Saturday, November 5, 2016

Austin 69.1

Last Sunday I toed the line for the final race of my 2016 season.  It was a fun little adventure.

The race itself got a little delayed because of fog.  As in you couldn't tell where the water/lake was, let alone where the buoys were.  So, as you can see in the picture above, we sat around for a while.  I mostly thought about how badly I had to pee.  And also how I REALLY didn't want the swim to be cancelled.  I'm obviously not a great swimmer.  But I'm not a bad one either.  I'm one of those people that isn't really good at anything, but isn't really bad at anything.  A cancelled swim leaves me in roughly the same spot as I would have been with one.  So really I just wanted to put all my hard swim practices and early morning masters wake-ups to good use.

No such luck.  The swim was cancelled.  So onto a TT bike start it was!

Stretching my arms before starting the bike.  Because that's obviously very important.  :)
Because my last name is Shutt and that's at the end of the alphabet, I got to start almost last in the pro women's field.  I liked this a lot because I like to chase people.  Much harder, in my opinion, to race off the front.

So chase is what I did.  I haven't been riding well all year but my cycling legs came alive a little for this race.  Not quite up to last year's standards but MUCH better and closer than I've been all year!  That made me happy.

Because of the TT start, I wasn't quite sure where I was in the race off the bike.  We had started at 30 second intervals.  I had caught some people.  Some people where still ahead, or were they?  Who knows.  Just run hard and keep as cool as you can is all I told myself.

It was hot by the run.  Like really hot.  Like high 80s hot.  Last time I did this race there were record lows.  This time, record highs.  What can I say, I like to go to extremes.  :)

As the run progressed, I knew this - Jeanni (my QT2 teammate) was going to win by a lot.  Jennie (also my QT2 teammate) and I were really close.  And Kelly (not a QT2 teammate) was running me down and if I didn't let her get toooooo far ahead, I could probably still beat her (she started 4.5 minutes ahead of me on the bike).  But dang was she running fast (as usual).  There was a lot of mental math going on when I was really, really hot and tired.  Every time I saw John he told me to "stay in it, people are all over the place" and that was very true.  In the end, Jennie beat me by about a minute and I barely squeaked it out over Kelly.  Third place.  I'll take it!  Plus that meant QT2 went 1-2-3!  I was very proud of that (and really glad I wasn't the reason we didn't do it!).

See you at camp in the winter, girls!  Let's just hope it's a little cooler.
I deemed this a fine way to end my season.  It's been a rough one, but in the end, when I DID get to race, I enjoyed it and it turned out pretty well.

Mostly I was excited about the fact that for one of the first times ever, I was staying after a race to explore the city and see what Austin was all about!  That's one thing I regret over my years of racing. I've always just come home directly after races.  Which means I've been to tons of great places, but never really seen any of them.  That's kind of sad!

So over the next three days, John and I ate and drank our way through Austin.  It was awesome!

Austin is a beautiful city on a lake.

Graffiti words of wisdom.  #nevergiveup

We took a boat tour at night and got to see the bats under the bat bridge!  So. Many. Bats.

We went canoeing!  And by that I mean, John paddled and I sat in the front and put my feet in the water.

So. Many. Turtles.

Voodoo Donuts!  On Halloween of all days!

Vicki, my gracious homestay and friend, took me to Magnolia Cafe before the race.  It was awesome!  Thanks for everything, Vicki!

She warned me that the pancakes were big.  I didn't fully appreciate this until I tried to eat two of them.  I was defeated.

Izzie.  Best homestay dog ever.  My, what long ears you have!

Always an honor to race with these strong women.
So that's a wrap on 2016!  I thought long and hard about racing in 2017.  There were certainly times that I was pretty convinced this would be my last year racing as a pro.  Mostly because my body fought me a lot this year and at some point you have to ask, "am I just too old to do this anymore at this level?"  The trouble is, I still REALLY love to race.  And I still feel competitive.  And well, I just really love to race.  I have so much support and a busy, yet good lifestyle to continue to train.  So I will.  I'm not sure what TYPES of races 2017 has in store, but for sure, I plan on being on some more starting lines.  On most days I curse this sport but I'm not ready to give it up just yet!

Biggest thanks to a lot of people who keep me running (literally and figuratively).  A great group of sponsors - Coeur, QR, Rudy Project, Normatec.  My actual family who has put up with my shenanigans for years.  My QT2 family who REALLY are like family.  The Snows and my 441 family who have been through all the ups and downs of the past couple years with me and have made me laugh and smile despite it all.  And John and the Peterson family - it is said that a happy athlete is a fast athlete and if that's the case, thank you for making me so fast.  I have a lot of really amazing people in my life.

So now it's time to mountain bike!  If my next post is about my broken arm, you'll know why!  :)