I was looking forward to starting the 2007 Season at the Pucon Chile ½ Ironman. It is a great early season race to test your fitness level. This super hilly race had me a little nervous coupled with the fact that the women’s field was very deep including Lisa Bentley (3rd at Ironman Hawaii) Desiree Ficker (2nd at Ironman Hawaii) and American Kim Loeffler.
I had been to Chile two times and was looking forward to a Holiday. Todd and I needed some time together and some rest and relaxation. This race is nice as all the athletes are put up in the same Hotel and we share meals, it’s a great time to see friends. Todd enjoys hanging out with Lisa’s (i.e. Summer Roberts) husband Dave, he’s as cordial as she is.
Our trip was pretty smooth, but the long flights are always hard. We went Tampa to Miami to Santiago to Temuco to our final destination Pucon. Pucon reminds me very much of a small quaint town in Colorado with the Mountains, beautiful water and endless adventures (climbing the Volcano, rafting, canopy) it’s an outdoor paradise.
The race is great if you traveled far or are not a morning person as it starts at 9:00am. I welcomed the chance to sleep in and then race. It was a beautiful cool day but my stomach was going crazy from nerves in the morning. I couldn’t believe that it felt like ages since I raced, but I was ready. I had done a lot of treadmill workouts to prepare for the hilly run. My goal was to get out on the swim and then just go as hard as I could the entire race. I set a goal of besting my previous Pucon Times.
I had a fantastic swim coming out of the water with a pack of pro men. I knew I was the second female but I didn’t know who was in front. Spectators were screaming and the only words I picked up were “dos” + “chica.” I biked hard and passed Nidia Kondratavicius at around 15k - at the turn-around it was myself, Nidia, Lisa, then Kim and Desiree. I wanted to stay in front as long as I could and pushed the pedals hard.
I also concentrated on fueling myself more as my notes from last year indicated I ran out of gas with a lack of fuel. I got off the bike in the lead and was anxious to see my lead, my bike was three minutes faster than last year. It is a three loop run course so you get a chance to see competitors six times. At the first turn-around it was Kim then Lisa then Desiree. All looked to be running strong but I was feeling great as well. This was going to be exciting, Kim and Lisa exchanged places a few times with them both gaining on me.
Lisa caught me with about 1.5-2k to go and I stuck with her for as long as I could - I had to dig deep. I ended up eleven seconds behind Lisa for second with Kim third and Desiree fourth. I was thrilled as I was almost twelve minutes faster than last year. This marked improvement is an indication that I am heading toward an exciting 2007 Season.
I want to thank all of my wonderful sponsors: Village Bike Shop in Sarasota, The Luna Tri Chix Team, Sugoi, Orbea, Adidas Cycling Footwear, Giro Helmets, Selle Italia Saddles, Blue Seventy Wetsuits, Wigwam and William at the Center 4 Recovery (my massage therapist)