I’ll preface this for my grandmothers since Adelaide told me that this post comes off as depressing. Let it be known that it was actually a great trip.
Getting good and pissed off a few days from the start. I didn’t ride the Speed Phreak at St. George since my bike is still being built, up but it will be ready for Raleigh.
The drive out to Utah started with a painful moment of panic as Adelaide accidentally slammed Maybellene’s tail in the car door. Maybellene yelped and frantically lurched away from the source of her agony, her claws nearly scratching my eye out in the process. With Maybellene’s tail a little crooked and a bloody scratch mimicking a teardrop tattoo under my right eye, the 10-hour car trip officially began.
We left late in the day because Adelaide had an appointment at 1PM, which put us just east of the Wasatch Range at dusk. In the fading light with peaceful rolling desert terrain passing by, I watched a rabbit bolt from the right side of the road out towards the center. I quickly took my foot off the gas and kept the car in a straight line, hoping that the little bunny would reverse its direction mid-stride like prey animals will do when confronted with uncertainty in the direction that they are currently headed. The rabbit kept running straight and our car passed over it, me now willing it to miss the wheels. I looked in the side view mirror a half second later and saw it summersaulting in the road behind us as we sped off at 80 miles per hour, my spirits instantly and temporarily plummeting, the rabbit’s life instantly and permanently over. Another innocent creature killed by a fucking car, driven by a person too uncaring to stop and help, or at least remove it from the middle of the road where its gut-filled carcass would inevitably be flattened to an unrecognizable sheet of sticky fur.
I see nothing good in humanity or myself, no way out of our current and certain path of total self- and planetary-destruction. Most of Earth’s animals are doomed. The environment is plummeting towards mass extinction and it won’t be set straight for millions of years. In the short term, maybe as soon as a hundred years, future human generations will engage in pathetic squabbles over crumbs because we couldn’t stop breeding like rabbits and spreading the disease of man-kind to every square centimeter of this abused planet. I hate people. I hate cars. I hate everything.
Then I got a milk shake.
And I was alright again.
At the Host House
Our host house was sick, to put it bluntly. We arrived just before 1AM to find a large atrium in which speckled colored lights shown from a small box, covering the walls, furniture, and ceiling of the entire house with a neon Milky Way. In the back yard there was also a rope swing, hammock, and a gazebo built out of an old Army plane.
We spent Thursday riding, picking up packets, and hanging out with AJ and his dad at the A2 Bikes tent. The temperature pushed into the upper 90s, perfect weather for a Kennett. I hoped it would stay like that for the race, though in the end it would cool down a good 10 degrees.
The day before the race I noticed that the hallway toilet of our host house was flooding all over the floor, and that there was also a deep puddle spanning the entire laundry room as well. The previous night the same mysterious flooding had happened and Adelaide and I had to wake up our hosts, John and Shalena, to let them know what was going on. But neither of them were home on Friday morning, and certain bowels had to be emptied.
I plunged the toilet until the water level was a few inches lower than the rim, though I suspected that most of the water had just ended up on the floor from all the sloshing around I was causing. I did my business and didn’t flush, since that would only make matters worse (as I found out the previous night). I told Adelaide not to use that toilet so she tried the other bathroom in the laundry room area.
Now there were two toilets filled to the rim with shit, a flooded bathroom floor, and a flooded laundry room. We needed to head out to train and go to the pre-race meeting. I didn’t want to leave things in that bad of a state for our hosts to come home to, so I attempted to plunge my toilet. The water quickly churned into an angry dark brown and the plunging was having no affect on the water level. Due to the violence of my thrusting, I was splashed in the face and mouth twice by the vile liquid. I decided to call it good at that point, still having made no progress on the water level, and left the plunger sitting in the putrid-smelling mess since there was no way to clean it off without causing more flooding. Adelaide, now onto poop number two of the day, took a dump in the back yard. She cleaned it up with a doggy bag.
A plumber came by later and removed a napkin from an outside pipe, which had been causing the blockage. But enough prelude. Onto the race.
The gun cracked and we set off at a pace that I couldn’t hold for more than 15 meters. I quickly fell behind a pair of feet to my left, got dropped from that pair of feet and moved right. My goal for the swim was to leave no doubt of whether or not I could have gone faster. A lot of my swims have felt like I could have held onto the group up ahead if only my start was better and I’d pushed it harder in the opening 400 meters. I didn’t make that mistake this time, and eventually found someone to draft off of that was the perfect speed: faster than me but not so fast that I couldn’t hang on. We swam through a small group about half way through, and I let myself believe (for a few seconds anyways) that we’d just passed the lead pack. I continued sitting on the guy’s feet as another guy tried to push me off. He wouldn’t let up and continued slamming me with his arm, pushing me down and back. Reaching out awkwardly with my left leg, I kicked him a few times in the side when he refused to give up the fight. I hoped it wasn’t someone I knew. Me and the original guy broke off from that pack and pushed on towards land, coming in just under 26 minutes, my best swim yet.
I knew coming into T1 that I had just had the best swim I’d ever had and that I could probably make it into a good group if I pushed super hard for the first 20 to 30 minutes. Unfortunately, my legs failed me. The past month of training has been very sub-par, as I’ve been dealing with a lack of motivation and depression. I put forth as good of an effort as my body could muster on the bike, making my way through a few groups as I held onto Ben Hoffman, Cameron Wurf, Brent McMahon, Josiah Middaugh, and Trevor Wurtel’s wheels. Wurf got away from our group mid-way into the ride and I still hadn’t taken a pull. I felt that by the time I got up to the front I’d be blown and actually slow us down, plus I was still holding out hope that there were only 10 guys up the road and that I should save what little I had in my legs for the run.
At the turn around with 15 miles to go, and after we’d ridden through a group of four, I saw that there were still 11 guys up the road, with varying leads on us of two to eight minutes. At that point, Brownlee, Sanders, and Kienle were so far gone that they were essentially in a race of their own. My legs were pretty much shattered at that point, but I decided that if I could, I would try something on the climb up Snow Canyon, despite feeling like a prick for doing so since I hadn’t been helping with the pace-making.
I put in a big effort, triathlon-wise (mind you there was still a 13 mile run to consider), up the second half of the climb, hoping that I could at least make up a little more ground towards 10th place, the last place that paid and the last place that I would be somewhat satisfied with. McMahon stayed with me, and on the headwind descent we caught Matt Charbot to come into T2 in 11th and 12th. There was still hope.
My bike time was 2:07:49 thanks to a cross tailwind for most of the day, and my average power was 290 (NP 309), which showed how shitty my legs were. That was the same exact power that I did two years ago here on this course as my first ever triathlon…in the midst of some severe Hashimoto’s symptoms. So yeah, I was not at the top of my game today.
Further proof of my shit legs, and self-doubting mind, was evidenced in the first few miles of the run, which were uphill. I lost sight of McMahon instantly. My legs were bricks. I tried mustering up a few more seconds per mile, looked at my watch, and saw that I was almost at a fast jog. I was passed by three more guys in the next few miles and I had little desire to attempt holding on as they came by. I was mentally defeated, and decided that there was no point in destroying my legs if I wasn’t going to be in the money.
At mile eight or nine into the run, which had somewhere around 1,200 painful feet of elevation gain, I decided that I’d at least not get passed by anyone else and hold onto…”16th?” I thought. I kept a pace that I assumed would satisfy that low goal for the next four miles. On the descent back into town I picked up speed…because it was downhill. I passed two guys in the last mile, blowing by at a pace that I shouldn’t have been able to do if I’d put forth my best effort earlier on, further proving to myself how weak and cowardly I’d been. I came in 14th with a 1:26 run, three minutes slower than the run I’d done here two years ago as an amateur when running 30 minutes a week was high mileage.
I went to the food tent.
And suddenly, all was right with the world once again.
That time is not accurate.
Adelaide had a fantastic race, finishing in 5:02 and 5th amateur woman overall. She’s on the verge of qualifying as a pro and with some serious training before Raleigh, will have a good shot there or at Coeur d’Alene.
Ben had a great race also and came in at 4:48.
There was unlimited Mexican food just behind me, by the way. Also behind me is Mormon Space X.
Maybellene on her way up to the stage during the awards presentation.
Sniffing around for her prize.
It must be up here.
“Whose dog is that?” There were a couple hundred people watching, so this was slightly embarrassing. Not for me though.