I honestly had no idea as to what to expect from this race. My last race was over four months ago. I took a bunch of time off for an injury, and since getting back into training most of my workouts have been geared towards getting ready for St. Croix this coming May. So needless to say when I woke-up Sunday morning I was a mix of excited and nervous.
Another Ross student Matt and I caught the ferry over to St. Kitts and arrived on Nevis at about 10am. The race wasn’t scheduled to start until 1:30 so there plenty of down time. I registered and spent some time chatting and getting caught-up with my friends from Nevis. I was pleasantly surprised to see a photographer from Triathlete magazine on site and he and I talked for a while about races in the states and about life as a triathlete in the Caribbean. I leisurely set-up my spot in transition and then found a nice shady spot to relax for awhile, eat my snack, and worked on taking in fluids and electrolytes. I was sweating bullets and the race had not yet even started. Before I knew it time was drawing near to the start. I warmed up a bit in all three disciplines, took care of the all the last-minute preparations, and was off to the race start.
The swim was triangular course, two loops for Olympic distance and one for the sprint racers. The water was nice and clear, and for the most part absent of any chop and current. We all started together on the beach. I seeded myself towards the front of the pack to try to avoid the chaos that always ensues at the swim start. The countdown ended and we were off. I was able to avoid all the traffic and get off to a nice clear start. I concentrated on a relaxed, long stroke and keeping a good line. Before I knew it I was heading the lead pack. All I could see was one set of arms a good distance ahead of me (I still have not figured out who that super-fast person was but way to go- great swim!) and a huge pack right on my heels. By the second lap the pack had spread out but I was joined by one other woman. She and I were matched stroke for stroke and came out of the water pretty much tie. The run from the beach to the transition area was about a ¼ mile through the port area. A fresh-water shower was set-up for rinsing. I made quick work of T1 and was on my way on the bike.
The Olympic bike course was two out-and-back loops turning around at the airport. There were a few short steep hills and a couple low, gradual inclines. As usual there was a nice strong wind, which I swear was a head wind both directions. My legs felt pretty good and I concentrated on keeping a strong, steady pace; all the while taking in enough fluids and electrolytes for the hot conditions. After the turn around I saw Janine and my swimming partner, then shortly after Kristina and Miranda. I knew were all trying to chase me down. Janine caught me during the second lap and I knew she and I were going to be close going into the run.
As I was coming down the straight-away into T2 I saw Janine heading out onto the run. Could I catch her? I had a little bobble in T2, someone else had the same color towel laid on the ground as I did and it had me confused for a bit. Once I got things in order I was on my way on the run. The run was a two loop out-and-back to the Four Seasons. Last year I had horrible GI issues on the run and had to walk often so I was hoping for anything better than that. Right from the beginning I felt good but was taking it conservative. Janine was not pulling ahead but I wasn’t gaining on her either. I pushed it a bit on the second lap but it still wasn’t enough to catch her.
The best part about the race was the volunteers! They were all spectacular! All were very helpful, encouraging, and always smiling. A huge thanks to all the volunteers! Another thing special about this race is the interaction amongst all the athletes. Of course we all want a good race, but over all everyone is supportive of each other, smiling, and cheering for their fellow athletes the whole time. Thank you to all the race sponsors for helping make the race the success that it is. And thanks to my coach Todd Wiley for helping make this year’s race a big improvement. Another great race by Winston and Nevis Cycle Club.