This past Sunday, I competed in the Chicago Triathlon located right in the heart of downtown. This was my first year racing in Chicago and I can’t be happier with my finish, as I met my race goal and finished on top of the podium. I was amazed with how many athletes were competing in the race (9300 athletes in total). I believe this makes the Chicago Triathlon one of the biggest triathlons in the world! I was great to see so many people out watching the race and so many athletes out competing.
The weather was perfect day for racing, with temperatures in the sixties. The pros did not start until 11:15 (men) and 11:18 (women). I am sure it was a bit on the cold side for the age groupers with the first wave starting at 6:00AM! We really lucked out with the weather, as August can still be hot and humid in Chicago. The wind on the other hand, made for tough conditions with a 20mph wind from the north. The swim was swum in the New York Yacht Club harbor of Lake Michigan and it was a straight out and back swim. The water was 65 degrees, so wetsuit legal, and was quite choppy with the wind. I lead out of the water, with Sarah Groff right behind me and headed to the run transition (almost a ½ mile run to my bike). I was debating weather or not to put shoes on, since most of the run was on pavement, but opted out of the shoes (I think this was a good call, although I my heels are a little sore at the moment). I started off the bike wanting to hit it hard for the first 10k and it was hard, as the first 10k was slightly uphill into the strong headwind. At the first turn, I could see Sarah Groff about 30 seconds back and I though I saw Julie Dibbons, but surprised I did not see her the rest of the ride. Unfortunately, it turns out Julie crashed right after I saw her and was not able to finish the bike portion, but fortunately, she is okay! I continued on the second half of the bike in the lead and managed to spin the legs at the end to prepare for the run.
The run was again a straight out and back with a tailwind for the first 3.5 miles and then a strong headwind for the last couple of miles. I felt pretty comfortable the first half and once I made the turn, my heart rate spiked with the run into the headwind. With one mile to go, I was beginning to feel confident with a win; however, did not want to led up as you never know what can happen at any moment. Once I crossed that finish line I was relieved to have accomplished my goal! It made the extra special to have family and friends to share it with as they made the short drive up from St. Louis. I could not thank all my sponsors enough for all the support they have given me thus far, especially Toyota and Blue who were both sponsors of the race as well.
My wishes go out to Julie Dibbons and Andy Potts (who also crashed in the race) to speedy recoveries and back to training for the remainder of their 2009 season. Congratulations to Matt Reed, who was the men’s winner in the race.
Part of my race schedule will include Chicago for 2010 for sure! I am looking forward to returning and trying to defend my title. Also, on October 2nd, Chicago is up for the 2016 Olympic bid----so I am keeping my fingers crossed as I think Chicago would be an incredible host city for the Olympic Games.
Next up for me is the World Championship Series Finale in Gold Coast Austraila. I have eight days in Colorado Springs to prepare for the race before I make the trip across the ocean.
Enjoy the end of summer and the upcoming holiday weekend!