2013 Illicito - Wind and drag are the enemy, your biggest competitors on race day, but we've outsmarted them with a new weapon. The Illicito takes QR's game-changing SHIFT Technology to a new level with the notable absence of the left-side seat stay. Simply put, at the most drag-heavy yaw angles of the wind tunnel, the Illicito records the lowest drag coefficient of any modern design. Period.go
QR Athlete Sonja Wieck Recaps IM Brasil2013 Ironman Brasil – The Bike
The draft marshals were there, but I didn't see any penalties happening. And granted it's a narrow section, so I don't know how they would have fairly enforced anything, other than citing the dude for blocking. So I just had to calm down and let it (them) all pass. This one guy in a teal speedo was really bustin' my chops though. He was so aggressive and rude and blocking. And he was in a speedo, which is all fine and good, but it was teal. Okay, not judging, but it was teal AND he was ignoring the rules. If you are going to block everyone behind you and force us all to stare at your behind, at least wear some tri shorts. Actually his butt was pretty nice, but I digress….sorry, back on task…
30 minutes into my ride I took a peek at the time of day. I don't wear a watch in the swim and the clock on my Garmin said 8:35am. I was shocked and I got a big smile on my face. That meant that I was on bike bike and riding 1:05 into the day, which meant swim+T1 was 1:05-ish. I didn't know if they started the race on time, but I was jazzed. Especially after thinking I swam 1:20. Something inside me clicked then and I knew I was going to fight for every bit of time today. All systems were GO!
The hills were no issue, not hard, very basic. I got passed by like 50 people on each one. I was watching my wattage and heart rate and I wasn't going to ride up those things at 100 watts higher than I was going to average for the day, but apparently everyone else felt okay with that tactic. Literally 50 people passed me in 4 minutes. Got back some of them on the descent though. It was actually good because the pack that had developed behind teal speedo motored up the hill at like 1000 watts and they were now out of my sight. After the hills I just settled in. People thinned out and we were at the tunnels near the turn around before I knew it.
One crazy thing out there that you DO NOT SEE in North American races is that closing the roads for the race brings out all the Brazilian roadies. I saw so many people riding the course who weren't in the race. They were in full cycling kits, usually groups of two, no packs or anything. You know those little fish that hang onto other fish….parasite fish…yea, we had parasite cyclists out there.
When I started seeing the women coming back the other way I started paying attention to them and all the sudden a drafting marshal was yelling at me. I think I had gotten too close to the guy ahead of me, but he seemed to still be 3+ bike lengths ahead so I was a bit confused. So I just started yelling back. I have no idea why this was my reaction, but it's just what came out. He was yelling in Portuguese and I was yelling in English. I backed off a bit more and the dude drove away. Who knows?
There was one girl that I was sorta going back and forth with. It was strange. I went by her the first time demandingly. Then like 10 miles later she comes by me and is kinda on a guys wheel. Not right on it, but pretty close. I sit back and watch. She's riding pretty legal. But going pretty slow. So I repass several minutes later. I look back a few minutes later and she's way way back there.
I hit town feeling really great and really in control. Then the girl comes by me again. She misses a bottle handoff, screams at the volunteers all angry like, and then this guy brings her his bottle. What? I mean she was Brazilian and pretty hot and all, but where was my personal bottle retriever? I would have thought that perk was reserved for those wearing a teal speedo??!!
I went around the turn around in town at 2:29 and was like 'Holy shit, that's sub 5 hour bike pace.' but that was all the thought I really gave it. I was riding my plan, and sticking to it regardless of what it yielded. After the turn around in town it's time to ride back into the narrow section and this is when CRAZINESS happens. Like the worst part of my day craziness! The congestion is bad and there are some packs and I just want the heck out of it all. So I start riding harder. I ride my way up to the girl (the one with the bottle hander guy) and she's sitting in the left of the lane. I yell 'Left.' She doesn't budge. I yell 'left' two more times. Now I'm on her ass. There is an official with us. I yell 'passing, left'. I yell that five times. She starts yelling at me….in Portuguese. I yell at her to move over (there is space) in English (duh). I'm on her ass, screaming and pointing to the HUGE space on her right that she can move into.
I start screaming at the official 'She's blocking.' She starts screaming at the official. I scream and she screams and the official just looks at us. I back off her ass and get over to the right. Now I have just failed to make a legal pass and that worries me. We are both screaming at the official. I'm screaming 'Give her a penalty, she is blocking' She's screaming at him too, I don't know what she's saying. I can't even imagine what she can say when she is clearly blocking.
I'm yelling at the official and then I look forward (from looking at the official) and right as I look forward I see that I'm headed straight for a traffic cone. Yea, a big one too, just like this:
I have no choice, there are people, officials, everyone around. I hit the cone dead on, and it's a BIG ASS CONE. The only thought that goes through my head is 'There goes your Flipping race' (except I didn't think 'flipping' I thought the other word). I hit the cone, I employ some Herculean efforts to remain on top of my bike and by some stroke of luck I do not crash. Then I look at the official with my best 'See what you just did?' look. And his eyes are wide open.
Meanwhile the lady is still in the left lane blocking. I look at the official very calm like and I say 'Do you understand?' and he shakes his head 'no'. I say Azule (because she is wearing blue) and I point to her. And I say 'BLOCKING PENALTY'. Then the dude makes this hand gesture to me……
Click Here to see the hand gesture
And he rides away. I look down and my heart rate is 172. Oh my lanta! I stay right and have a SERIOUS conversation with myself to calm down, and to take deep breaths. In between the breaths I'm saying to myself 'Holy crap I hit a cone.' I watch Azule continue to stay as left as she possibly can for the next 20 minutes and then we hit an aid station, she goes for fluid (not sure where her personal bottle retriever has gone), I make the pass and then I ride much harder than my Ironman race pace for 20 minutes so that I never ever ever ever ever EVER have to see this woman again. And I didn't…until the Kona roll down where I gave her my best 'You're a disgrace' stinkeye as she claimed her slot for winning her AG. She will need to learn what blocking means before Hawaii.
Back through the hills and suddenly there are a lot less heros out there. Through the tunnel and I'm by myself with plenty of space between competitors. I'm in my element now. Head down and just snuggle into the the bean bag chair in my pain cave. I don't see any AG women left ahead of me. We turn around and I notice that the wind has become a factor. I enjoyed the nice headwind back to town and played the 'try to guess my bike split' game. I was thinking 5:10 and that got me pretty excited. The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. The last 10 miles I happened upon a very tired looking man in a teal speedo. That felt good as I passed him with a little eyebrow raise.
Into T2 there were a handful of bags in the hallway. I didn't count but grabbed a seat and again dealt with my business and got out of there. As I ran out of there I looked at the finish line because I knew the race clock would have the race time. I think it said 6:17. I was jazzed. Mental math said under a 3:43 marathon would get me under 10. Let's do this.
Bike Split: 5:08:57
Bike Placing: off the bike: 1st in my AG, 14th woman (including PROS), and 175th in the race.
Happy Birthday Braxton Bokos!
Even the kid of a bike shop owner gets excited about his new QR! Urban Tri Gear in Illinois ROCKS!
QR Athlete Kelly Williamson Race Re-cap
When people ask me what I do and I tell them I am professional triathlete, they often respond with a bit of awe, and then express how tough it must be given the physical demands, the day in/day out training, early mornings and tough competition. My response is often to smile, and tell them it's not so bad. They way I see it, I would be doing much of this irregardless of if I were a 'pro athlete' or not. I've always been active and to me exercise and even competition is a way I keep healthy and happy; it is really just something that is ingrained in who I am. It makes me feel alive. That said, I am realizing that while the physical demands are high, it is so much more the mental and emotional toll that competing at a high level can have. In the big picture, keeping it all in perspective and striking the right balance of 'easing up on oneself' combined with staying focused and getting the job done can be a rather tough challenge, one I have found myself battling with a bit this season.
I am coming off of another week of back-to-back races, which started here in Austin. I decided to do Lifetime Fitness Cap Tex Triathlon as a rather last minute decision (1-2 weeks out). It is very tough to pass up a hometown race, much less one that pays out fairly well. I have also not raced in downtown Austin since 2010. I opted into this one but did not take quite the 'full rest' I do for my bigger races, knowing that Rev 3 Quassy was the following weekend. I was also anxious to try out my new bike fit (which I had done at the Faster wind tunnel in Scottsdale, Arizona after St. George). It had been feeling very good for a few weeks and I was excited to see if it would translate in a race, especially a shorter one (Olympic distance).
The 1500-meter swim was in Town Lake, non-wetsuit, and I opted for a one-piece Zoot race suit so that it would negate my taking the time to remove a speedsuit. This suit is extremely comfortable to both swim and bike/run in and gets tons of compliments! The pink on black looks awesome and it is just a nice, simple alternative for a non-wetsuit race. The swim was decent (in a small field of about 10 women) and I exited in the group trailing Sara McClarty by about 1.5 minutes. With all due respect, Sara does an excellent job of making even good swimmers look like idiots. Onto the 4-loop and fairly hilly bike around downtown Austin, I was so excited crank out a hard effort on the short 25-mile course. My setup was my QR Illicito, Reynolds RZR 92 combo, ISM Breakaway saddle, Giro Selector with the eye shield, and Atomic chain and chain rings. Little did I know the crosswinds in downtown were pretty fierce and I got blown a bit coming down Congress Avenue each time! I felt strong for about 20 minutes, then it felt like the quads started to ache and it got tough pretty quick; much the same of what I have felt multiple times this season, as I struggled to stay on the gas. I did my best and came off the bike with about 5 minutes down to Alicia Kaye and in 5th place. I tossed on my Zoot Ultra Race's, Oakley Radarlock's and took off for the 10k run. The legs didn't feel great, but I tried to push the effort with all I had knowing it was only 6 miles. I managed to move into 2nd by about mile 4, at which point I told myself to dial it back a notch knowing I had another race in 6 days. I was happy to maintain that spot and take 2nd here, about 2.5 minutes behind Alicia, who is in incredible form right now. Always a privilege to be able to race with a hometown crowd and have a solid finish! It was a fun race and a great job by Life Time Fitness Tri as well as Jack & Adams who helped with race organization. Many thanks to the Austin'ites who cheered out there! This felt to me a successful little 'tune up' race for Rev 3 Quassy.
The week following, I spent quality time recovering with massage, bonding with my Recovery Pump boots, and doing some easy days of workouts followed by a few days of sharpening up. We headed out to Middlebury, CT on Friday morning for Rev 3 Quassy.
I've done this event twice. In 2010, I was 2nd and in 2012, I was 6th. It is a tough, honest, hilly, challenging course and it draws out extremely competitive fields every year. Call me crazy but even when I feel like my form has been a little 'off', I still seek out these races. I love to know how I stack up against the best. If something is lacking, I want to know that. I guess you could say I don't like to hide. Well needless to say, I got what I was looking for here.
I felt good on Saturday before the race; fairly relaxed, the body felt good, rested, and excited to get out there and see what I could do. It looked to be hot and humid, which I love. Race morning came and it was a non-wetsuit swim. We kicked off 2 minutes after the men and as we ran in from the beach, one of my goggles filled up with water and I could feel my contact in my eye. Shit. Whether it was smart or not, I stopped briefly to clear my goggle which was probably not in hindsight the smartest move. We took off and while I tried to keep pace with the top few women, I had lost them. Suck. I found a rhythm and after we made the first turn around the buoys it was as if the sun was blasting into our eyes; definitely tough to see. The women had spread out quite a bit and I tried to see the yellow buoys but all I could see was SUN. One woman started drifting to the right but that buoy was red, which was a turn buoy… I knew we had to pass 3 yellow ones first. Decision time; it is essential for the success of your own race to stay on course. I stayed left towards the yellow ones knowing that many people were confused out here, but I had to stick to the course and I knew that was on the yellow buoy line. After the final turn towards home, it got a bit easier to spot the path and by this point I just wanted to be out of the water, knowing I had likely lost some time already.
Onto the bike and I was anxious to attack it with all I had. I took it out strong but was left in the wake of a few women who were near me at the start. I tried to stay positive and stay on the gas, and about 20 miles in, I took a left turn and hit a bumpy patch. I looked down and my aero bars had slipped significantly, pointing downwards. Shit. I tried to pull them back up to no avail. I knew I couldn't ride the entire race like this. I stopped, and tried to yank them up. Nothing moved. I got back on and continued riding, when I saw the neutral mechanical bus drive by and waved him down. We stopped and had to remove my new Profile Aero HC bottle to access the bolts, by which point I left the aero bottle with the mechanic as I didn't want to take the time to put it back on. Off I went, maybe 2 minutes later. Annoying but it happens and I have had very few mechanicals to deal with, so I can't complain. I got back on and continued to give it all I had but just never, ever really felt strong on the bike. It was tough as I battled in my own head. 'What the HELL? This AGAIN?' I debated pulling out as I as so frustrated to yet again feel weak and useless on the bike. I finally decided, as I always do, to just GET THROUGH THIS and onto the run. For some reason, this is an ongoing battle this year and it is something that we need to continue to try to get to the bottom of. I just cannot stand the idea of quitting. I feel like if I do it once, it'll be far too easy to take that option again. Not quitting in this situation makes me vulnerable, it exposes me. It says 'this is all I've got, for better or for worse; no excuses, no viable explanation; and it sucks but it's a fact'. It doesn't let me hide from a poor result. And that is the way I like it. I gritted my teeth and pushed as hard as I could until finally I came to the end of the 56 miles.
I heard someone yell '16 minutes down!' and I honestly wanted to go and hide under a tree. I knew it would be bad, but wow, that was pretty bad. Derick told me 'You got some work to do Kel' to which I thought 'I love you and all but, NO SHIT HONEY!' I knew starting the run that a 16 minute deficit was fairly insurmountable for a win, likely tough to pull off a Top 3 (I was also told 11th place at that time) but maybe if I ran well I could muster a respectable Top 5 finish. At this point as an athlete you have to do your best to focus on what is happening IN THE MOMENT. Each mile one at a time, not thinking ahead; not letting yourself think about how disappointing this race may be; at how embarrassed you are at what has already happened (yes, there is a part of me that thinks 'Kelly why are you riding like a dumbass? Can't you just ride faster?!'). You have to shut out all of the external things and literally just tell yourself 'Give this all you've got and make the most of this opportunity, right here, right now. Anything can happen and it's not over until it's over.' You can either stay positive or go negative, and the second option never helps anything. I have gotten fairly good at this (from experience; not by choice). I sometimes joke that slow bike splits is all part of my master plan; I just aim to make the races exciting.
I ended up feeling fairly strong on the run, and kept my nose to the grindstone; moving up within the first few miles to put me into 6th place, where I would ultimately finish.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it and I'll try to spare you any whining here, but to be completely honest, I was not pleased with 6th place. I was proud of the fact that I didn't give up on myself and I never counted myself out of it. I was proud of the fact that knowing I was likely only running for a Top 5 at best, I ran like hell as if I was going for a win. That can be tough to do. I just find myself frustrated at this recurring bike struggle with every race. That said, I am so very happy for Heather Wurtele as she came back from 2nd here in 2012 to take a huge win; major props to her, she deserves it and she is having a stellar year.
A few days post race, I am left with a simple realization: At times this can be a hard and frustrating sport; yet it can also give back to you things that are immeasurable. It's frustrating when you put the work in, you see progress, and you truly believe that progress will be reflected in your race; yet it's not. I know that in the big picture I have an immense amount to be thankful for…I never forget this perspective. But, it's in my nature to want to win; to be up there in the thick of it, putting it all on the line, contending to cross the line first. I believe that I was able to finally start winning races only when I truly believed I COULD; and that took many years. And of course if I don't win, but I give it all I've got and I know my body was able to leave it all out there, I can walk away satisfied knowing this. But for whatever reason, that is just not happening right now; it feels like something is holding me back. I realize you cannot expect to win a race when you give up 10+ minutes on the bike. These are the facts, and in life you have to deal with the facts. This is forcing us to look critically at things, and hopefully we'll come out of it on the other side and I'll be a better athlete for it. Struggles like this allow you to never take anything for granted. I'll admit, early last season I felt a bit unbeatable. My confidence was high and it almost felt 'easy'. Right now, I'd give anything for that feeling again. But I'm fighting like hell to find it and I have no doubt that when I do find that form, that state of 'flow' whereby I feel truly like 'me' again, then it'll mean the world and I'll savor that feeling. Sometimes we may not ask for it, but we're given life's lessons whether we want them or not.
I think this is my lesson in patience.
And troubleshooting. That's an important life skill, isn't it?
As always a huge thank you to my incredible sponsors: Memorial Hermann, Zoot, PowerBar, Reynolds, Quintana Roo, The Westin Lake Las Vegas, Recovery Pump, ISM, Road ID, Giro, Jack & Adams, Nulo, Katalyst Multisport, SRM, Profile Design, Campagnolo, Oakley, Endurance Shield, and Atomic. I couldn't do any of this without my husband Derick and Durata Training for his support and guidance; he sees the highest of the highs and of course the lowest of the lows! Onward and upward.
Anja Beranek and the QR Illicito vs. Ferrari 599 GTB - Smokin'
Team TIMEX Athlete Matt Russell Talks About His QRQR Illicito Bike
Thanks to: QR Bikes, Timex Multisport Team, Rudy Project, PRO, Shimano, PowerBar & Stages Cycling
A BIG thanks to Paraic McGlynn for fitting me at his fit shop in Scottsdale, Arizona: Cyclologic. While I was at Cyclologic I also had the pleasure to work with a few other fit guru's Steven Carre with Bike Effect from Santa Monica, California and John Meuleman with Athlete Fitting from Belgium. Paraic, Steven and John spent multiple hours dialing in my fit.
CD0.1 Di2 Set-up by Dave EricksonOceanside Race Prep and Contest Update
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