Sunday, December 8, 2013

MaccaX Nevis Triathlon Race week!

Macca X Triathlon

Back to back race weekends.   I love it!  This was an opportunity for me to adapt to the heat more and smash it after a disappointing race in Miami.  I was fired up.  It was only Monday and this race could not come soon enough.  I guess I should start with the week in Nevis leading up to the inaugural MaccaX triathlon.

It was great to be a part of the inaugural race and get to see what potential this race has.  Especially with the island of Nevis.  I can just picture next year with a MaccaX camp like Miami, except we would take over the island of Nevis.  With just 400 rooms the island could be a triathlon haven, imagine a whole island over run with triathletes!  The locals were unbelievable nice, to the point where you questioned if they were told to be so nice, but it was just the island way.  Incredibly supportive of the race and so helpful you really felt welcome.

Sunday was the Miami Man race, and Mondays event was the travel to Nevis St Kitts.  Luckily from Miami its an easy trip, a 3 hour flight and 40 min boat ride.  I met Macca and Scott at the airport along with a couple other interesting people.  Along for the ride was Kendall Macca’s Under Armor rep (who also reps George St Pierre!) and the CEO of tourism for Nevis St. Kitts - Greg (who made the trip so much easier).  Kendall was here because Under Armor was generously sponsoring the race with a lot of sweet prizes and they were doing a photo shoot on the island with Macca. 

The flight over was uneventful, compression geared to my eyeballs, I had a row to myself so proceeded to stretch out over 3 seats and sleep the flight over.   I wasn’t the only one, it was a late post race night.

We arrived on the island of St. Kitts, the bigger of the two islands.  Luckily Greg was along on that flight because Kendall and I had no idea how to get us and our luggage over to Nevis (as you know travelling with a bike box is always so easy and hassle free…right…).  Scott and Macca were staying at the Four Season Nevis, and they take care of you, carrying you and luggage from the airport to the boat, docking right at the hotel!  Greg convinced the Four seasons to take Kendall and I along for the ride and then drove us to our hotels, 1st class service! (figuring out things are a bit easier when you’re with the big names).

Well we hop on the boat over from St. Kitts to Nevis, and first things first are handed some rum punch. I like this place already!  The first thing you notice is the breathtaking view of the two islands.  Its incredibly lush and green, and you look towards Nevis to see a volcanic peak disappearing in the clouds.  We were assured the volcano had been inactive for some time… Macca regaled us with a story of a swim race between the two island, approximately Ironman swim distance between.  I didn't realize how far 3800m was until seeing the distance point to point between the islands.

Left to right Greg, Kendall, Me, Macca, Scott

Didn't look real it was so beautiful

Had the beach to myself most days!

On the ride over was chatting with Greg and he asked where I was staying…now the last thing you want to hear when you say the name of your hotel is a near disgusted “Oh…Um is there any way you would to stay somewhere else?”  Oh crap.  Now I’m pretty cheap with travel and have stayed in some sketchy places I figure I’m just sleeping there the rest of the time I’ll be training or on the beach, how bad could it be?  It was pretty bad.  Beautiful view but pretty sketchy all around.  I got one towel and 1 roll of toiled paper for the week, and the shower dripped without letting up the whole week.  Little did I know how my hotel choice would affect race day.
The view made up for a lot

It may not have been so bad if I hadn't seen the luxury of the Four Seasons first.  3 pools, beach front cabanas and umbrella's with service right to your lounging chair.  It backed on to a stunning golf course filled with Monkeys (cant believe I didn't see a single monkey!).  

This is definitely a race to come to end of season, bring the family and enjoy a beach vacation.  Golfing, boat rides, Sea-doos, hiking, scuba diving and miles of empty beach front make it the perfect place to relax after a long season.  

I had a week to acclimate to the heat and take in the stunning island.  I was hoping the time would help my body adjust after it was obviously not ready for the heat in Miami.  The good news was because I put out such low power on the bike, and ran slower than I do in my long easy runs I wasn't sore or fatigued at all from Miami.  So I didn't have to worry about recovering in time just needed to keep the legs moving and spend tons of time by the pool adjusting to the heat ;)

A gallon of sunscreen and a good book in my favourite chair by the pool - key to heat acclimation success
On of the must do's on the island is Scuba Diving!  I've never been before and really wanted to give it a try.  Slightly terrified and very excited I got my lesson in Scuba Diving on the boat and before I knew it was weighed down with a tank and vest.  I was all ready to go...until it came to jumping off the boat...I think I stood there for about an eternity (in reality about a minute) with them urging me to jump.  I've always had a bit of a fear of water that I've been forced to overcome with this triathlon madness, and don't think I would have been able to jump in if it hadn't been for learning how to swim the last year.  Crazy that I was this scared to jump in, when in a few days I would be doing my first ocean swim without the protection of a wetsuit.  Once I got in though, it was magic.  Scott was a pro at this and snapping pictures with his GoPro as we went, Macca hadn't been in about a decade but you'd never know.  I followed along, making sure not to get lost but it was unreal being down there.  We saw so much, a sea turtle, little sharks, lobsters tons of sea life.  I soon forgot how far under water I was, just enamoured with the experience.  Next year I expect to fill a boat with MaccaX members and share this experience with the team!

Macca & Scott

Going down trying not to freak out
Forgot to be scared, just lost in an underwater world

 The next couple days were heaven after a long season.  Fantastic swims in the Sea, its really a lot easier to convince myself to do open water swims when they involve swim/beach lounging bricks :)  The golf course was great to run along, and I could feel that I was slowly adjusting to the heat.  I needed about 10 gallons of sunscreen (give or take) as much as I love the sun it doesn't love my redhead skin.  The roads were a little rough but everyone gave you plenty of space as they passed, you never felt like an inconvenience, and there were no crazy drivers trying to run you off the road.  I wandered into town and found the Nevis bakery a great place for a leisurely breakfast and some tasty sweets.  I was not hating the Caribbean laid back environment.

Next up on the agenda was an unexpected radio interview, definitely a first for me.  Live on Von Radio in Nevis chatting about what the MaccaX triathlon brought to the island and plans for the future.  I think the DJ forgot my name, I became Ms. Canada half way through the interview :p  Team MaccaX got a lot of attention as Macca talked about how he wants to take over the island with our team next year.  You think the camps have been fun this year, I'm telling you having an island of our own would be ridiculous!

Yea this didn't suck
 Ok a little bit about the island course.  Specifically the bike ride, it was going to be epic.  The bike course is two laps around the island, 60km approximately, with a wicked 5km climb called anaconda hill you get to tackle twice - beauty :).  The rest of the race is Olympic distance with a 1500m swim and 10k run.  I haven't done an Olympic distance race yet because the swim is too long in relation to the other two and I don't have enough distance to make up for it with the bike and run.  With a longer hard bike ride this race would play to my strengths, I couldn't wait to tackle it.

 Plan was to head out on the bike course with Macca and Jane to check out this Anaconda hill everyone was talking about.  Unfortunately it was a ride plagued with flat tires.  First up was Jane she flatted half way up the hill.  Luckily some of the locals were nice enough to pick up her and her bike and bring her back to the hotel.  We head back opting for lunch instead of a bike ride, turns out on the way back Macca got a flat, and I would later find out my tire developed a slow leak that had it flat by the time I got back to my hotel.  3 riders went out, 3 flat tires came back.  Uh oh.

Aborted race course recon
Managed to change out the tire, I'm getting good at this and do a bit more cruising around, but it was close enough to the race I didn't want to tackle a whole loop and tire out my legs so just got a sense for the constantly undulating bike course and got more excited because it was feeling so good.

The race was on Saturday November 16th and before I knew it, it was the day before race day.  I was  pumped for this race, I was feeling on top of my game and then some in the training I was doing.  Barely noticing the heat anymore, and legs felt fired up. The pre race fun continued with the requisite pasta party!  Race bags were handed out, followed by short speeches by Macca and Greg then we got down to the fun of the race briefing.  Nothing too crazy here, just don't screw up the order and you should be ok.

Then came race night...this is where things got rough.

Where I was staying there was a restaurant on the other side of the wall of my room.  I figured it wouldn't be a problem, as the cook was out of town so the restaurant had been closed the whole time I was there.  Well the night before the race there was an event going down, a freaking DJ contest!!  So I get back from the pasta party, planning on an early evening and my whole room is vibrating to the pounding bass of the speakers on the other side of the wall about a foot from my head.  To the point the roof sounded like it was going to collapse and the room shook.  I laid out my race gear on the kitchen table before I left, half of it was on the floor from vibrating off.  This was insane.

Needless to say I didn't get much sleep the night before the race.  But I was determined to not let it get to my head. I had some racing to do the next day, and my body hadn't felt this fired up since Ironman I wasn't about to waste it.

Well race day will have to come in part two, I've blabbed on enough!

Walking from the boat to the Four Seasons

Good Night Nevis

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