After a LOT of go go go, driving for over 15 hours this weekend, playing a complete no bar girlpocalypse set, doing my last Xterra triathlon (16.5 miles; 0.5 mile swimming, 12.5 miles mountain biking, and 3.6 miles trail running) in record time, and then coming back to play my 2nd girlpocalypse set, only having 4 real meals since Thursday, I am staying at home today and doing nothing (probably, but that might be a lie). I am sore and totally done with travel.
On Friday, I traveled off to Chicago for my first GP (girlpocalypse) set, which I always intended to do no bar, because I like no bar and thought it would be a nifty challenge since I wasn’t going to live up to my title from last year and didn’t want to put a ton of pressure on myself. I decided to go with footspeed. For an hour, I pounded out as much as I could manage. I surprised myself and was able to get through most of Wheelpower and Go (which I had not even made it through the first stream with the bar ON Stomperz before), among other songs. I could tell I hadn’t practiced as much as I needed to, but I am in the middle of getting ready for my Ironman 70.3 in Mexico at the end of October so I didn’t really have much time to commit to the game.
After my set, I hung out with all the pretty girls, and had a great time going off to Panera and having a bread bowl. This is kind of where I knew I was going to be in trouble stamina-wise, because I was barely able to eat my bread bowl, it was my first meal since the day before. I was so excited to have met Céline Potel, the representative of French Coast Stamina. For the record, your English is very good, and you did well! I also met a long standing follower, Veronica Octavia and her counterpart Anna Nguyen. It was so interesting to see how different you guys are in person versus on chat/internet! So many nations coming together under one roof was a lot of fun. Afterwards, I headed to the hotel I had booked with Rich (because of allergies to dogs) nearby. On the way I managed to get a nail in my new tires
In the morning, we got it patched near Round 1 in Bloomingdale. Rich and I slipped away to the arcade while my car was being worked on and played DDR A for the first time. It went well and the new Toho Charts at least were a lot of fun and a lot more logical than previous Konami charts. I was sad I had to miss out that evenings shenanigans at Round 1, but I had to race 4 hours away in the morning. Driving from Chicago to near Lansing, Michigan was quite the drive, 4 hours, 5 hours if you count the time zone change. I forgot the race was in the eastern time zone so we lost an hour. We got to hang out with Mark Pierce and watch the most interesting youtube videos, watch the girls streaming on twitch (the GP tournament was being streamed live), and eat awesome new pizza (my 2nd meal?). We ended Saturday night with a lot of Sound Voltex.
Now for the race…This was Xterra Ionia, 45 minute drive from our location. The time zone change threw me off a little, and we got lost on our way to the race. I arrived and they had already given the pre-race talk and the elite wave (which is what I was in) was already ready to go off. I dropped my bike off in transition, which was difficult given there wasn’t ANY space left for one bike! I know it’s bad, but I ended up pushing my way into a small spot. I didn’t have time to set up ANYTHING, so I just made sure my shoes were there and race bibs ready, and ran off to the beach. I was so upset. Why? The lake was 76°F, meaning it was wetsuit legal. I didn’t have time to put on my wetsuit like everyone else, and was basically the only one who didn’t have a wetsuit on for the swim. Beach start. Off I went with no time, no wetsuit. I was of course slow. I was panicked because I knew I’d be slower than everyone else and was worrying too much about that. 10 minutes into the swim, I managed to calm down (the next swim wave had started), just a little. I focused on breathing and found more of a flow. I screwed up the end of the swim by keeping my head too high in the water. I also managed to get lost going to the wrong buoy (the first one was way out in the water) too. Despite all of that, I still managed to cut off 6 minutes of my swim time.
Off the beach, I ran into transition feeling terrible about my swim. I realized how much being able to set up transition meant at this point. I struggled to find all of my stuff I needed in my bag and added a whole minute to my T1 at least. I didn’t even have time before the race to check the air in my tires. This ended up being a good thing, because running lower tire pressure meant more contact with the ground, which helped on more technical parts of the bike.
The bike was 12.5 miles, which was pretty accurate. The first 4 miles were typical single track, up and down, VERY wet and muddy conditions (AGAIN!), but I had gears that shifted this time. Wow does that make a difference. I had to stop several times, which was annoying, because of people needing to pass. By mile 5, it became very flat and open and was packed dirt basically. This is where I made a crucial mistake. It was about 2.5 or 3 miles of this flat surface, very “easy”. Running low tire pressure does mean better contact, but it also means it’s harder to keep speed on flat terrain due to the added friction. I was maintaining about 14 mph, even with my 26″ wheels. But I did this for a long time in higher gears. This eventually lead to my demise on the run. I did manage to lock out my shocks on this part.
After this I was fairly alone, everyone was very spread out at this point. Although back on the single track (for the rest of the course), I heard a woman screaming, a LOT, and a lot of comments yelled at high levels. I was confused, but kept going since it was behind me. Around mile 8 I hit something, and I have no idea what, but it sent me flying, and flying into a fallen tree. This was good and bad. I did crash, but if I had not hit the tree I would have gone down the slope next to me. I brushed myself off and checked my bike over quickly. The yelling lady had caught me by this point. I learned she was just freaking out over the course (apparently NOT happy at all), and every little hill or rock she went over or slipped on, she had to make a comment or scream about it. I mean, this is a mountain bike course, it could be MUCH worse.
Around mile 10, I hit a mini-wall. I just couldn’t maintain any sort of speed whatsoever. This was made worse by the last 0.75 of a mile, it was all uphill, and unforgiving terrain (very wet and soggy dirt). I finally entered transition 2 (T2). I had trouble putting my bike back since it was still squished between two other bikes I had previously made room for. I took off my helmet and left. My pace was really good for about 1 mile, and then the big wall hit me. All of a sudden, I noticed it was hot outside. The condition for the race was Sunny, about 84°F and VERY humid (90%+). I couldn’t keep up my cadence either. My legs were dead from 1. the no bar set I played, 2. The straightaway on the bike. I trudged through several ankle deep mud puddles (literally just puddles of mud) which slowed me down tremendously, but looking back at everyone’s time on the run, it slowed everyone down. VERY hilly course, and pretty technical, as it was ALL single track. Aid stations were awesome and well placed. I kept going anyway, trying to sing songs in my head to keep me motivated. My pace slowed each mile by a lot. So let’s say my run sucked. I still managed to pass a few people on the run (have no idea how). The last mile was in the sun, and it was HOT, and you could cut the air with a knife if you were lucky. I never generally complain about heat, but this was humid. Coming back up to the finish line, it was the same hill as the bike finish. I finished in 2 hours and 43 minutes, 13 minutes slower than I wanted but still much faster than either of my other xterra races, which were of similar distance.
I waited for awards. I ended up 1st in my age group, but mainly because it was small. The other girl in my age division got a DNF, and I do wonder what happened to her because I swear I remember seeing her on the bike behind me at the turn around. I was happy I finally finish my last Xterra for the year, so now I can look forward to being named regional champion for completing basically 60% of the races in the midwest. But this was disrupted because I knew I had to drive 4 hours back to Chicago for the rest of the tournament.
I washed off in the lake (oh how heavenly it felt on my skin!!), and got in my car and left. Stopped back at Mark’s house and watched Holly Davis play a few songs on stream while packing up, and left from there. Stopped for gas and drinks, but no time for real food. Still hadn’t eaten since pizza the previous night, now catching up to me. 3 hours in, we hit some bad traffic outside of Chicago, adding about 30 minutes to the drive time. In the meantime, we did try some Crystal pepsi. It was dank and tasted like the 1990s. I took Rich to his car (near Round 1), and drove back to the Bear Haus to play my 2nd set. I had no plan lol.
I was thankful to have an hour of rest before my set (thanks Christal Spaeth). I started my set around 6pm CST, and played through all the Timing songs for kicks to see how I would do (rushing like mad on every step; don’t call me maybe, but call me EARLY). I had 30 minutes left after that. I played gold dust as my last timing song, and did have a hard time of it. But I decided to stupidly play my chart to Monado right after. This was hard to say the least, and I do not personally feel the advantage of the extra life bar in stamina at least, so it’s not as motivating to play stamina there. I also want to make known I had not played OR passed such a hard song in MONTHS! So this was a surprise pass. It killed me. But I decided to then go in on some footspeed again with my time left. I did ok at first, but pushing myself to that limit, I started having feet cramps and so I was not able to control my movements as much anymore. That was ok, I was exhausted and needed food and rest.
After my set I went to take a quick shower, and while walking up the stairs started getting leg cramps. Yup, been overdoing it haha. Had a nice evening with the ladies at Sweet Tomatoes (3rd meal??) and then drove home, Rich driving behind me in his car.
Now I am safe at home and just want to rest for a while. No more races until Mid-september now, so I can just focus more on training and relaxing for my 70.3. I have no idea how to end this now haha, it was a long weekend. If you made it to this point in my storybook, thanks!! I love you all.