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May « 2009 « Donna Phelan's Blog

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Archive for May, 2009

Livin’ Swiss

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Last Thursday I arrived in Leysin, one of my favorite places in the world to train. It has everything you could want as a triathlete : a great 25m pool that’s available to us almost anytime we want, an endless number of hills and mountains to ride up and down, quiet roads, bicycle friendly drivers, and a great track just down the hill and across the meadow…ok, well that hill is 14km long and the trek to the track is another 10km, but that’s besides the point.;-)

One of the other reasons I love Switzerland is because of the bread. Besides cows, clocks, and chocolate, Switzerland is also known for it’s bakeries which appear on almost every street corner. There’s one across the street from where I’m staying, and in the morning it’s the best smell in the world. In the US, we stop at 7-eleven’s on long rides, but here it’s a trip to the bakery (which also sells coke…what more could I ask for?;-)

Yesterday, a few of us rode to Lausanne and back on our “easy” day. Below is myself, Tereza, Abi and Steve (Abi’s Aussie mate) having a coffee/coke break. Thanks Travis for taking the photo! Another beautiful day in Swiss…

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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Well, not exactly, but after 3 weeks back in San Diego, I’m getting ready to head off to our next camp in Switzerland on Wednesday.

The past 3 weeks have passed in a whirlwind, but it’s been good to have some time to unpack and repack, and catch up with family and friends. Time enough also to get some much needed servicing on my bike – and to realize that I’d been riding Erika’s training wheels for the last 2 months while she’d been riding mine. Yes, that might be the reason why my shifting hadn’t been so great with her Campy cassette while she had my SRAM cassette. It might also explain why her bike suddenly caught the “screaming rear hub disease” while my rear wheel was suddenly cured. And it might also explain the confusion when doc asked me a few weeks ago why I had a spoke protector on my rear wheel? Uhhh…to make it more aero??:-P Where did that thing come from anyway??

Time enough also to catch up with friends at the pool. Even if they don’t fully understand what I’ve been doing the last few months, in their own way they try to show their support…”What?! You’re racing Wildflower 2 weeks after an Ironman?! What kind of medication do you take for that type of insanity??” Haha, there are many comedians at the pool where I swim.

So, now it’s time to start packing again – exchanging summer clothes for cool weather clothes. Yes, training in the Philippines in winter, and Swiss in the summer means that winter is summer and summer is winter. There’s also one other item I’m trying to pack in my luggage, but I’m not sure if he’ll fit….??

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Wildflower Weekend

Monday, May 4th, 2009

This past weekend, I went to Wildflower to race the 1/2 Ironman. I did this race in 2002 and it was my first long course triathlon. I was doing World Cup races at the time, and it was a big turning point for me. I really loved racing the longer distance/non drafting format, and within a year I did my first Ironman.

Well, fast forward to 2009, and I was headed back to Wildflower once again. With IM China 2 weeks behind me, it was a good chance to get back to some long training and see where my fitness was. Wildflower is also an Avia sponsored event, and all of the athletes from TeamTBB were treated like royalty.

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I stayed in a trailer in the transition area parking lot, overlooking the race start…I kid you not, I literally tumbled out of bed race morning and walked 200 yds to my bike rack!

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There were about 25 women in the pro field, and I came out of the swim in 10th place. Not as high up as I would have liked, but still within striking distance of having a good race. I got on the bike, and headed out on the hills hoping to make up some time. It was about 60 degrees for the first half of the ride – not usually considered cold, but my thermostat seems to be out of whack after China’s 113 degrees! I shivered trying to stay warm, and my legs felt very stiff for the first 45km. Finally, the temperature started to warm up and for the last 40km my legs came back to life. I passed a few of the girls who had passed me earlier, and came into transition behind Gina Kehr in 11th place. 11th place is almost as bad as 4th (but not quite), and I was determined if nothing else that I would make it into the top 10.

The run for me was probably one of the better parts of my race. I say “probably” because it was 60% trails, and I am not the world’s best trail runner (hence the nickname ‘Stumbles’ by some friends who have seen me run on trails;-). I am sure I looked at times like someone who had stumbled out of a bar! I passed Gina at about 3 miles and shortly after passed Pip who later dnf’d. Then with about 4 miles left to go, Gina came back to life and passed me again. I was hoping to catch another couple of girls in front of me, but the finish line came a little too soon, and I came across the line in 10th place.

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Wildflower was a tough, but really fun race, and a great weekend of camping out with the Avia crew. A big CONGRATS also to Erika and Rei for finishing on the podium, to Jonathan for having a solid race in a tough field, and to Jocelyn who won her age group in the Olympic distance. It was also good to see Angela in good spirits and on the mend – you’ll be back before you know it.

I drove back to San Diego on Sunday, and there was one last picture I couldn’t resist taking. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, and leads to who knows where.;-)

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