Week 13: Santa Rosa 70.3

This week isn’t particularly coherent. Here are simply some thoughts. And thank you to Smashfest Queen, Freeplay Magazine, and Dimond Bikes for their support. I know I’m not a big deal, but maybe someday I will be.

You can read all my weekly recaps of being a pro.

Last week was all about Santa Rosa 70.3. ALL ABOUT IT.

As in that was pretty much all I got done all week. My terrible day-before stomachaches now seem to last multiple days before a race. Yay. And for my local race, it was quite a logistical headache. Somehow I still had to get up at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. And, Thursday, I got home around 8 p.m. and needed to put on the new mount and water bottle cage, get race wheels ready to go, convince Steve to switch out the tubes to latex, change brake pads, charge the Di2, and get my stuff ready to be dropped off early Friday afternoon.

I am not a fan of Saturday races, by the way. Like are we just assuming no one works now?

Of course, the water bottle didn’t stay in the new mount during my shakeout Friday ride and then I had to re-take everything off and put it back together, which popped the Di2 junction box off the stem, and I couldn’t get the race cassette to shift smoothly, and when I finally went for my ride, my foot kept popping out of the pedal because it turned out my cleat was basically broken.

And I hadn’t even started deciding what shoes to run in or how I was going to deal with the wind warnings and cold.

Some days I feel like a professional and some days I’m the only “professional” sitting on the ground in transition putting laces in my shoes.

The race, itself, was what I thought it should be. It was good, solid, a PR, and I went fast — but it was exactly what I thought I was capable of, which is probably how some races are supposed to go and which makes me think I’ve still got more. Someone today asked me: What do I think I need to do to get faster still. I dunno; keep doing what I’m doing?

My expression is: Shit, and also why did I take my goggles off before I unzipped my wetsuit?

It was 37 degrees when we got on our bikes (according to my Garmin). I didn’t put any extra clothes on because I figured if that just meant it was going to be painful, well, it was going to be painful anyway. That almost didn’t work out when my hands were too frozen to squeeze my bottle of Infinit. But it did and I beat some people just in my transitions, so win.

I didn’t love the bike. (I mean I loved my bike, but I didn’t love the bike course.) I was worried I would be nervous on the winding roads with the weird gusty wind and all the rough potholes. And, turns out, I was nervous. I sat up a lot and soft-pedaled descents I should have ridden harder. It was a bit discouraging, especially since I could tell I was riding as well as the other girls, but then I’d get passed on the downhill parts.


However, turns out my watts were about equal to my usual (should be better but haven’t quite gotten there) watts. Except, usually with that wattage, I’m a few minutes behind the group and this time I was mostly in the group. I’m saying those few minutes were the new Dimond bike. And the latex tubes probably.

When I’m going I tend to divide things up in my head into 20 minute chunks and then into 5 minutes chunks within that. Five minutes is easy to get through: oh look you’re already done with one minute, just another minute and you’ll almost be halfway, now you’re basically halfway, now you only have one more minute until you just have one minute left. It also makes it easy to tell yourself: this five minutes sucked, start fresh, make the next five minutes better.

At one point, I literally thought, “Of course you can do 20 minutes right now. You did 3 x 20 minutes last weekend hungover.”

I thought stuff like that a lot in the race. Of course you can run 10 more miles at this pace, you did it on some random Tuesday on a bike path. Of course you can hold this for another 30 minutes, just pretend it’s the treadmill again and you can’t turn it off.

Also, I’ve had Hamilton stuck in my head constantly lately. But, weirdly, ‘Dear Theodosia’ was the song I kept singing to myself on Saturday. It’s not exactly a race song.

At the end of the bike I was alone and I was trying to talk myself into the run. It’ll be a personal journey, personal victory. You can run a sub-1:30, just focus on that, bit by bit. And then I came into T2 and there were three girls right there in transition, and all of a sudden all my racing instincts took over. One of the girls was still getting her shoes on and I moved so fast to jump on her heels that I was holding my hat in my mouth, gels in one hand, a watch in the other, and buckling my race belt while sprinting 6:20 pace.

It worked out. She ran faster than me, but she pulled me up to the others and then I just ticked off 6:45 miles until I couldn’t quite hold on to it anymore.


Around halfway, a friend on the sidelines yelled that I was 45 seconds out of the money. I had no idea if she was right. It seemed like probably not. But what if she was? I passed one more girl a couple miles later and then maybe I was in the money, maybe, maybe there was $1,000 on the line. I didn’t want to lose out on that chance; I just needed to not let anyone catch me.

I crossed the line in 11th — which is not in the money, unfortunately — and with a PR and a solid run.

So what have we learned?

Being in the race is better than being a front-row spectator to the race. Internal, self-motivation? Screw it. I want to beat people.

Also, the possibility of money is quite motivating as well.

6 thoughts on “Week 13: Santa Rosa 70.3

  1. Great recap, Kelly. Clearly, your swim, bike, and run talents are impressive, but it is your transition skills that I find most intriguing. I think what you’re doing is indeed working, and I am excited to watch you slice off more competition the next time out.

    1. True story: I was a Kaplan instructor in college (it was my college job) and you have to audition by giving a 3-minute mini-lesson on some topic, any topic. And I literally do not remember what I talked aout, but one guy taught a 3-minute mini-lesson on ‘how to do triathlon transitions.’ I had never done triathlon, barely heard of it at that point, but I totally remembered that lesson when I started racing a few years later.

  2. Way to kick ass at your race last weekend! Also I love reading your race recaps so much. I like getting to see what’s going on in your mind when you’re racing. A lot of pros/elites are kind of vague about it, and I appreciate that you share that with us.

    1. I think a lot of them really don’t have a lot to say about what they’re thinking about because they’re so good at just thinking about going faster. I’ve talked to a ton of top athletes and I really think that mental ability so many of them have is what separates most them from the rest of us.

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