Janet and I decided we needed a hilly warm up 70.3 race about 2 months before Ironman, so of course we picked the hardest course we could find; Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 Triathlon in Lubbock, TX. This was the same weekend that Mont-Tremblant was having their warm up race as a 70.3 on the same course as the Ironman race, but who has the time or the money to go to Quebec twice in one summer? No, we thought, we will drive to Lubbock.
That was our first mistake! We jumped in the car Friday morning and drove the 300 miles to Lubbock. What a beating! There is nothing between Fort Worth and Lubbock but wind farms, crops and cow patties. At one point, we were laughing at all the small towns with population 250ish! Really? We stopped in a Dairy Queen about 100 miles from Lubbock to get a snack. The people in the restaurant looked at us like we had dropped in from another planet.
After a lovely drive (NOT), we checked into one of the nicest hotels in Lubbock, the Holiday Inn (smirk). It actually was not horrible and was clean. Lubbock is not exactly a happening town. There really isn’t much in Lubbock other than Texas Tech and lots of cotton fields. We went to the expo on Friday night and got our numbers. The race shirt was the ugliest one I have ever seen!! A steak dinner and a beer, then off to bed.
Saturday morning we decided to go out to Buffalo Springs Lake and watch some of the sprint triathlon as well as check out the water temperature and the horrendous hills we had both heard about. If you listened to most of our friends, the hills were mountains and we were going to perish on them. Well, the water temperature was about 76 and even though they said it was going to be wetsuit legal, we both decided on speed suits. The lake was gorgeous! The hills were steep, but nothing like the mountains that had been described! We rode out bikes up and down the first 3 hills and decided we would live! A nap then a pasta dinner and we were ready for bed!
4am came really early. We had our breakfast and hit the road about 5am. We ran into a little traffic jam getting into the canyon. Seems there was a race going on! Got to the parking lot and then had to walk our bikes down a gigantic hill to transition. Found our spots and we were ready to go.
Swim waves were interesting. All the women were in one huge wave so the start was a little challenging. Then the majority of the men started just a few minutes later. Needless to say, they ran us right over! I got punched in the eye and was happy I was wearing double swim caps so I didn’t lose my goggles. Then I got kicked in the face and got a bloody lip! Ugh! At least the water was relatively calm and the temperature was very friendly! My swim time was not stellar but I got to transition only bleeding from my top lip!
Onto the bike course we went. The first hill is almost as soon as you leave transition and it was almost a 9% grade! Sadistic! After conquering the first few hills it was relatively flat but the wind kicked up as soon as you left the canyon. My swim was so bad I was convinced there weren’t too many people behind me until we hit the third hill, which was another sadistic grade, but this time I was catching the downhill. Now I know what 40 mph feels like on a bike! Scary!! Sadly I reminded myself I had to go back up that grade on the way back! At this point I saw the crowd behind me as I made the first turn around. Whew! I wasn’t in last place. That would be embarrassing! Janet passed me just about the 30 mile marker like I was standing still! Man is she fast on the bike!!
The fourth hill is a long winding grade with killer turns and a skinny road. In other words, as your butt is being kicked by the grade you have to watch out for the people coming down out of control on the turns and trying to kill themselves and you. Written on the road was SLOW DOWN on one side and THANK MIKE FOR THE HILLS on the other! You then hit a long stretch of windy farmland in which you began to cook. Literally. My nutrition and hydration were great and I actually had to pee for about the last 25 miles! A good sign!
I had the pleasure of cheering on a few of the hand-cyclists as they were challenged by the hills. Those guys are tough!! Back into the canyon I went after feeling like I was challenged but not beaten, hit the last two hills and wanted desperately to get off my bike!!
Into transition I went, ditched the bike and found a port-a-potty. Running shoes and a little more sunscreen, I was ready to run! Who turned up the heat? As soon as I hit the asphalt, I felt the heat. Thanks Mike for the roving ice carts. He put people on golf carts with large coolers of ice to help with the heat. The hills on the run were not that bad, but were sadistic in the fact that they were long and it was almost 100 when I started running. When I hit the 6 mile marker, the volunteer at the aid station said it was 105! Crazy! The heat was just wafting off the road. I had ice chunks in my bra and down my pants as well as down my back just to keep my heart rate from spiking. It was walk:run the whole way. Walk through all the aid stations then run until your heart rate started to spike again. A beating! I passed Janet at about the 7 mile marker. She wasn’t faring much better than I was. We were both in hunker down and get it done mode.
I was so happy to enter the park and see the finish line, I almost cried. I crossed, got my medal and shirt then headed for the lake. I barely took my shoes off before I dived in. The water felt amazing!
So that was Buffalo Spring Lake 70.3 Triathlon. A butt whipping of a race, but a great challenge on the road to Ironman Mont-Tremblant. The hills were a challenge, but totally doable. The heat is what got you. Now I understand why it is a Kona qualifier. It was harder than Ironman Texas because of the heat coupled with the tough course. Mike, you are a sadist! And , Yes, we will be back!!
PS. Janet won her category, so she got to go home with a really cute buffalo trophy which she named Leonard. ☺ Very cool!
PPS. Video is posted...enjoy:)
The road to Ironman Mont-Tremblant went through Lubbock, TX this weekend. Check out the lunatics in their video blog....the hottest, hilliest race for us to date....
Home • About Dr. Crane • Runner’s First Aid Kit • Running Shoes List • Blog • Links • Online Store • Contact Dr. Crane • Site Map
Copyright © 2008 Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas, LLP. Created and maintained by I5 Web Works.