I knew Portland was going to be a fun trip before it started. Paul was meeting me there (to race the Olympic event) and we were staying with my good friends, Gant and Brynje Enderle. I hadn't seen them since Kona 2010 (Brynje rocked it)! Plus, this race was put on by Rev3, an organization which all others should look up to; they do it right in all aspects: from registration to the finish-line and then some. No plug intended but, if you're looking for an event that focuses on the athlete, pick a Rev3 event (there's 5 more this year!).
Paul and I met at the airport (I was coming from Boulder and he from Sin City). It was great to have him there, and I consider myself one lucky gal to have such a supportive boyfriend. :) Gant picked us up and took us back to his place. Our visit started with an adventure ride through Portland; the roads there are crazy! They are up and down, sideways, rolling...a big city roller coaster of roads. Paul and I worked hard to stay with Gant, who seamlessly road throuh the craziness.
Before heading to the expo and race registration, Paul and I checked out the bike course, which was changed from the flat course they had last year to one that had 2,500ft of elevation gain. It has switch backs, technical descents and rolling hills. I was stoked! It took us one hour and thirty minutes to drive the course that day and we didn't even do the 10 mile out-and-back at the end!
The race started with a non-wetsuit swim, as the water was quite warm at 72 degrees. I got in with a solid group of women and I got on the feet of a high-kicking gal; I think I sighted 5 times total. The whole time I kept telling myself, follow those damn bubbles. :) I came out of the water about 2:30 down from Meredith Kessler, who was out first. Meredith just did IM CDA two weeks ago; She's a fierce cookie and, boy, is she strong! I can't imagine just yet what I'd feel like only 2 weeks post-Ironman.
I hopped on my bike and started crankin'. The first 10 miles were flat and fast, and it took us through a small tourist town...then came the hills, technical turns and fun switchbacks. I caught Meredith around mile 15 and just kept pushing hard. The technical bit was great fun, but those hill were tough and it made it difficult to go hard on the last 15 miles, even though they were flat.
The run was a nice little mix of everything - a little off road, trail and flat roads (two times out-and-back). I had managed a race-best bike split, but it had taken a little bit out of me. By the second out-and-back section I was counting down each mile marker. I was so happy to cross the finish line first in front of some great girls (Meredith held on for second and was followed by Lauren Goss and Becky Lavelle).
Congratulations to Gabrielle (pictured below). I met her after the race and gave her my finisher's medal for good luck; she's doing her first triathlon this weekend! A BIG hug to Gant, Brynje and Paul for being there and supporting me. Rev3...way to play!
One of my favorite parts about being a professional triathlete is the travel. I was lucky enough to get to spend a few days post-race in Oregon, so we headed to the coast. I got to have some recovery time and have a few fun adventures...like going on a hike and jumping in the FREEZING water. What a perfect end to a great trip. :)