the race.
Mirinda won the race and broke the course record by 7 minutes! I finished second and was 2 minutes off of the breaking the course record. I had had my best bike ride ever in St. Croix and I ran within 3 seconds of my time last year when I set the run course record (which Mirinda now owns!) Joanna rounded out the top three women. Karen was amazing in 4th place – she is the mother of two children, she has battled cancer and injuries – she is one of the best role models our sport has to offer.
St. Croix was a total success. And now, it is onward to the Florida 70.3 event on May 21st. Thank you for your support! Stay healthy!