||Toyota Desert Springs International
This was my 2nd year out at Lake Cahuilla. After sprints last year, this year I am going long, so chose the international distance to start out my season. The kids and I pulled in Saturday around noon. We chose to stay at the Best Western Palm Desert Resort, which was the race hotel in 07. Except for the fact that the hotel phones were on the blink, I think this was a great place to stay. Bkfast included, rooms were comfy and spacious and a nice little pool/spa area. I asked for a first floor room and we got one right next to the pool, which was great for kids. The vibe was mellow and family-oriented with more oldsters and grandparents than co-eds poolside.
My sister flew into town to meet her friends and planned to fly-by and pick up my kids Sunday after the race had started and bring them over. I slept well for 5.5 hrs then woke up early. Picked up my stuff and headed out. Only had a bagel w/me for bkfast, so I stopped at a handy minimart and picked up a friendly banana. Love that they were open at 445am!
I wasn't the only one up early, but I was the 4th person into transition which opened 15-20 min. before stated time of 530am. Calm organization prevailed everywhere. I setup, got my water bottled filled, etc etc. The music started probably around 615 or so... wondered what the neighbors were thinking! Everything on target. Heard the announcer introduce Cherie Gruenfeld and her Exceeding Expectations group of kids, and she acknowledged her success at IMAZ. I made a point of talking to her, tho being shy it was pretty much just "nice to see you", how's it going, etc... She wished me a good swim and a good race which I appreciated.
So we went off on time (8:06) and though it seemed to take forever to get to the first bouy and it WAS right into the sun, my swim went well for me. Not too much groping in the water.
In T1 I got stuck in my wetsuit and had to fight it for a few minutes (ugh... T1 4:22!)
Took off on the bike with a little stomach upset. The lake had seemed pretty nice (that fresh water is FAB). Laid off the gels taped to my bike for a bit and just focused on moving quick. The bike course is the flattest I've ever seen and while there was a little wind, it was not a big deal, I thought. Saw quite a few guys go by w/disc wheels. T2 was ok, wasn't pushing it too much.
Took off on the run and I have to say I just don't like sand running. The first 1/4 mile is sandy. My shoes were shot and I hadn't wanted to bring my new ones, so my lower calves started to hurt within the first 1/2 mile. By that time you're running around the lake either on concrete or hardpack dirt. Towards the end of the 1st loop saw my kids and sister and got a big boost from the cheering! Headed around again and boy, to me that loop just seems to last forever (3 mi around the lake). Finished 7th in my AG at 2:51:07. Takeaway: my swim IS improving, break in the new shoes and get some more speed work going!
I would recommend this race to everyone!