It was a very quick and last-minute decision to drive 4.5 hours to spectate Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga but it was well worth it. With nine Trimarni team members racing (6 age groupers, 1 pro, 2 educational team members), we couldn't pass up this opportunity to see our athletes in action. Plus, we know the Chatty area really well after being there for Ironman 70.3 Worlds and Ironman Chattanooga last year so it was an overall stress free, quick and fun weekend.
We left Greenville on Friday late morning. Because our weekend was dedicated to our athletes, we strategically used the weekend as "recovery" from our training instead of trying to pile in longer Ironman workouts in a different training environment, without being able to focus well on recovery and nutrition. Therefore, we did our "longer" workouts on Thurs and Friday morning - although, neither was too long by most Ironman triathletes standards but we have been focusing more on quality and intensity over volume lately to help us fine-tune our fitness for our upcoming races.
After we checked into our hotel around 4pm, we quickly unpacked the car and drove to the expo to meet up with our friend Rachel at Ventum. It was nice to also see some other familiar faces at the expo. We had all the excitement of racing but without the nerves :)
We are so excited about our recent Ventum + Trimarni partnership and to have the opportunity to support and ride Ventum. I'm excited to say that I'll be riding a Ventum one at Ironman Wisconsin as my new bike will arrive later this summer (after we return home from our Europe race-cations). I only say all of this after I had the opportunity to test out the Ventum bike. Since we were in Chattanooga and there was a size 46 demo bike available, Rachel (aka director of happiness) let me borrow the bike overnight (how cool and awesome is that?!?) for Karel to do a quick fit/adjustment for me to test-ride the bike on Saturday morning. I was super excited to try out a new bike brand (with a radical design) as I have been riding Trek for about eight years and I have head nothing but great things from Karel since he got his Ventum a few months ago.
Since we brought a cooler full of food, we didn't have to rely on eating out or searching for food but we did pick up dinner at Whole Foods (on the other side of the river) to give us a nice meal to eat in the hotel room before calling it a night. After two extremely tough days of training, we really needed to make sure we stayed up on our nutrition and hydration, especially with being a bit off of our normal routine in Chattanooga. In the evening, I worked on the computer for a little bit as Karel watched the Giro (or Tour of California - not sure as he is in cycling heaven right now with so much to cycling to watch!) and then we went to sleep around ten. Campy loves road trips and he was so happy to be with us this weekend. With so much travel for us this summer, it was nice to have Campy with us as he makes everything more entertaining with him around.
After a quick 45 minute spin on the race course, Josh left us to head back to his hotel and Karel and I carried on with our ride up Lookout mountain. It was important for me to test the bike in all types of terrain and my biggest concerns were how the bike rides on bumpy roads, climbing and most of all descending. Because me and the wind tend to not get along really well, I was anxious to hear if the Ventum would help me feel more in control of the bike when riding in the wind (especially descending). Although there wasn't much wind if at all, it was still good to climb and descend on the Ventum. My immediate feedback was that this bike feels just like a road bike - it's extremely easy to control, smooth and responsive. I felt in control while descending and it's very comfortable in aero. If you know me, I don't like change but I was loving this bike so much that I didn't want to get off it!
After about 1:30 of riding, we rode to the expo to meet up with a few of our athletes so Karel could help with some bike mechanical needs of our athletes and so I could say hi to others. I went back to the hotel after almost 2 hours of riding the Ventum and didn't want to stop riding it.
After getting Campy, cleaning up and eating, we headed back to the Expo to return the Ventum and finish off our morning helping our athletes out however needed. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the hotel room working, watching cycling, eating and taking a short nap (phew, exhausted!) before heading out for dinner with Eedee in downtown Chattanooga at Bluewater. Dinner was so good and it totally hit the spot to have something filling, fatty and salty.
On Sunday morning, we stayed at our hotel instead of heading to the swim start so that we could see all of our athletes (and the pros) start the bike (around mile 2). We were in the perfect spot to give some cheers to everyone. It was so great to see our professional triathlete Ericka in action as she put together a very strong race and was in the mix throughout the entire race, from start to finish. We are so proud of her. Our other athletes, Josh, Reid, Diane, Michaela, Pat and Andy did amazing, as did our educational team member Gin. Another team member Josh had a mechanical which took him out of the race on the bike but he was in good spirits which is important as that's part of racing. Everyone was smiling and looked in control throughout the entire run.
We headed down to the race venue before the male pros got off the bike, just in time to see Starky finish the bike and start the run. It was very inspiring to see the pros in action and we were able to give a big cheer for a few of our favs out there on the course, especially our athlete Ericka who was rocking this race and ended up 11th pro female.
The Chatty run course is perfect for spectating so we headed up the hill to backside of the course (before the bridge over the river) to see our athletes on both sides of the course. It was the perfect location to cheer for everyone. Campy was a trooper although he spent more time in my arms than on the ground as his 10.5 year old body doesn't move as fast for as long as it use to. Regardless, he had fun out there and gave a lot of barks/cheers.
We watched most of our athletes finished but we needed to hit the road by 2pm in order to get back to Greenville before a busy Monday for us (nutrition consults and Retul fits). Thankfully, we saw everyone out on the course and it's always a relief to know that your athletes are off the bike. It was exhausting to spectate but well worth it as it was so awesome to see so many familiar faces and to be there for our athletes. Next up, Karel will be racing Raleigh (I will be staying at home with Campy so Karel is making the trip solo).
A few pics from the weekend....