Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eppie's Great Race 2008

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Eppie's isn't your average triathlon, but it's a heck of a lot of fun. It includes a 5.82 miles run, 12.5 mile bike ride on the American River Bike Trail, and 6.5 mile paddle down the American River benefiting Sacramento County Therapeutic Recreation Services. Everyone from the most hardcore athlete down to your neighbor next door who has a bike or kayak competes. This year there were over a thousand teams, with over 2000 people competing in team, iron-person, corporate, fire/police, kids and adaptive divisions. It's a big deal here in Sac Town.

This was my second year sponsored by California Canoe and Kayak. Last year we won the open women's division and wanted to defend our title. This year we added a new fast runner, Karen Jeffers, to our already strong team. I had great faith in our paddler Elaine Baden, who is one of the best female open water paddlers in the Bay Area.

2007 Podium

I touched bases with Karen in the morning about 7:00 and warmed up on the way down to Sac State were the bikes were staged. I know the bike trail like the back of my hand, so I knew exactly what was coming. I chatted with Linda Elgart and some other River Ride peeps, until we heard the news helicopter coming. My heart rate jumped up to 100 bpm and palms started to sweat, even though I knew it would take a while for Karen to get to me. The fastest runners started coming down for hand-offs and Karen was one of the first women in. They told her to go down the wrong chute, but she lept like a gazelle over the barrier and pushed me off in my ungraceful not-a-triathlete-or-cross-racer mount.

Karen of the River City Rebels

Thank God I started doing intervals over the Winter, so I knew a little better how to pace my self. I did some 2x20's, so I figured this would only be about 10 more minutes of pain. Unlike most time trials, you are allowed to draft and I quickly hooked up with some serious triathletes in full aero gear (unlike myself). They were flying along between 24-27 mph. I could only hang with that for so long, and popped off near a footbridge over the river. I blew a kiss to the parents when I passed and settled into my pace. My fast friend Suz caught me and we traded drafts for a bit. She flatted and I was solo again in the pain cave. I averaged 236 watts/174 bpm heart rate, which I was really happy about, knowing that I that's about where my threshold is. I averaged about 22mph-- about the same as last year.

I reached the Kayak point and handed my bike off to a volunteer, running down towards the river in my look cleats, ack! I was hoping not to fall flat on my face in front of the hundreds of spectators. Elaine was easy to spot in her Dalmatian Ear helmet. I breathed a sigh of relief and ride back with a group of cycling buddies to the finish.

I got back to the finish just in time to see Elaine come in. Our team was interviewed by the local news and we dedicated our finish to my Dad, who went through heart bypass surgery in March and is turning 65 on the 24th. I made it in a little sound byte that made it sound like I trained 20 hours a week just for Eppie's (not). Oh my... let's just hope they don't repeat that one over and over.

The Results?:

1st Overall Open Women's
Karen Jeffers, Katie Norton (Velo Bella) and Elaine Baden
Time- 1:52 (very few teams made it under 2:00)
26th overall out of over a 1000 teams

The second team of much younger women (we are all 35+) came in 23 minutes behind us! We smoked' em! Tee hee! My boyfriend Dino also hit the podium again with a 3rd place on the Co-ed team division. I'm hooked and if the sponsorship holds I'll be there again next year.

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