Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rhode Island 70.3

Another weekend, another race, this time close to home in Providence, RI. Finally a long race that takes less than 2 hours to drive to.

We left for Providence at about 9:30 am, after feeding Girly Girl twice and bringing Michelley and Kongy to my parents for the weekend. (Girly Girl was great for Janda's mom at our apartment, apparently Michelley and Kongy were little hellions at my parent's house the whole time we were gone!) It took just under 90 minutes to get there, so we were just in time for the pro meeting, which was practically a who's who list of Ironman and 70.3 winners and podium finishers. There was a 1.5-2 hour line for registration, but thankfully the pros got to check-in in their own line and we were out of there in a half an hour.

Providence, near the finish line

The RI State Capitol building, site of the finish line and T2.

At the meeting we met up with pro Nick Dufresne, who is one of Janda's ahtletes. He actually lives in Providence, so we went to lunch with him on Thayer Street and then drove the run course. It was a really nice course, a sort of out-and-back loop that the racers had to do twice. There was one major hill, steep on one side and gradual on the other. Janda likes hilly, so he was happy. After that we went to get Nick's car and we followed him and his girlfriend on the bike course down to Narragansett. The first few miles that we drove (the end of the course) were a little sketchy- lots of driveways, businesses, churches and potholes. The rest of the course was pretty nice with lots of downhills, which meant lots of uphills the next day. Again, crazy Janda was psyched because he likes hills. A few miles away from the transition, we let Janda and Nick out to do a shake-out spin and then we met them at the transition where they did a quick swim.

After that Janda and I headed for our hotel in North Kingston, but we couldn't wait and stopped at the first pizza place that we saw. After that we hit the hotel, chatted with his other athletes April and Amanda and her husband Matt and made plans to get up at 3:30 am and head out at 4 am! This race began at 6am! I don't know if it was because of the beach or the traffic, but it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We all got a minimum amount of sleep and then got to the transition before sunrise.

Janda in transition, Liam and Nick in the background

Janda pulling on his wetsuit as the sun rises

At 6am a cannon went off and Janda took off on the swim. After 28 agonizing minutes, praying against a repeat of Eagleman, Janda hit the beach running, only about 6 minutes after the leader and 4-5 minutes after the main groups. 17th pro out. Whew!

Janda running out of the water

Janda running his bike out

I caught him heading out of transition and then went back to the car to meet him out on the course. I saw him go by Rt 138, but I just barely caught him. Then I headed out to Rt 3, this time I was way ahead of him, so I could figure out his place and the deficit. He had pulled up into 10th! After I yelled that to him and took a blurry picture (he rides too fast!), I headed up to Providence, to the transition area.

A little after mile 30

I met up with Janda's dad and we anxiously awaited the racers at T2. The guys were coming in in twos: Galindez and Ambrose, Cotter and Cunningham, Berkel and Marr. Then out of the blue Janda hit the transition in 7th! We were so pumped that he had moved up further. I ran down to the half mile mark and grabbed another picture. Janda's dad and I grabbed a drink and stationed ourselves and the bottom of the big hill. When Janda came down the hill, he had moved into 6th and was gaining on fifth. He gained another 10 seconds in the next mile, so we were very excited. Janda's dad stayed out on the course and I headed to the finish.

Janda coming down the steep hill

The finish line was really cool. The race had an awesome announcer giving constant commentary and volunteers were handing out lots of noisemakers and pom-poms (they continued this all day actually). When Galindez came through for the win they shot confetti and streamers over his head and interviewed him right away. It was by far the best finish that I have seen a 70.s race put on. They went all out to make the finish area an awesome experience for both the racers and the spectators. I can't say enough about the commentating, the volunteers, the location, the food- everything at the finish area was top notch.

Back to Janda: he made up more ground on the 5th place guy (last money place), but not quite enough. This was a great race though: 6th place, 5th fastest bike split of the day and 2nd fastest run split of the day. Now that Janda will be able to train exactly how he wants, I know that we will see him getting better and better.

After Janda finished, we hung around at the finish and saw almost all of his other athletes finish. Probably due to the steep hill, a few of Janda's athletes had some hamstring/calf cramping issues and definitely due to the hill, another athlete hurt her ankle. Even with these slight injuries, all of Janda's athletes (8 total) were in the top 25 of their age groups/divisions! And two athletes got their slots for Clearwater: Amanda Russell and Craig Lewin! Even though almost everyone had some issue (little or big) during the race, everyone finished well and it was a very exciting day for Janda as a coach to get to see so many of his athletes compete. It is definitely fun for us to go to these semi-local races where we know so many people and get to hang out with so many cool people. It looks like most of the crew is heading to Timberman, the next big semi-local race, so we should have a great time there too!

We hit the road around 2pm and we were home before 4. That was one of the best parts of the race: home early, playing with the kitties and in our own bed early.

After the race

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