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First Professional Win- REV 3 COSTA RICA!

21 Mar

This race was one of the toughest, hottest, most fun races I have done yet.  It was about 12 minutes long for an Olympic, 97 degrees for the day, 10+ extreme UV index, high humidity, super steep hilliacious climbing for the first 2 miles in and out of transition and fairly hilly run- a quarter or which was on sand!

Race morning I was a little nervous about my gearing on my bike- this course definitely requires a 28 cassette and I only brought a 23.  This was my major learning point of the trip. Always always make sure you know the course in case your gearing is off.  With the grade of hills out of transition, I was imagining myself walking my bike up the road ( “please let there not be a Slowtwitch gallery picture of me WALKING my bike on the course, God!”). Blaaahhh!…

Swim

This was one of the first swims that I was actually able to draft the whole time- wow, what a difference! The effort felt quite a bit easier than usual but I didn’t feel I had the power to get around and make it on my own so I sat in and let my super speedy Profile Design Macho speed suit do its thing.  I knew it was going to be a long, hot, death-march type day so I was happy to be a little conservative in the swim.  I came out with 2 other girls and we were about 1:20 down from the leader (kind of a lot of time but I felt great out of T1 so I think this was the right choice- I am rarely under a minute down anyways…)

What is a speedsuit you say?:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGgdxXnlto0

Bike

Straight out of T1 we rode on a gravel dirt road for about 200 meters.  Pretty awesome- just have to cross your fingers with your tires and hold on tight…..but made it out the other side ok…

Then we started climbing…grades were really high in some places- like probably 15+%… I said earlier that I had a 23 cassette (EVERYONE else has a 27/28) and it was a total standing, grind-fest for the first 2 miles up and down these crazy climbs.  I got caught at the top of the last hill, which didn’t surprise me at all but then really pushed hard on the downhill and got away again.  One of the things that is really awesome about my Quintana Roo CD0.1 bike is that it is soooo super aero. Riding downhill I am able to stay with people much heavier than me- which rocks going downhill in races. Thank sooo much to Skip at Nytro for helping me with my bike..Nytro does so much for the triathlon world- they rock!!  http://www.nytro.com/

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I had the new Altair profile design wheels on and they rode super fast too- very happy with them and an AMAZING value if anyone is in the market. Also had the new Profile Design Volna Aero bars for the first time- which literally have taken 1.5 pounds off my bike- amazing how much aerobars matter!! I had no idea!!

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http://www.profile-design.com/profile-design/products/aerobars/carbon-aerobars

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….Anyways, I got to the front of the bike race by the middle of the first loop, but it took me quite a while to catch Bree Wee- who was in first most of the bike. Super strong cyclist and super fun person…and awesome picture of her racing a cow on the rev3tri.com site:  http://rev3tri.com/live-posts/pro-bike-action-photos/ganadores-2/  With about 8 miles to go, I started to get really really hot. This is when I learned my second lesson of the day.  Remove the vent block in my Rudy Project Wingspan aero helmet when it is 97 degrees out…you think I would have figured this out by now.  The Wingspan has this great design where you can interchange the vent space pieces depending on the weather:

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    Check out all the massive vent area if you freaking remove the cover!!

But obviously there is user error if you don’t actually use this great function =)  So my head was getting very hot – I decided to start singing to myself. I figured this might take my mind off the fire burning under my helmet…so what better song to sing than “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers:

I came into T1 first off the bike with about 30 seconds- so figured I had some time to put on some socks…and Yes, I am the only pro I know who wears socks in an Olympic distance race….

Run

I was fairly confident that I was one of the faster runners in the field but you never want to be too confident of anything so I definitely tried to get into a comfortable cruise rhythm pretty quickly- not too fast, not too slow.  The one issue I was having was the heat but three things saved me:

1-      Lots of salt the night before. This is a trick that a lot of pro use…I literally drowned my food in salt the night before a hot race and have not had a cramp since doing this..(but no guarantees!)

2-      Hammer Endurolytes and Hammer Heed- such great products and such a great product company!!  Being a biochemistry major and a med student, I have researched nutrition products a lot and I am absolutely convinced that Hammer has the best stuff- which is why Team IE only uses Hammer.    There are several specific reasons for the superiority of these products…I am doing a full write up on hammer products this week so check out the TEAM IE blog this week for more details on this if you are interested:  http://teamieelite.blogspot.com/

3-      CARRY  YOUR WATER WHEN IT IS HOT!!  Big deal.  Mark Lorenzoni and Dana Thiele of Ragged mountain racing have repeatedly pointed out to me how Ryan hall carries his water bottle with him away from the bottle station for miles after pickup- while all of his competitors take a few sips and drop the bottle.  This is a big deal when it is hot and water can be a major unrecognized resource on the run.  Water on your head – also very important to keep core temps down in hot weather- use water however you can on the run to stay cool. Once core temps rise, trouble ensues so you have to prevent against this.

The run was super hot, hilly and a significant portion was in the sand so it was epic.  After the first loop of the two loop course I could tell I was pulling away pretty comfortably so I tried as much as I could to back it down. No need to burn any more matches than you have to in March.  However, I was getting super hot and just wanted to stop running so I think my mind and body were battling with what pace they wanted to run…

Mind:  “Slow down, chill out, don’t be stupid, do what you do best- chiiiilllll”

Body: “Just hurry up and finish, this kind of sucks, hot, painful, don’t slow down – I just want to lay down- get there so we can lay down and eat”

Funny- because usually the mind and body have the opposite conversation; I think they met in the middle this time.

Crossing the finish line for my first pro win was huge- I was so happy that it was at a Rev3 event too.  The race director and event directors are such warm, nice, caring people. I had a blast with them.  Thanks so incredibly much to my genius genius coach Greg Mueller!!!

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Thanks to Champion Systems for making the best suits in the world! Cant wait for the new pink one I just got!

Lastly, here are some cool interviews and videos  on me at the race:

Thanks for all your cheers!!

Nicole

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Dallas- Short and not so sweet

5 Oct

Terrible race…Just not back in shape from my hip injury and then 3 week long sickness- time to take a break- time to get body back together with eating pizza, drinking beer and laying around!! No more race reports until next year…

LA Tri

28 Sep

photo by Kevin Koresky of FLMSTri.com

LA has been a great trip because I have gotten to hang out with my dad, brother and brother’s girlfriend- the weather is ridiculous here, I met a very cool homestay triathlete from west hollywood and I always love going to the conejo valley multisport masters swim group here. We are missing Wes though!

As far as the race, I am still on the upswing after being sick for 3 weeks so I am looking forward to continuing to get stronger going into Dallas next week. LA is defiantly a swimmer’s race I believe- the swim was very choppy and some notable surf- nothing like year but still very challenging. The majority (middle 2/3rds) of the course is only marked with corner buoys without any sighting buoys along the way so it is really hard to sight off anything in the water- this was a major issue for me and the swim pack I was in – (we resorted to breaststroke more than once)- Definitely a course for the open water swimmers…

After the swim I was pretty far behind- more so that usual – I pushed the bike and was happy to catch a few people but the swim really took me out of it and I was still way back after the bike so I decided to cruise the run and save my legs for Dallas next weekend. The run was actually fun as I got to interact with people on the course and my family who was there to watch. I am looking forward to next weekend and Dallas and continuing on the upswing from here…

The big story of the weekend was really superstar Kaleb- who was 3rd at Elite Nationals!!! Ridiculous!!

Looking forward to having fun at Dallas!!

The Hy-vee Triathlon

14 Sep

Well, as far as a race report, I don’t have too much to say. I woke up Wed before the race with the flu and just got over it a few days ago (10+ days) so my race was definitely not what I expected. I was very disappointed about the bad timing of getting sick but I was actually proud of myself for even doing as well as I did considering how I felt and I didn’t feel like I gave up mentally even though my body was not cooperating. I finished 20th out of 30- at least 10 spots back from where I expected to be on a regular day- but these things happen and all in all I was happy with my mental toughness to get through the race. Next time my luck will be different and my preparation will show itself. (I flatted in New York 3 weeks ago after having my best start out of the water by far- so I am now due for some good luck!!)

What I do what to talk about it how much Hy-vee is doing for our sport. The event was unbelievable. I couldn’t have imagined a more spectacular production in my wildest dreams- they had fireworks at the start and end, the gin blossoms played a concert for the event, there was great TV coverage of the event- it was just unbelievable. I was so happy just to stand on that pontoon with the entire city of Des Moines there to support us- I didn’t even care that I was sick – I was just so happy to be there and have that experience. The money that Hy-vee provides for the pros is an awesome display of how supportive they are of our sport- they are actually changing pros lives for the entire year or more- making it so we don’t have to work side jobs and can focus on training. That event is single handedly changing the lives of the 30 people there- it is really an amazing thing that one race can support our careers and our sport so incredibly well. I am very grateful to Hy-vee, the people of DesMoines and the incredible volunteers. I can’t imagine that there is anything close to this in the world- maybe Kona is as spectacular but even that is quite hard to imagine. THANK YOU HY-VEE!! I cannot wait to be back next year, 100% healthy and ready to enjoy the entire event!! Thank you!!

Giant Eagle Triathlon- 2nd Place

1 Aug

 Just got back from Columbus, OH- which is an awesome city.  Another 2nd place by just 9 seconds….still seeking that elusive win this year… Hereis a great play by play of the race on slowtwitch:  http://www.slowtwitch.com/News/Yoder_Parker_top_Giant_Eagle_Triathlon_2227.html

I posted the fastest bike and second fastest run- which was great. The bike was flat and super-fast with great road surfaces for the most part and very few turns at all.  The run was somewhat of a struggle for me because I haven’t started my run training yet going into Hyvee and I didn’t back off at all this week from the intense bike training I have been doing.  I definitely felt my training load and lack of speed workouts on the run more than anything- but I was happy to hold it together and I am excited to be where I am at right now and I wouldn’t have changed anything- I know I am in the right spot for right now.  Having patience and the right timing is so incredibly important in this sport. 

However, my swim was really quite crap (10th best and 1:40 back from the leader!) and I am going to have to figure out what in the world is going on. I know I am never going to be a world-class swimmer but my losses seem to be getting worse as the season progresses. I am pretty sure I have a technique issue that needs to be addressed so I am going to do some video tape work this week to try and figure out what in the world I am doing under the water.  I have started swimming more in the last few weeks than I ever have and I know I am strong and fit- so either pacing or a technique issue is the smoking gun…it is hard to lose a triathlon in the swim but that seems to be what I am managing to do. I have seen glimpses of myself as a great swimmer during certain sets in practice and I have had races where I have been much closer to the front but I need to translate that more often.  A lot of pro triathletes come from great swim backgrounds but most age groupers come from bike and run backgrounds so I know there are a lot of folks out there who can relate.  I am excited for the work ahead and to improve from here…

 The triathlon was very cool.  The race was a point to point that started in a park outside the city and ended next to the baseball stadium in downtown Columbus. It definitely had a great local feel to it and the race director was quite responsive to athlete concerns.  They did a great job for the first year and I am sure it will continue to be even better as the race grows in the future.  They have the best road surfaces for the bike that I have seen yet this year for big city races.  Thanks to volunteers and directors for a great first race!!

Philly Triathlon- 4th place

28 Jun


This past weekend was the philly triathlon. This is one of the coolest race courses on the circuit. The swim is a point to point, the bike is a hilly 2 lap course right through the most beautiful parts of philly and the run is an easy, flat double loop that is mostly shaded…amazing!

I was happy with my race and effort. I defiantely need to perk up my swimming a bit though. I was about 40 seconds further down than I usually am (the lead girls got to draft off the men because we started together and that front pack cut the last buoy- bummer for me who stopped and redirected myself around that last buoy =( ) Starting a little further back after the swim was tough on this course because it is so turny and hilly that you can’t see anyone up the road. Nonetheless, I had a similar bike in terms of watts to last week – which means I was hammering the bike- and my run was better than last week I thought. The run was cool under the shade and temps were in the 70s- perfect for a fast day. The top 3 women broke the course record so it was evident that conditions were perfect. All in all a good day putting me second in the series now- I am definitely consistent if nothing else! My coach and I have some new things to try for swimming and time to go back and work on that now… There is always something to work on when you are doing 3 sports. Next race I will have Wes there too- which always seems to be a lucky charm for me!!

At the end of the day, I would highly recommend this race because of the unique and beautiful course, especially if you like hills!

Washington DC Race Report- 2nd Place

22 Jun


Maybe it is all about the bike?

So this weekend I came 2nd behind a formidable Alicia Kaye by 30 seconds even. I was really pleased with this result and even more pleased that I learned a ton about myself and about strategy. Greg has been telling me to hammer the bike but I am not quite sure I understood what that meant before this weekend. I’ve been swimming and biking a lot more in the past two weeks and it really paid off during the race. Unfortunately I still ended up swimming alone for most of the 1500m but I emerged only about 1 minute down from the leaders. Getting on the bike I was quite far back in about 15th place – this field seemed to be very heavy with super-swimmers and I passed only a few people in the first lap of the bike. Then I had this moment of revelation- about ¾ of the way into the first bike lap I thought to myself, “What if I tried to pretend this was a 40k TT all out with no run afterwards?? Maybe I should just see what happens?”

I have never really bonked on a run in triathlon before- I actually think this is my greatest strength. When it is hot or freezing or I drop my water bottle and have no water or lose my nutrition or it is terrible conditions- I can always hang on in the run while most of the field falls apart around me. This strength has caused me to probably over-perform in several races already (like 3rd at USAT elite nationals last year behind Laura Bennett and Sarah Groff in my first ever ITU race- of course I wasn’t at that level yet but it happened to be 95 degrees when we started the run….so the entire field came back to me) How can I leverage that strength in races when it is not 100 degrees out? I think drilling the bike may be the answer for me and a unique asset of my physiology? Or maybe this is what everyone does in Olympic distance racing and I just caught on for the first time last week..? Either way- it worked.

Anyways, so I took the risk and went really hard on the bike. Wes was there giving me split times away from the leaders every time I saw him and that was super helpful- he knew exactly what I needed and just kept telling me to keep hammering. Thanks Wes!!! Barry, Cathy and the young family were also there cheering me on which was incredible. I posted the fastest bike split by 30 seconds and put myself right behind the leaders going into the run. My run was probably 30-45 seconds slower than it has been but I still had the second fastest run split and I am waiting to train up my run until we get closer to big races later in the season. I still ended up way ahead of the game at the end of the day with an awesome result for me at this point- I didn’t bonk on the run and I finally learned how to utilize what I have known for a while is a strength in a race. I just can’t wait to put all the pieces together when the time comes…how exciting!! Having a great race and learning something that you can use in future races is the best feeling ever!!!

I think the take away point that everyone can use is: Try to identify your strengths. Maybe they are a little unconventional and a little more specific than, “I am a good swimmer.” Maybe they seem situational and difficult to leverage but then keep thinking about it and brainstorming creative ideas to use your strengths. It wasn’t obvious to me at first, but now I see it clearly. Just keep meditating on it and it will come to you eventually. Then you will know the most successful strategy for you…