Lookout Mountain Triathlon

Saturday, June 18th was Lookout Mountain Triathlon. A short lung-buster of a triathlon that I’ve competed in twice before and enjoy simply because it’s different, challenging, and allows me to push myself in a short amount of time. The swim occurs at Mount Vernon Country Club in the outdoor pool. From there, the bike screams down to highway 40, where there’s a small climb and descent, followed by a very steep climb up Paradise Hill. Climb, climb, climb back to Mount Vernon, and attempt to get the legs moving through a 5k run that climbs trails into the backwoods neighborhoods. It’s a lot of uphill, but I strangely like uphill quite a bit.

The morning was freezing, despite projected temps in the high 90s. A cold canyon wind was rolling over the top of Lookout, and I spent the majority of my time waiting in a blanket burrito. Prior to the swim, I hopped in the heated pool to warm up, but only ended up shivering while I waited to be staged in my wave.

The swim was incredibly quick. I wanted to PR on my swim, so I pushed my limits as much as I could deem safe. My arms felt strained, and my lungs were burning, but I wanted to get out to the bike ASAP. I ended up swimming the 3rd fastest time among 106 women, and 5th fastest time among the 190 people who signed up. I pulled myself out of the pool like a beached whale and huffed down the road to transition, my competition still swimming.

The descent out of transition is fast. I quickly tucked in and hit about 40 mph before sharply turning into the climb up Highway 40. I chugged up and turned around to descend back down to the base of Paradise Road. My legs screamed a bit on the climb, but I kept cranking until I hit the top.  I had trained this climb twice this year and knew what to expect. What I didn’t expect however, is that as I shifted back to my big ring, my chain fell off. I felt the sudden lack of resistance in my pedaling and quickly unclipped to fix it. As I was putting my chain back on, the first girl in my age group passed me. Ughh nooooo. I rushed back on and pedaled double time to catch her.

The descent out of transition
We leapfrogged for the rest of the 5 miles, her chasing me, or me chasing her. She was really strong, and I was worried I was pushing too hard. When we finally hit the final climb, I told her, “You’re a really great cyclist!”, to which she turned and said “You’re a bomb-ass swimmer!”. We exchanged thoughts on the upcoming run, and I let her go. I knew trying to hold on to her wasn’t in my best race interests anymore and whatever happened would happen naturally.

I was redlining in the climb to transition and fumbled to get my shoes on without falling over. The temperature was skyrocketing. My legs were wobbly. So much climbing, and only more to come. The first mile and a half of the run is up a steep dirt road, where many choose to walk. Not me. I was hurting, but I refused to walk. I knew it would be a close race. I finally got some relief at the first aid station, when I dumped two cups of water on myself and drank a bit. Ready to hold on to whatever I’ve got left, fight the nausea, and finish strong. I pushed through the remaining hills, feeling more pep in my step and trying to maintain a high cadence. As usual at this race, the finish line was a welcome sight. I finished 2nd in my Age group, 6th woman overall. I was really proud and surprised that my run was not as disastrous as it felt. This race is very short. But it’s also very hard. I recommend it to anyone who wants a really tough race that’s less than a couple hours.

Thank you to everyone who has donated this month! I’m so happy to continue racing for you, and have enjoyed running into friends and supporters on the trails and around town. Next on the docket is Boulder Peak, an Olympic distance race that’s sure to be hot and fun!

The link to donate is in the upper right! Thanks for reading, and happy racing!
Ali

Second Place gets a gift card to Runner's High, which I will definitely use! 

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