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15 September 2012 @ 09:28 pm
Race Report: Kokopelli Olympic 2012  
So I had a not-perfect race today. It wasn't bad. But it wasn't what I hoped it would be. I struggled with sighting on the swim. I was in the wrong gear wheel for most of the bike and didn't notice until it occurred to me that there might be something wrong with the fact that I couldn't pedal on gentle downhills. The run went well, and was my favorite part of the race. This is not my normal experience. I usually like the swim, but it felt interminable.. And I usually like the bike, but I kept thinking I had a flat and almost ran off into a ditch.

Things I Learned:

1. I hate chip sealed roads. I get it that they are cheaper and that cars don't care. I get it that roads are mostly for cars. Nonetheless, do we have to make all of our choices based on cars and push bikes further and further away? In our community, even the bike trails are moving toward having speed limits, which forces the expert cyclists (even the ones commuting) back out on the freeway. Please, let's think about what "Share the Road" really means.

2. There is a temperature at which I do not like to wear a wetsuit. The limit is 78 F and this water was 77F. Legally, we were allowed to wear wetsuits for the race (speaking of legality in terms of USAT rules). But I was too hot and that was not fun. This has never happened to me before, that I felt too warm in a wetsuit.

3. I like medals and awards, but I can get over the need to have outward symbols of my accomplishments. At this race, because of some circumstances that do not make sense to me, I ended up being moved out of the age group awards, but I was fourth overall, so out of the medals. I would have beaten the next closest woman in my age group by 25 minutes, but I didn't count. And you know what? It niggles a bit, but I'm a big girl. I know what I did.

4. Pain from something unrelated to the race makes my threshhold for race pain lower. I wasn't sick and I didn't have an injury, but nonetheless, the pain distracted my brain and probably hindered me.

5. Because I was in the "open division," I was unable to see my competition in other divisions. While it was nice not having to pass people contantly (and sometimes be passed), I am frustrated by the fact that most non-Ironman races start people in separate waves, dividing them by age and gender. I do not want to be separated by age and gender. I want to see my competitors. Although I am over 40 and a woman, I want to be able to see which men are ahead of me. I want to compete with them on an even field. I want to compete with women much younger than I am and the assumptions that the race organizers make about my capabilities annoy me. I am sure that this is not as bad as it could be, but it's one way to point to the prejudices that inform our everyday decisions. When you tell people they cannot compete, you make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.