Friday, September 13, 2013

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or Amber is a Champion (to me)

So my last blog brought you up to the night before Amber's race at the 70.3 Worlds. We knew the competition would be fast and as expected the swim started out that way. Ignore my commentary on the video(best to shut your sound off) and just see how quickly the swim packs split. That makes it really tough to swim a fast time if you're trying to find that right line to swim. Apparently Amber had to switch lines at one point because her group wasn't going in the right direction. Read more about the swim and the whole race from Amber's perspective here.
After viewing the swim start from the bridge, I made my way over to the swim out. Usually the swim out is a short jog to the athlete's bikes but this one involved crossing  a bridge and a long run. Again pardon the sound on the video and watch all of these fast women getting out of the swim.
Amber came out of the water in a large pack but near the back of it which made things more challenging for her on the bike.

As you can see, just in the time it took to get through transition that large pack had already split up a bit and when I caught her on the bike early on that large pack from the swim was even further broken up(due to the varying speeds of the riders). Having someone in sight makes a huge difference with biking(even if you're not drafting) and supposedly Amber spent most the ride by herself
I had positioned myself to get a good cheering spot for Amber and little did I know I ended up standing right next to Jim Johnson, our friend from Oceanside, who was out to cheer Amber on. We briefly chatted but then I headed over to T2 so I could see Amber on the run. Oh yeah and to take advantage of the VIP tent.

Myles had gotten me a VIP badge so he and I spent some time eating a late(by triathlon standards) breakfast in the VIP and watched the race unfold on the television. Unfortunately they didn't cut back to Amber so I was definitely less interested but the Krispie Kremes did a fairly good job of holding my attention.

With a full stomach, Myles and I shortly thereafter headed out to watch Amber on the run. Since it was a three lap run course we were able to see her multiple times. She and fellow Zoot athlete Uli Broome were running the majority of the race together and looked like they would catch and pass multiple runners. Amber looked really strong and as you can see from the videos, she had enough energy to talk with me as she ran by(not recommended in a big race BTW). Unfortunately for Amber, all the downhill running ended up jostling her stomach and she had to stop multiple times to use the facilities. Despite that she ended up running a pretty good time(not one she would be happy with but respectable) and finished 22nd in the World.

 I met Amber in the athlete reception area but Myles' work as a Sherpa had just begun as his girlfriend and Amber's sister had just started her run. Unfortunately for Deidre, the overcast skies that had kept things relatively cool for Amber cleared so she had to run in the typical heat of Nevada. She still ended up finishing with a solid performance and the four of us met up with the Cullen parents and we spent the evening on the strip.

It was a fun vacation and a good indication of Amber's progress in her fitness this year. It makes me excited to think how well she willl do with another year of more improvements on the bike.

Up Next: The weekend Amber is doing the Mount Kearsarge Hill Climb, I will be joining my brothers down in Atlanta for a Patriots game. Sure to be fun:)

Oh and if you haven't liked Amber's Facebook page, do that now! She is giving away some awesome Zoot gear once she gets 1,000 likes! Check it out here.

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