2012 USA Winter Triathlon Nationals, Homestake Lodge, Montana
The race: USAT Winter Triathlon Nationals (also Powderhound Winter Triathlon)
Location: Homestake Lodge, Montana
Distances: 5k run, 10k mountain bike, 5k skate ski
Overall time: 1:21:22
Place: 2nd female, 9th overall
Salomon Spikecross 3 CS trail shoes – Mud and snow grip, climate shield upper, spikes for ice
Salomon windproof tights – slim fitting and light but also windproof, great for winter riding, running and Nordic skiing
I’m not always in the best mood when I wake up race morning.
Especially when I realize I forgot to update my USADA whereabouts this weekend. I have to let USADA (US Anti Doping Association) know where I am every day three months in advance (pretty sure this is near impossible for anyone to do accurately.)
Due to the race being moved from New Hampshire due to lack of snow I wasn’t planning on going to this race 3 months ago. Enough about that, it was a quick fix thanks to free wifi, something plentiful in Butte, Montana
My mood quickly shifted when I was given a free espresso from Leah at Beans and Cream, a drive thru coffee joint outside the Motel 6 we’d camped out in for the past two nights.
Today would be a good day.
We’d been treated with nothing but hospitality since we’d set foot in Butte – an old copper mining town resting on the edge of the Continental Divide, at one point it provided a third of the worlds copper supply and was certainly a booming town around the 1920s.
“Notice how everyone at the bar said bye when we left the restaurant?”
An observation from my pre-race dinner at the historic Pekin Noodle House in Downtown Butte, a family run Chinese restaurant that’s been in business for more than 100 years. Rumor is it used to be an old Opium Parlor.
The race was about 30 minutes east of Butte at Homestake Lodge – a private and scenic Nordic Center tucked away off of a Forest Service road. There too, we’d been made to feel like family. Homemade soup and cookies, and one of the nicest waxing facilities I’ve seen.
Chris the owner, had been up almost the whole night marking the course and shoveling snow over some thin spots on the course.
After setting up transition and a quick pre race meeting, the race was off and running – literally, a fast 5k out-and-back on groomed trails.
Having only seen part of the run course I opted to race in my brand-new Spikecross trail shoes from Salomon. A cardinal tri rule broken I know but I was more than happy with my decision. The shoes, similar to the Speedcross but with spikes on the bottom, meant I could run on any surface with confidence, especially black ice.
I lead for the first mile with Rebecca Dussault tucked in behind me and Nicole not far off. Soon Rebecca took lead with myself and Nicole side by side.
I tried to focus on finding the firmest snow on the trail although there were times when post-holing was the only option. By the time we headed back up a long hill to T1 Rebecca had broken away but not out of sight.
5ks are always short and hard, making a quick and smooth transition after challenging.
Off on the bike – Nicole was in front of me as she’d passed me in transition.
I’d guessed on the bike course too, I was under the impression it was firm, and ran a fairly high tire pressure for winter tri (15 psi.) After a descent into the valley I found out otherwise. Temperatures had been much warmer than anticipated the night before making the snow sugary and easy to punch through. I did just that on the first gradual uphill. Not really losing much time pushing my bike instead of riding but definitely losing time trying to get back on.
I could see Nicole up ahead which gave me an idea of the terrain. I never had to dismount again which was a relief.
I came into T2 in 2nd place with no sight of Rebecca and the chances of me catching her on the ski would be slim.
The ski was a challenging 5k. The trails at Homestake were nice and narrow with lots of cornering and steep up and downhills – a sure advantage to those with a skiing background, but something that’s not a rarity in Montana.
Came across the line in 2nd.
I was sandwiched between two Olympians, Rebecca in Nordic skiing and Nicole in cycling ( I spent a week with her in Finland last year for the 2011 Winter Tri World Championship but she still hasn’t told me.) Proving our point you can tell who the fast athletes are because of their modestly. I feel I let the top 3 down by not being an Olympic runner or something.
All three of us were on Specialized bikes and Rebecca and I were both using Salomon shoes and skis.
It was cool to see Mike Wolfe, perhaps the best ultrarunner in the country and Montana local, win the men’s race.
Nothing tasted better post race than a bowl of homemade chili and bread rolls from the hard-working kitchen crew at the lodge before awards.
A good day done – thanks to all who supported, and thanks for reading!