One of the gals had just finished the Luxembourg ½ Ironman and I had recently finished the IAT 50K so we discussed, to everyone’s dismay and horror, endurance events. This is what happens when two Midwesterners get on the phone, they are really really good at jibber jabber.
A few weeks passed and Tanya and I were back and forth about something and the fact I lived in Westerly was unearthed, as someone told me Midwesterners communicate in stories, so of course there was a story of some sort. She asked if there were any tris in the area and I told her about Crabman in just a few weeks and about the Rhode Warrior Half Distance Ironman. I sent her the info and heard back in a day or so. She wasn’t ready for another half Ironman however would I be interested in a relay if she could find a runner. SURE! She didn’t want to do that much elevation gain over 58 miles and doubted she knew a biker who would be game. Oh ok. A runner was found, I talked with the RD and was able to pull all my volunteer points together to get us into the relay as the “Legal Ladies” for the low low cost of $50 (well and the other two had to stay overnight and travel in from Brewster and Brooklyn NY so it wasn’t completely cheap).
As race day approached I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I’d only briefly met Tanya and never met Karen.
Karen wouldn’t be able to make it in to do package pick up the day before. Of course this put me in a panic, what if I overslept, what if we missed the start, and so on… worry is useless, why do I bother? So I had nightmares, waste of precious sleep time.
This was the first year for the Rhode Warrior, 150 participants. I guess I was imagining chaos, there was none. Kathy Robbins would never allow such nonsense.
To quell my nerves and also to not have to fight with Vinnie’s stupid trunk I road my bike to the start, 5 miles in the dark, it was weird and it was soothing. Definitely was the right thing for me to do. In hind sight I should have worn my headlamp. Safety first!
We met at 5:30 a.m. to pick up the package. Karen is so calm and soothing, from Ohio, of course another Midwesterner, so weird how water seeks out its own level sometimes. Karen’s calmness and her boyfriend’s even calmer demeanor Tanya’s energy and well me… who knows exactly what I bring…
|Beth Tanya Karen|
Watching everyone get ready for their transitions was interesting. Quite the science! Nice to get to talk with everyone and great to see Mike B down there to see the guys off on their adventure!
Tanya was first up with the 1.2 mile swim. The swimmers had to walk down the beach to the start of the swim and it took a while for all to get gathered so they were a bit late getting started. I paced and jibber jabbered with Mark and Karen at the start. Tanya was in and out of the water in 36:03. While the current was strong and helped push her along it also was pulling her off course. The helpful advice was “Swim towards Taylor Swift’s house” COMPLETELY lost on Tanya who lives in Brewster NY. She had no idea which of the giant Watch Hill homes were Taylor’s, well she knew the yellow one was the Ocean House so not completely unaware.
|The bike course and the elevation profile|
|And she's off!!|
Photo Credit: Jana Walker
Miles 1 – 10 40 minutes
It was hard to get myself sorted out for pacing and eventually I did. It was so fun to fly across US 1, with traffic stopped for the biker. This also started the climb on a very shady beautiful road, I want to live on this road when I grow up. It isn’t as pristine as the roads leading up to it, and it isn’t very well traveled. There were a few people out cheering on the bikers. Awww so sweet. The Race Director does a great job with alerting the community.
Miles 11 – 20 41 minutes
The climb off of Tomaquog Road and on to Woodville Road. Woodville is one of those roads they put all the pot holes once they are done filling them. After you cross into Connecticut the road gets better and has fresh tar. Oh I love this stretch. At one of the crossings, again just zipping through was fun, the highlight were a couple of calves in the front yard of a farm house. There they were in all their black and white, spindly legged, calf cuteness. I said HI to them. I love to see cows and corn fields – there were PLENTY of them on this route, yippee!!
|On Pendleton Hill|
Photo Credit: Crutch
Miles 21 – 30 44 minutes
More climbing on Pendleton Hill and then Rockville. I sort of forgot about that climb on Rockville in all my fretting about Pendleton Hill. Once over that hill I could feel that it was definitely downhill from here and any further uphills would have a little downhill assist to them.
Miles 31- 40 36 minutes
Oh yes lots of downhill and some coasting. Navigating the cross over route 3 was tough, traffic was a little backed up and people were hugging the right shoulder, which was full of sand I slowed down a lot so I didn't end up tangled up with my bike on the side of the road.
Miles 41 – 50 42 minutes
At the intersection was Amanda! Flagging and waving and shouting. Oh how I needed that cheerleading and I knew she was going to be there; perfect it had been 20 miles since I saw a familiar face. THANK YOU AMANDA!
Well there was another familiar face I’d see along the course, a guy in a red shirt with a blue car with MA plates, he was a super cheerleader. I don’t know which biker he belonged to but when I’d hear that cow bell I’d wave at him, thank him and call him rock star or something equally as dorky.
Miles 51 – 58 28 minute
Oh this was nearly over, my A goal was 3:30, my B goal was 3:45, my C goal was 4:00, my D goal don’t die. I really need to add in an additional goal have fun! E goal have fun!
I thought we were turning left down Winnapaug Road, we weren't I was crushed. B goal flew out the window. Oh crap where do we turn left, here? here? here? FINALLY left on Maplewood and then on to Atlantic. Remember that headwind from the start? It was still there and I was really getting tired. Dodging cars and tourists schlepping chairs, umbrellas, coolers, and kids and with that wind I was getting a teensy bit irritable.
Finally the parking lot, then the bike in chute, then off the bike and giving Karen the timing chip and wishing her well as she went off to run a ½ marathon in the heat of the day dodging cars and tourists. Ugh. I think she had the worst leg. A two loop course the only saving grace was it was pancake flat.
|Tanya and Karen|
Love how they are still smiling!!
Tanya ran a couple miles with Karen. I cheered on the folks I knew running, Nicole, Jennifer, Bethany, and Karen. Crutch showed up to run a couple miles with Nicole and give her some moral support. Gezzz I should have thrown my running shoes in my back pack. Gazelle and 5K were done and waiting for their age group awards! Great job guys!!
Oh yeah, I finished at 3:53! For my first ever bike race and not knowing what to do I’ll take it! Strava handed me out several awards, so I worked hard for that 3:53 and I’m pleased with myself.
|Collected some nice PRs - proving to myself I worked to earn that 3:53|
NB: I've ridden all these roads at least once so the PRs are legit!
Did I have fun? Of course! There were a few demons here and there and then I remembered this was fun and chased them away, they scampered to the corners of my mind and would poke their heads around the corner from time to time. All in all it was good to see familiar faces and cheer them on and congratulate them and it was super great to get to know two people I work with and build those relationships
|Legal Ladies on the Podium placed 8th!|
Photo Credit: Mark
Beth, who really did enjoy this experience and wouldn't say no if there was another opportunity to participate in another Half Ironman (maybe a full?) relay!
|Jittery and Nervous at the start!|
Photo Credit: Mike B