After the Dallas race, I was back to the non-drafting format and back in the hunt for points to qualify me for Hy-Vee at the New Orleans 5150 tri.
Although it was a relatively small field, it was still a stacked one and I knew I’d be challenged by these girls out on the course.
In the swim, the most of the group stuck together throughout and we exited within seconds of each other. After about a half mile run to transition, we hopped on our bikes to start the bike portion of the race.
In past years, the New Orleans bike course had been traditionally flat, but this year to change things up a bit, race organizers decided to add in a bridge that the athletes would cross over 4 times on the 2 lap bike course. I feel like I was able to get in a good rhythm on the bike and keep some of the top girls in my sights. Then, when I was about 1.5 miles out from the bike finish, I hit a bump and all of the sudden my chain was jammed and wouldn’t move. Although admittedly mechanically challenged, I knew that I should check my derailleur, try to switch into a different gear, etc. to see if that would help. It turns out a couple of bolts in my chain ring popped off, and I was unable to get my pedals to turn over. Therefore, I had to sit and wait for the sag wagon to come get me and take me back to the finish line. After my DNF, I was pretty bummed since I felt like I had a good race going and knew I wasn’t going to get any points. I decided not to get too down on myself and was able to enjoy a beautiful long run along the coast before I left the venue.
Because of the DNF and no points, I knew that the Boulder Peak race was really my last chance to gather any points for Hy-Vee. I was really looking forward to racing at home because that meant I didn’t have to deal with flying and I got to sleep in own bed. Also, I knew this course like the back of my hand and was eager to see what I could do on it. Furthermore, I knew that a lot of people I train with would be out there racing as well and I was excited to see them race.
The Friday before the Sunday race, I woke up coughing and sneezing and with a sore throat. I decided to take a day off and try to rest up and recover from my bug. On Saturday, I felt a little better and was able to do my usual short pre-race warmups, although they wore me out a bit. I decided I would make a decision when I woke up Sunday as to whether I’d race or not. When I woke up, my sore throat was gone but I was still congested. I decided I’d give it a go and hoped by blowing my nose a gazillion times it would somehow clear up. I started the race feeling ok and was able to have a decent swim, exiting the water as the 3rd pro woman.
Onto the bike, I immediately felt congested and tried to take some deep breaths and keep a rhythm going. By the time I got to the steep hill in the course at Olde Stage, my throat was starting to clog up too and I could barely breathe. So, the cliff’s notes version of the rest of my bike is that it was more like a Sunday stroll than a race as I struggled through to the bike finish. Still hoping to get some points, I also struggled through the run and to the finish. It was very disappointing to have to race sick in front of the hometown crowd. However, I feel very blessed to have had my family, friends, and sponsors at Sklar Exploration out there to support me. Note to self: Racing sick is never a good idea, hometown race or not!!