Going to Disneyland!
By Raja Lahti
San Diego, Cali
I had a change of careers in April and pretty much everything else has had to sit on the back burner until I get settled.
In May I did Wildflower Olympic and had fun. Training this year has been hampered by one thing or another, illness, work, injury, you name it. The gods are holding me back! I didn't expect much out of Wildflower, and still came away bummed with my race. The good news, my swim was the best yet and I really was delighted with it. The bike & run, well, not so much. I ended up 9th out of about 200 or so that finished. The exciting part was the finish..
Then came Encinitas Sprint. I was 3rd with what I consider a crappy bike portion of the race. It wasn't bad, but I know I should be doing better. The run was ok.. and the swim.. well, I'm not so hot for surf entry so I survived.
This past weekend was probably one of the most fun races I've ever done. It was the Danskin Disneyland Triathlon. That's right, Kingdom of the Mouse, or in this case, California Adventure. The swim was in the lagoon in CA Adventure, the bike was a 2 loop course around the entire part and the run was a windy route through the park. With over 1300 competitors (all women), this was a big race.
Why did I enter? Well, when else can you take a dip in Disneyland without them giving you a life ban?!??
On check-in before the race I heard one woman say, "the water is disgusting! It's a lagoon! There were ducks right there pooping." Uhhh.. this is Disneyland where everything is sterile, that taste is actually chlorine and that brown water is dye so you don't see the tracks for the boat. If only she knew what nasty water really tastes like... As you walked in the water, it was warm, you know, kinda like bath water. No wetsuits needed so I wore a tri-swim suit for the first time. Couldn't wear my Bella kit as it's a 2 piece. Instead a put a Bella tattoo on my arm and wore my signature hair flair. The swim was a ton of fun, but a bit of a faux-Ironman. With about 16 waves (me in wave 9)starting every 3 minutes, it was A LOT of swimming over or around people in previous waves. Next time I think I'll actually race Elite instead of Age Group so I can get in the first wave and not have to crawl between quite so many ladies. But where else can you stroke, stroke, breathe, look at the ferris wheel, stroke, stroke, breath, look rollercoaster, stroke, stroke, breath, look Mickey...
The bike was fun, and my bike created quite a bit of attention (aka The Hornet) as there were a number of first-timers racing. I really enjoyed being able to answer questions, even got to give a fix-a-flat demo. Newby: "What are these?" Me: "These are tire levers, you really should know what they are and how to use them..."
Back to the race... so the bike was ok, still feeling a bit lacking in strength and it showed as I was unable to loose the cute chick in red on the cervelo with the disk. I should have been able to smoke her, but instead she latched on and let me take her for a ride. We leap frogged around for a bit between swim, T1, the bike & T2, but then she spanked me on the run. At least she was nice & cute!
By the time I got off the bike I was still coughing up the drink mix I managed to inhale. Note to self: don't inhale your drink!!! The run started and I had the glugs. You know that sloshy feeling from drinking then trying to run?! After the first mile I felt better and began to relax. Unfortunately the run was almost over by that point so I just ran my way past the popcorn and cotton candy, past the store where you can flatten a penny, past the churros, around the fountain, through the western-shoot-out store front and to the finish. With one great leap for Velo Bella, I was done!
I finished 2nd in my age group behind that nice cute chick on the Cervelo, and 6th overall. Not too bad.. but I know I can do better next year.....
We had a number of Bellas attend, I'll update this blog with a list, but CONGRATS to all, this was a fantastic race and HIGHLY recommended as a destination race.