Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Brazil 70.3

I wanted to race again this season for many reasons....

(1) I have been riding a new bike, the Quintana Roo CDO1 for a month and really wanted to race on it ( how fast would I be on the bike? How would I run off the bike?)
(2) Also, during my last half in June (Buffalo Springs) I was still tired from IM Brazil and did not perform well in my mind. I have not raced as much this year - to be honest it has been a bit overwhelming at times balancing family, training, coaching and Rev3 - so I was eager to get out there in a race situation and see where I was at.
(3) Brazil is an amazing country and the people are very friendly.
(4) I have known the race director for some time, so when he invited me to the do the half I decided to go. Carlos is the same Race Director that puts on the full (IM Brazil) and his team does a phenomenal job with race production.
(5) Coach Paul has me racing with a Heart Rate Monitor which I have never liked – I just like to go on feel with nothing telling me to slow up or go faster.

Traveling to Brazil for the second time this year proved to be a much smoother process than the first go around (I had a Visa this time – haha - read my past blog post....) The flight was smooth, my friend Ana Borba picked me up at the airport and we were on our way - of course you can’t seem to travel these days without any mishaps ! The airline lost my bag in San Paulo but and were supposed to deliver it to Florianopolis where we were staying for the night before the long drive to the city to Phena some two hours away where the race takes place. I speak enough Spanish to get by but most of the people in the very small town of Phena speak portugese - thankfully Ana was there to translate for me. I must say having dinner with a group is interesting when you don’t have any idea what they are saying but pick up on body language and laughing.??

Amusement Park Race Venue !!

Fun Atmosphere all-around !!

(Ana and I - thanks for all your Help interpreting !!!)

When Ana was not around, I would try to get by with a few Spanish words, lots of random pointing and few gestures. I learned a few things are considered universal, the biggest of which is a smile!
If we could not understand each other a smile would often work .... or if that didn’t seem to get the job done I would just take the empty toilet paper roll to the front desk and motion for more !!!! Sometimes you just need to be creative.

In many 70.3 races the pro’s start ahead of the field, yet here in Brazil it was a mass start and a mass smash fest !! The positive thing I will take away is that the Hawaiian Ironman start should feel easy compared to this. I swam well for me against many ITU girls – exiting the water 3 minutes back/ mid pack. I felt great on the new CD01 and was putting the hammer down trying to track down the women in front.

It was basically a three loop bike course with six out and backs - and you could see your competition which I love. As I moved in to fourth I could see second and third place in front of me, Vanessa Gianinni and Pamela Tastets working together. I couldn’t believe it – was this an ITU Race? I shouldn’t have been shocked as I have seen drafting before but this was wheel to wheel not even trying to look semi spread out with a few bike lengths. They continued to take turns pulling and when Vanessa was behind she got pulled over for drafting and received a five minute penalty. As I passed Pamela she jumped on my wheel. Its hard to drop a decent rider when they are on your wheel so I slowed up, dropped back 15 meters and waited until I could sprint by, gapping her. I was pleased as I eventually passed Carla Moreno on loop two (she beat me at Buffalo Springs in June). I was happy to be leading the race but knew I had two very fast ITU runners behind, so I kept pushing the pace.

I was not sure how I would run off the new bike (I had done several bricks but nothing is the same as a race) but my legs felt pretty good. I did not see Carla at the run turnaround and Vanessa was 4:30 back so she had made up a minute plus after serving her drafting penalty. Calculating the distance I thought to myself I had better get moving – in the end Vanessa simply had the better run today. I was disappointed that I eventually got passed in the last mile of the run but I felt great on the bike and learned a lot today – things I can apply to my upcoming Ironman in Hawaii. I plan to do lots of bricks and get used to running off the new bike position before Kona.

One of many Post Race Interviews

I am Thankful to all of those who helped me along the path to race day including my great sponsors: Trakkers, K-Swiss, Quintana Roo, First Endurance, Fuel Belt, Gu, Village Bikes, Zipp, Oakley, Lifesport and the Center 4Massage – you are the Best!!A special note of appreciation to my interpreter and companion Ana and the Race Director Carlos for having me !!


  1. Hope you had time to make it to a Brazilian Churrascaria. Nothing like the real thing....

  2. Great job heather!!! I can't believe those girls were drafting so badly? Too bad they couldn't be expelled from the race??!!! You will ROCK Hawaii!!!

  3. Congrats! Sounds like you had a great race. I'm sure you will kick major butt in Kona!

  4. Awesome job, Heather and terrific race report!!! I am really pulling for you in Kona! It's getting close! Ya-hoo!!!!

  5. It is weird to see you with something other than a pink bike....I'm just sayin'.... :D

    And that drafting deal is just BAD! Good for you for dropping back, letting them go, then sprinting by and leaving them behind. Woohoo!