RR: 2014 Galena Triathlon

It has been a hectic past couple of weeks and I am very behind in posting. Last week I visited Austin, TX with my best friend and had a blast, but I will get to that in a later post.

Let’s back it up to about two weeks ago when I competed in the 2014 Galena Triathlon. This race is kinda like the unofficial start to triathlon season in the Chicagoland and many multisport groups gather for a fun weekend in the rolling hills of Jo Daviess County.

The day before the race, May 16th, it snowed…yes snowed. I had no idea if the swim would still be on, even though it would be freezing I wanted to swim, swimming is my best leg and without it, it is not as much fun. But, were we really going to swim in 60 degree (so they say) water then hop out and get on a bike in 52 degree temps?!

On Friday I left work early to make the drive to Galena, about a 2 1/2 hour trip. I decided to take the trip solo as it would be the easiest for me as this race is a nightmare logistically, due to the swim/bike start being at Apple Canyon Lake and the run/finish at Recreation Park in Galena, 16.8 miles apart. So, I chose to drop off my gear and pick up my packet on Friday. Less to do race morning the better.

I had no trouble finding the packet pick-up location. Once I parked I was offered a golf cart ride down to the beach, as my bike rolled alongside. I was able to confirm that the swim was 100% on and I could not have been happier!

IMG_1808With packet in hand I racked my bike, checked out the swim course, chatted with some people, and then made my way back to my car to drive into Galena to drop off my run gear in T2. The drive over to T2 would be the exact course for the bike leg and it was beautiful, hilly, but beautiful. I questioned leaving my run gear in T2 because who knows what could happen to it from the point I drop it off to the time I run my bike in. I had faith that it would go untouched so I left my running shoes and a GU in the bag provided and tied the bag to the rack.

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Plan was to meet fellow Crush members, who were traveling together, at T1, but the drive took them longer than expected so we met in town for dinner and pushed back picking up their packets until race morning. Dinner was satisfying and relaxing, it was great to meet more members and get to know them. We went to Vinny Vanuchhi’s, an Italian restaurant, and I had angel hair pasta with Italian sausage (best Italian sausage I have ever had). The town of Galena is so cute and old-timey, it makes for a great relaxing getaway. I took some pictures to try to capture the vibe.

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But it was a gloomy day :(

By the time dinner was over it was late. We drove to Chestnut Mountain Resort, where we would be spending the night, and once we were settled in it was lights out.

The first wave was due to start at 9AM, a late race start, but perfect for an early season triathlon as the sun would have some time to come out and warm the air. My group left around 5:30AM to pick up their packets and drop off their gear in both transitions (little did we know what would happen). I woke up when they left and had a quiet morning. I ate two organic rice cakes with peanut butter and an apple (which I packed the day before). I sipped on some NUUN while I gathered my things and put on my gear. I left the hotel and drove to downtown Galena to drop off my car in the remote parking lot and hopped on the shuttle that would take me to the swim start. I could only bring what I needed for the swim and bike. What I would discard after the swim and anything else I had went in a big drawstring bag that would be transported to the finish area later.

During the ride over there I was getting anxious/nervous about the very hilly bike course and the cold temps. The sun was out, which helped tremendously, but still, it was cold. I had a lot of time to get ready in transition. I eventually went down to the beach and got in a very quick warm-up in the water. I was in my ROKA sleeveless wetsuit, but once my head entered the water my breath was taken away. Cold water doesn’t usually phase me, but this water was FREEEEEZING. A few minutes before my wave started Michele found me and informed me about their tragic morning…on the way to dropping off their bikes, the two bikes on the bike rack fell off! The bike rack just broke and sent Michele’s and Jeremy’s bikes flying at 45 mph. Damage was done. Lore was driving the car and her bike was inside, but because she felt so bad she gave her bike to Michele so she could race. I felt terrible for all of them. Triathletes/cyclists understand that one’s bike, is their baby. Hopefully insurance or the bike rack company can cover the damage.

I tried to maintain my focus on the race despite the terrible news. I was the 7th wave to go, my age group was mixed with the one above mine. The horn blew and we were off, plunging into ice cold water. Second time around was not as bad, it was probably the adrenaline. There was a bit of bumping of bodies, arms and legs everywhere in the beginning, but I was able to push through it and get my own space with one girl ahead of me. The swim flew by, could have been faster, but I suck at swimming straight when in open water. I exited the swim tied for first.

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Swim: 8:03 (1:20 min/100m)

This was my first time taking off a wetsuit in a race and I gotta say it was not bad (could be the awesome suit!). We had to run over rocks to get to our bikes, but I honestly could not feel it. Some people left shoes or flip flops to use so I followed suit, but I ended up just grabbing the shoes and running. Once I stuffed all my gear in the bag out I went with my bike.

T1: 2:17

Oh boy, where do I start…well the second I mounted my bike I was immediately spinning up a steep incline. Being in your smallest chain ring is a must! This had to be the most challenging bike course I have completed. The beginning for me was the hardest, short, but steep hills. As it was my second time out with my tri bike I learned how to shift very quickly. The steep inclines were painful and they were definitely elevating my heart rate. At times, I just wanted to get off my bike and walk it up the damn hill, but of course I didn’t. I eventually started to find my groove and my average speed was increasing. There were a few big descents, one where I got up to 36 mph. Total elevation gain, 1,140, and total elevation loss, 1,344, over 16.8 miles. Despite the hills, the course was stunning, great views of the countryside surrounded us, but man was it tough.

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Bike: 1:04:39 (15.6 mph)

Happy to be off the bike I was able to quickly transition to my run gear in no time. And it was still tied to the rack!

T2: 1:38

The run started with, once again, a steep hill. The rest of the run was uneventful. I tried to keep a good pace, the second half of the run was much faster as there was more downhills. It was a 4.2 mile run, out and back.

  • Mile 1: 9:35
  • Mile 2: 8:33
  • Mile 3: 8:13
  • Mile 4: 8:01
  • Last .2: 5:59

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Just letting my legs go…

Run: 35:29 (8:27 min/mile)

Total: 1:52:03 Overall: 103/318 Female: 18/93 AG: 3/5

Overall I was very pleased with my swim and my run. I felt accomplished due to the tough course, but I wish I could have been faster on the bike. Being as I have done no hill work I cannot be disappointed in my performance. It was a great day and I enjoyed every second.


Representing Crush Multisport: Darcy, Jeremy (Founder), Lore, me, and Michele




3 thoughts on “RR: 2014 Galena Triathlon

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