Danskin San Jose, 1996 - A Brief Report

Why is it that every time there is a triathlon at San Jose's Lake Almaden it is the hottest day in weeks or months? The record number of participants at this year's Danksin San Jose tri (1,083 individual finishers!) had record temperatures in the mid-90s to contend with. We were bakin'.

Fortunately for TriBaby, I was in the third out of *10* waves, so I started and finished before the heat got too intense. Don't know if I'll have time to post a full report on the Danskin, but a quick summary:

Chose to wear my longjohn at the last minute and still had a dismal swim anyway, emerging from a half-mile in the lake in 13:20, rrrrrgh. Took me 4 minutes to rip off the wetsuit, run to the bike, run the bike 150 yards or so outta the transition area (clop, clop, clop, clop....so much for these cleats), hop on and go.

Smoked the 13-mile bike course (it was supposed to be 12.4) in about 36 minutes, averaging 21.5 mph. Nothing spectacular, but nobody passed me at least. I held off one gal on a spanky red Kestral w/Spinergies who passed me at the 7-mile mark, catching her back and eventually dropping her before roaring into the transition area.

Ran amazingly well, finishing up in 26:11, averaging 8:26 per mile for the 3.1 miles. Believe me, that is fast for TriBaby. The last hundred yards were unexpectedly dramatic: I caught the gal I'd been trailing for a mile and we sprinted all out, neck and neck, right up to the line, where I *just* nipped her and proceeded to bowl head over heels into the finish chute! Needless to say, the crowd loved that, and I didn't mind in the least because I won the sprint. I still can't believe I did it; my legs were screaming at me that they couldn't keep doing this, and my will screamed right back at them "Tough luck! Go faster, and keep going, we're gonna BEAT her!" The moment I did so, my legs immediately asserted themselves and collapsed beneath me, and I rolled, breathless and laughing, across the grass to the cheers of the spectators.

Undoubtedly the most spectacular finish yet in TriBaby's career to date!

Not that it really counted for anything, 'cause the gal was from the previous wave so I had five minutes on her already, but you know how it is: If there's someone *just* ahead of you when you're heading for the line, and you've got anything left in the tank, you just gotta go for it! It felt great.

Final time: 1:20:58, 1:02 slower than last year :-(

However, last year we did not have to run our bikes through the transition area; this year we had to do so both going out and on the return, so that ate up a significant chunk of time. Otherwise, my swim was definitely slower by over a minute, but my bike and run were both a little bit faster (I believe).

So, I took 29th place (!) out of *305* (!!!) women in the 25-29 age group. Hey, that puts me in top 10%, I'll take it! Out of the 1,083 individual finishers (I just can't get over that) I was either 86th or 89th, I can't remember which now.

RST's Roxanne Scott beat me by 9 measly seconds, dang it! And she did so having to ride a borrowed steed for the bike course, because....god, I HATE this... her beautiful, gorgeous, shiny, 6-month old QR Special Edition was *STOLEN* two nights before the race. She left it locked on her car rack overnight while staying with friends in a nice, squeaky-clean suburban neighborhood in Walnut Creek, and some loathesome bastard ripped it out of the rack. :-( :-( :( :(

Poor thing, it's just awful. She didn't let that stop her at Danskin, however. She borrowed a friend's road bike with no aerobars and old clip/strap pedals, and overcame not one but TWO flat tires suffered on a pre-race course ride on Saturday. All went well during the race itself, and she finished up in 1:20:49, good for 17th out of 255 in the 30-34 age group, 84th overall. Just think what she could have done with her own beautiful tri-machine!

RST's Peggy MacDowell-Cramer (sp?) won her age group. I'm not sure if it was 50-55 or ???, but she put in an *excellent* performance, finishing in 1:29 or 1:30. This just a week after qualifying for Team USA at Nationals, way to go, Peggy! I was privileged to meet her for the first time at Danskin, and what a delightful lady! Full of fun, energy, and smiles. A great pleasure to meet you, Peggy. Hope to get to see you at more races.

The San Jose Danskin was also graced by the presence of Triathlon's famous "Top Nun", Sister Madonna Buder, who travelled down from her home in Washington state to win the women's 65-89 age division.

As for the pros, Joy Hansen-Leutner won in something like 1:03:xx, followed by Lauren Alexander, Jennifer Gutierrez, and Holly Nybo.

Other RSTers at the race included Sarah Gilliland and a couple of "lurkers" who recognized me from my descriptions on RST (not to mention one of them saw my license plate!). Hi to Lisa and Rachel! A couple of the guys also came out to cheer on the gals; thanks to both Kurian Davis and Steve Patt for being out there. I heard another male voice cheering "Go TriBaby!" at some point, but I have no idea who it was; I presume it was an RSTer, so Thank you! to whoever it was.

Finally, Skippy successfully completed her second triathlon at Danskin, finishing in 2:17:xx. She had a good swim (19:30) and a better-than-expected bike (57:xx), but less than 1/4 mile into the run her shin splints acted up and she was forced to walk nearly the entire run. However, she finished with a big smile on her face as she "flew" over the line and accepted her Danskin finisher's medal. She was pleased as punch *not* to see Sally Edwards on the run! (If you don't know, Sally Edwards does every single Danskin event and pledges to be the LAST finisher over the line so that no other participant ever has to say she was last in the race). Don't know yet what Skippy's final place was, but I'm pretty sure she must have beaten at least 50 women, so I think she'll be satisfied.



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