What a weekend! In other words, “Pura Vida!” as the locals down in Costa Rica would say. As I’m slowly re-settling into being back home where the sun comes up/goes down a little later and there’s a bit more hub-bub than in Guanacaste, I’ve had some time to reflect on the overall trip. This was my kick-off race for the season; thanks to REV3 and my dad of course, it did not disappoint!
We got into Liberia, Costa Rica on Thursday around lunch time and were welcomed with open arms by 40mph winds and mid 90 temperatures. It was so windy that I had to keep a firm grip on the bike box while waiting for the rental car shuttle so that it wouldn’t roll away from me. “Well, we can just fore-go the race and start drinking!” was my dad’s reaction to the situation. Needless to say, I was a tad nervous at that point for what the weekend would have in store. I tried not to let it get the best of me and simply focused on the next leg of the journey – driving in a foreign country and finding this resort.
With my dad’s mad navigation skills, we safely arrived at the beautiful resort. As soon as we got there, I was intent on putting that bike back together. My fiance is usually my traveling bike mechanic but since this was a daddy/daughter trip, I needed to jump that hurdle on my own this time. With Clint’s amazing tutorial sessions, the company of one of the resort workers, and my dad’s strong grip, I got her back together in no time and breathed a sigh of relief. I was so proud of myself that I went to the lovely resort pool to relax for a bit. Isn’t it pretty?!
For the next few days, Dad made quite a few friends while hanging out at the pool and I relaxed, did some pre-race workouts, and tried to prep for Sunday. Here’s a little of the scenery we enjoyed:
Race morning came early since the sun rises there at 5:30am. We were lined up just before 6am and running into that water just a few minutes later. I’ve spent a lot of time in the water lately to try to be able to keep some feet in the swim to be a part of the coveted swim draft. So my goal for the race was to keep up with at least someone! I was a bit apprehensive about the swim prior to the race because when I went to pre-swim on Friday, it was still quite windy and every stroke I’d take, the waves would carry me way up, making it very challenging to cover any kind of ground (or water, technically!). By the time Sunday came around, the wind had died down a bit and the race directors had changed the direction of the loops so we weren’t going against the current quite so much. It was an aggressive start but a few minutes in, I found myself still hanging on. After 1 loop, we ran out and jumped right back in for the final loop. The pack had spread out a bit at this point so I had to work myself back up to some feet but was able to and finished amongst quite a few girls.
Again, I was a bit nervous about the bike because of the wind and my pre-ride on Saturday unveiled some mighty hills for the first couple of miles going out of the resort. My mentality once I hopped on the bike was to just keep pedaling and stay relaxed. After a little jaunt in some unpaved road, I started tackling those climbs. I chose not to start my heart rate monitor until after I was on top for fear that the high numbers might cause a little bit of anxiety. I made it to the top and then just started into a rhythm. With 3 u-turns on each loop and some decent long/steady climbs, it was certainly a challenging and technical course. I kept my head down and just kept working and changed a few places – both up and down throughout the ride but ended up in 5th place off the bike.
I ran my way up to 4th place within the first mile or so which took us back out on the beach. Needless to say, that loose sand isn’t the easiest to run on but I conquered it as best as possible and tried to settle into a good quick cadence while staying relaxed. After the first loop, I kicked it in a bit and was able to move up another place into 3rd around mile 4 or so. I was determined to make that gap a little bigger but it seemed to stay steady throughout those last few miles. The course took us back out to the beach for the finish and then I was handed a coconut milk to celebrate!
The top 3 ladies – Nicole Kelleher, Bree Wee, and I all congratulated each other, were interviewed, and then spent some time in the ice buckets! The REV3 team put on an outstanding race and topped it off with some very cool custom carved wooden trophies and awesome medals.
What a wonderful way to end an awesome trip! It was truly unforgettable; I’d highly recommend a destination race like that. We met so many people ranging from outstanding and inspirational athletes to very kind locals and fun travelers from all over. Of course there are always lessons to be learned from every race you do. Case in point – I had a little mishap and dropped my watch on the bike to run transition…valuable time was lost having to turn around for it. Overall though, I was pleased with my performance and am looking forward to hopefully improving on the next go round. Thanks again to REV3 for a great experience and my dad for making the journey happen!