Monday, September 17, 2007

The End of a Great Season

By Kris Stolmeier

A blog? I have never written my own; only read others or had them written about me. Now it is my turn? Well, with a whirlwind weekend I am going to give this a try.

Competing this past weekend was the end to a great season; great because it was filled with a multitude of firsts that included; first ½ IM, first IM, first Olympic. Of course, there were a few sprints in there too. Did I leave anything for next year?

The weekend started with the Flowing Lake triathlon on Saturday which happens to be one of my favorite sprints because it is a great course for cycling. It is a mere 400 meter swim, a short 4k run and a great 13 mile cycling course filled with hills, fast down hills and some sharp corners.

The details of the race were shared in Lisa’s blog but I need to add that it was great sharing this race with so many friends, family and TF members. Lisa was at the finish line (crutches and camera) cheering me and other TF members on as we crossed the finish line (although I would have much rather had her competing). My husband, Tim, was taking off chips and my daughter, Sydney, placing finisher’s medal over the athlete's heads. Great of Rory and Deanna of BuDu Racing to put those spectators to work! And where was my 14 year old son, Sam, during all of this? He was at a cross country meet but would be joining me on Sunday.

Sunday was the Kirkland Triathlon. I love ending the season with this race; competing as part of a relay team. This year would be no different. My son was our runner, Patty Swedberg, Owner of Raise the Bar, was our speed swimmer and I was the cyclist. Team Gewurztraminer! (Named in remembrance of all those wineries Patty and I passed on our way to IM Canada in which we never got to actually stop and taste the wine, not even sample the ‘fine’ whites; in fact I don’t even know if we can say or spell this one!)

I dragged Sam out of bed early Sunday morning. Late enough that the coffee shops were actually open but early enough that we could still park within walking distance of the park. (It was not until later that I would learn that a caffeinated drink in my other hand might have benefits!)

Sam and I just hung out; visiting with friends and teammates that were also up at this ridiculous hour. Oh’ to be 14 years old again! No warm up or pre-race jitters from Sam! No bathroom stops…just some time relaxing on the grass. His only worry came at 6:30AM. “Where is Patty”, he asked repeatedly. “Call her, Mom”, he kept yelling out. When she didn’t answer, he was convinced she had overslept! Who would swim? All I had was my cycling 'stuff'. No worries – Patty arrived at 6:40 with a coffee in one hand and another caffeinated canned drink in the other. Besides the fast twitches and quick words, she seemed relaxed and ready to go!

She was! She was out of the water in no time. An amazing 12:34 split. A high five and I was off; veering my way through the long transition to bike mount and then onto another great course with some good hills, long flats and fast descents.

My computer wasn’t working and the 12 miles ended far too soon. As I rounded the last corner in transition I saw Sam ready to go; legs wanting to move forward. He took off as soon as I tagged him.

Patty and I made our way over to the finish line; meeting up with some of her team members, yelling out to some of mine, watching a nasty crash with the athlete making her way to the dismount line – all while Patty is snapping photos. I don't think she ever puts that camera down! We arrived just in time to see Sam cross the finish line.

Sam finished looking strong. The results said it all…Patty had a great swim, my cycle time was good – the pressure was on having to go up against Suz Weldon; the fastest cyclist in all of ….. a lot of places…and Sam’s run time was great! Best of all, I didn’t even have to get wet!

A great way to end the season…surrounded by friends and family!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Team FASTT members DOMINATE Flowing Lake

By Lisa Worthington

Wow! God is Good! What an incredible day. The injury to my foot just two days before my last race of the season turned out to be such a blessing. I may have been forced into this retirement this season a week early (maybe two weeks thanks to Mt. Si) however I had such an incredible experience at the Flowing Lake Triathlon today.

Team FASTT had 15 members competing today and we were out in full force. We had such incredible accomplishments, first time racers, overall winners, numerous age group podium finishes, conquered swim fears, smoking bike times, and well attended pre-race tri-prayer. So here is the race from my perspective: as a spectator.

This was only my second race a real fully involved spectator. I had SO much fun. The day started early with no pre-race jitters. When Kris and I arrived, there were already 3 cars in the lot, I felt the pressure to "race" down to the transition area to find a good spot for Kris. We always like to arrive before everyone has even poured their early am coffee to pick the prime spot. Today I was not racing but I wanted to be mental support person for Kris, Merg, Deb, and Darlynn, as well as rah rah support for everyone else. I however was on crutches! This was going to be tricky since I also wanted to video tape and take pictures as well as lend support to Deanna and Rory with BuDu Racing (our wonderful sponsors and excellent race coordinators).

As it turned out the 3 cars were just workers and thankfully Rory opened the T zone just for us. Kris got prime position as she was out for the win, unless of course Patty Swedberg (Raise the Bar) took me up on taking my race entry. With spot secured, Kris actually helped me more than I did her. She carried the banner, brochures, and my chair. I reverted back 15 year to the old fanny pack loaded with all my goodies, phone, camera, video camera and spare tube (just in case).

It was so cool to see TF members one by one, looking so sharp in their team kits show up and take their positions. Most racked near Kris but others took position at other end racks. BuDu did not need any help with registration which was great because I got to just hang out in the T zone. Deanna made the announcement that no spectators should be in the T zone, but she called me "special" :) She handed me a black marker and then I felt REALLY special. I was now a body marker! Ok, next to being a body oil lubricator (swim meets) this was cool! I saw some really nice arms out there, not to mention calves! Athletes rock! I made sure to put a smiley face on everyones number that had an 8 or 0.

I hopefully got everyones picture pre-race which juggling the body marking. Then I borrowed Rory's megaphone and stepped outside my comfort zone. I made an announcement for a pre-race prayer. I announced it for TF thinking maybe someone else might might want to join in. Well what a blessing I found not only TF but many many other athletes as well joined round arm in arm for a prayer. God is Good! No, God is Great! Ok, now time to calm some nerves.

I tried to calm some nerves of some anxious swimmers as well as Merg, Yeah, this was her very first triathon. I was SO excited to watch her complete this race. The waves went off, 5 minutes apart. Tom, out of the water in the top 5! He looked sharp running through the T all blue and white, with Steve not too far behind then Morgan. Morgan, what a stud, his first triathlon and new member as of 6 days ago. His kit accented by his tatoos, he looked just as strong. Tom, you better watch out for those two, they are on your heals!

Kris, fifth women out of water, not too shabby for a "non-swimmer" :) I watched all the gals as they all ran strong out of the water and through transition. It is amazing to see how many people just take their time and hang out before heading out on their bikes. Not TF, they are competitors! I thought Merg was in the top 12 as I yelled this to her, she later told me I was not very smart. Oh, well she looked great! Debbie, Yeah, told you that you would be no where near last! You rocked girl. The only thing I really missed that I wanted to capture on film was Marks' flying leap onto his bike. I would then use that footage to SHOW at the next tri clinic as I will not be demonstrating that anymore :) I guess I will have to go to a cross race to capture that move as well as watch his wife Sarah take another win! Good job Sarah.

I then positioned myself at the end of the finish line chute. I recruited Tim and Sydney to help with chip straps and handing out medals. I just stood and directed, while taking pictures and trying to video everyone crossing the line. First place male, Wow, under an hour with number 2 right behind. Then came Tom, Steve, Morgan, Mark, Richard, Serosha, (not too shabby for running a THIRD lap, who taught that kid how to count? I heard he road the course again after just because ) Then the women, Kris (first overall and qualifying for Nationals - thanks I didn't want to race without you), Nancy, (nice finish girl, your bike smoked!). Debbie Bond (finishing ever so strong), Vinette (ouch, you still looked great and finished strong despite dropping your chain and crashing- your tough), Darlynn (you know your awesome),Clarise ( oh, so strong looking),Marcie (Great job and always smiling), Mergie (Yeah! this was your day girl), Faye (strong strong finish, nice job), Debbie Boyce (you were strong the whole way and I don't think I heard you in the water :), and Kristine (for only your second tri, How cool are U? You rock!) So a good day was had by all. I can't even name all the awards that were handed out.

Big congrats on first time finishes first and formost. A ton of AG awards and hey OVERALL to Kris! Im so proud of everyone and it was just an incredible experience to be able to be there to support you all and watch you all FINISH STRONG!!!!!