Well, I know we haven't post much about our preparation for this race. It was in a way on purpose, din't want to get you all bored with the details of what we have done or haven't done for it. Now that we have completed it it's time to reflect on our day... or days including the days leading up to it.
We had decided last year to do Challenge Atlantic City because it was so close to Res' home. Our thoughts were to spend time with family a week prior to the race and then go to the race with them so they could experience our racing/triathlon lives. We found an awesome home not too far from Bally's (host hotel) but not in the middle of Atlantic City which made it for a good headquarters location.
We arrived to AC on Thursday after picking up our cheering squad at Philly's airport. We headed to the house to unload the truck and bikes before we headed to the expo. Didn't want the bikes on the rack while we were at the expo. We then went to the expo which turned out pretty interesting considering you had to walk through Bally's casino to get to it. People were very nice and friendly, it seemed a little bit less daunting than the WTC/Ironman check-in. We got our packages, and then started to walk the expo. They had one of the athlete meetings around that time so we went to it, got the typical download, course changes, rules, etc... great energy from DelMo and Vigo those two guys are amazing. Our crew had a start on us since they went to the beach party at the Bally's Bikini Bar where the Challenge Welcome party was at. There we got to see T.O., Rinny, Mark Allen, Andres (whom we had seen at check-in) so we hung out there a bit. We called it a day pretty early, didn't want to get too wrapped up into the party scene that AC offers because we know how it can come and bite us later.
Friday... practice swim.. Rinny... Athlete Dinner
Rinny signing up our shirts
|Rinny and Res|
Saturday... easy spin... beach... rest...
|Colombia representing pre-race ride on the Colombia-Uruguay game day|
|Checking in with Macca.... that' was pretty funny|
When we got to transition we actually had a great surprise... we were walking in when some photographers went running by us, when we turned there he was, Macca was checking in. We got our bikes racked and checked out transition and headed home. Not before we picked up some pasta dinner at Bringantine, we found Andres an italian restaurant with great food. Then went home to eat, pack nutrition, and try to rest... try... because as you know resting before an event like this is very elusive... to non-existent. I think I finally closed my eyes at midnight.
|Best surprise from Mrs. D our host before we left|
We were waiting when they announced that the water temp was 80-deg which made the swim wetsuit optional. After a second of freakout we made the call to swim with wetsuits mainly for 2 reasons. 1. It would allow us to take advantage of them, 2. We could swim together and didn't have to get in our waves. So we decided that it would be best, no much debate after that one.
We saw the Navy Seals parachute down to Bader Field while the Star Spangled Banner played, it was pretty amazing, also knowing that 2 of them were going to race alongside with us. We said our good byes to Res' parents and we went with our crew to the swim start. We were the last wave so we had still time.
Our wave started to get called in and we pushed ourselves in, we barely made it to the water when they let us go. Didn't count that we were the largest wave of all because of all the people that had decided to do the wetsuit swim. We said our good byes in the water and off we went. The swim was one of the toughest swims we've done. The first 1000 yds were with the current, felt great with a bit of traffic but got cleared pretty quick. The first turn came by and we headed back... that's when it got interesting. Out of the remainder 2900 maybe 2500 were against the current.
|Navy Seals parachuting in|
In transition, we came out of the tents at the same time and started the bike ride together... that was pretty cool. Got to ride with her for about 2 miles and then off we went as usual, the plan was to see each other at the run. The bike course was exiting, going thorough the Atlantic City Expressway and into the towns wasn't too bad, we were actually going pretty fast, I had to keep myself from pushing since I knew the pace was a bit fast. We got back on the expressway and the wind was on our back. Since we had the last wave on the swim that meant we had a good group of people ahead of us, so had a lot of people to pass. While passing one guy, at mile 25 or so, I looked back to make sure I cleared the pass but I lost control of the bike and stumbled into the pavement. Hit hard. I don't think quitting even cross my mind at the time. The guy that I had passed also crashed and he stopped to check on me. My shoulder was in a lot of pain, I moved my arm and saw that I could move it so off I went again on the bike. I got to the mile 30 station and washed off. By then the pros were already starting to come back so got to see a few of them including Andrés. I was on the Hammonton Loop by then and trying to enjoy the scenery as much as the pain allowed it. Went through special needs station but skipped it there, I had planned to stop the second time. Going through Hammonton was OK, could've been more exciting I guess or I guess my pain was such that I just didn't enjoy it. The second loop was simply a blur, all I remember was pulling into special needs and getting off the bike. A guy in there helped me get washed off, got some ice for my shoulder and it really made a difference. As I was about to pull out guess who was coming in.... RES!!!! I was so happy to see her... She freaked out when she saw me, but was able to keep her cool. We got her special needs figured out and decided to keep going. We only had 40 miles after all which meant going back on the Expressway. Well.... Remember that start of the bike where we were going really fast with a nice tail wind??? Yup... You got it, the wind had picked up and was a head wind. Our 22-23 mph on the way out turned into an 11-12 mph on the way back. Most painful 30 miles we've ever done, we were glad to have each other and to keep each other company. Many times along that stretch the thought of quitting came across my mind but having Adriana in front of me or behind me and knowing that finishing had turned into a team effort made me simply push harder and make the bike cut. We had slowed so much due to my extended stops that we had lost about 1 hour or more between all stops so we were cutting it pretty close. Seeing the exit 2 of the Expressway was the happiest moment of that bike ride. We came into Bader Field and we saw Brian, Becky, and Jenny they were so happy to see us but saw their jaws dropped when the saw me.
|Coming into T2|
|Brian and Becky sporing the Team Res-Puli Support Crew T-shirts|
So I guess what you might be wondering... was it a good race. I think definitely it was, it truly lives up to its name of CHALLENGE. Yes we can ask for no currents but Mother Nature can do whatever she wants, no wind and flat courses bike courses but then what would be the point, and a run less entertaining.... but nothing better than people watching through the Boardwalk. So would we recommend it... if you want a true CHALLENGE go for it... if you want to be tested and see what you are made of, definitely sign up. If you are not too sure you can finish it... then get to training and sign up for it. :) and remember "Anything is possible if you have the courage to make it happen"
|Best Finish Ever!!!! priceless... and yes it the pic was FREE too :) Thanks Challenge|