Spokane´s abyss by Santiago Sanz (14-05-08)
It´s five to six and I jump from bed, really that was not a deep sleep night but I feel euforic.
This is one of my favourites races and the course can be defined as wonderful. First of all my resting heart rate and ohlala, 38b/min. My bomb seems to be in shape.
Yesterday I landed in Spokane at 8:20pm and arrived to this amazing city really rest. After Indianapolis I slept for a while in my room maybe the frustation feeling due to this stupid wrong turn in the course help me to sleep well and get relax.
I had a nice flight with my friend the speaker “Rob Powers” who invited me to dinner in a french restaurant in Denver´s airport. I told him “You know Tom? Tomorrow I´ll set a new course record in Bloomsday by fourth consecutive year” he just answered me “Holly shit, of course you´ll get it”…
After get dress and get ready all my stuff for the race I move to breakfast located in the hospitality room. I find there that fantastic woman which every year get ready a delicious breakfast to all the wheelchair racers, kenyan runners,… She ask me “How´s my great racer?” and I answer “Trying to wake up but really happy to see you once again”, she serve´s me a great coffee but also emphasize me that if I need it strongrer (European style) she´ll do it, I begin to smile.
I need to eat a lot today so I take two strawberry bagels and also I spread on it some straberry jelly, of course, with this delicious coffee which I drink with nice friends the canadian Clayton Gerein and my big friend Edwin Figueroa (USA). It´s a nice moment to be with those big boys and also I really enjoy it with those rays of sunshine touching my face, once again we have a nice Spokane´s morning and who doesn´t like to race with those conditions? At that moment Tom Cameron (wheelchair race director) seat with us and he ask me how was Indiana race, he smile´s because he know´s I got lost in that race and I like his 2009 proposal “Santi you need to kill the demon in that race next year like you did in Bloomsday in 2005” (In 2004 I had a mechanical problem with the chair and I couldn´t fight for the victory), I answer him “I don´t know what I´ll do next year but I´ll come back here sure”. Tom began to speak about his trip around Spain with his wife two years ago and he say´s to Clayton that was a fantastic trip around spanish coast (Malaga, Almeria, Alicante, Valencia,…), I can see in his eyes a real admiration for the spanish culture and he finishe´s with a simple “I love Spain”, I just think for a moment “I would like that Tom know my family in Spain”.
Million question arrive´s and Tom ask it with nonstop, Are you gonna set a new course record by fourth consecutive year? (After the race he would say to best ever history woman racer Jean Driscoll “Here is the boy four consecutive course records, Who can do it?”, I would say Jean that my main goal now in this race would be a second master than her 31´23´´ and we began to smile). I answer Tom with a big self confidence “Of course, You´ll get your four Bloomie record” and Tom say´s “This is my boy”.
It´s ten to seven and I decide back to my room I have fourty minutes before the wheelchair check in. I rest in my bed while begin to speak with my friend Saul. It was ten months ago when I saw him last time and he´s like I say a friend forever.
I have carried for his two months baby “Paul” a PUMA sport shoes and he begin´s to tell me that everything rolls perfect in Austin, I say him “next year I´ll go there to know my friend Paul”.
We follow speaking during half hour and just time to move to hall to do wheelchair check in. The weather is so cold and the termometer is around 7 degrees so I need a long warm up to get the best muscular conditions for the race. I want to begin my warm up at 7:45am.
When I have all ready to begin my warm up I realice that I forgot my velocimeter in my room, I´m a really methodic racer and use to control my 5Km pace in every event, also I know that for set a new course record (32´44´´), I need to push at Doomsday hill around 10Km/h.
Once again I push to my room and the elevators are so busy because too many runners are gonna race in Bloomsday, it make´s me feel nervous, in that point I meet the great racer and better friend (if it´s possible) Amanda Mcgrory, a big hug and I tell her “Nice to see you again Amanda” and I move fast to my room, take the velocimeter and back to the hall.
I have all my staff ready (gloves, helmet,…) and it´s twenty to seven so let´s go. I get out from hotel to begin warm up and is “fucking chilly”. For feeling this event, you need to go Spokane, there´s an amazing and great atmosphere with thousand runners in the streets of this little but wonderful town, some of then tell me “you look so fast”. I need to keep focus on the turn I need to do to arrive to start line just for warm up in the first part of the course.
After 500m I take this left turn and begin to push in this uphill street to the start line,for a moment I think that world best wheelchair racers have pushed around those streets Jean Driscoll, Louise Savage, Saul Mendoza, Paul Nitz, Clayton Gerein, Rick Reelie, Mustapha Badid, Candance Cable,… just an increasing adrenaline feeling grow´s inside myself.
I arrive to start line and begin to warm up, it need to be a really progressive warm up, I have fifty minutes til the start of the race which will be at 8:40am, the best thing is explore the first mile which connect the start with this down hill where we´re gonna coast at 40 miles. When I´m in my first five minutes push I see my teammate Saul Mendoza, he´s unbeatable in this event and has won ten times this event, today we can give again another double victory to Team Eagle like we´ve done in last three editions.
First fifteen minutes I just study my feelings, it´s not easy to recover from a race like I did yesterday in Indiana and of course from those five hours flight,… I think I feel great and no back painful or tie arms seems to be in my body.
When I´m close to the half hour of warm up I do my first down hill really fast and I reach more than 38 miles, then I push that uphill so slow because I don´t want to get injury in this Km with 7% slope, there I see Jhon Duda (Tanzania) and the mitic Jhon Korir (Kenya) who has won Bloomsday like me in three editions.
When I arrive to top of the hill I begin a faster warm up and my heart rate grow´s til 140-150 b/min. I´m in the final step of the warm up and I would like to begin sweat, I think the bomb is barking strength and I begin to think in a new course record.
When I arrive to start line I give my warm up jacket to a volunteer and I move to the grip. Due to yesterday I didn´t race the time trial I´m located in the second line behind the american Steven Toyoji who tell me “good luck”. I feel confortable instead of low temperature but a great rays sunshine touch my face and make me feel warmer but I don´t stop moving my arms, the warm up was long and productive, I want to push fast since the beginning.
Tom place every racer in his/her place (today 51 racers) and he announce “three minutes to go”, is in that moment when time to enjoy is getting closer. Every racer know that those “hell” hills are gonna kill us but for me this event is something wonderful which I cannot describe with my laptop.
I follow moving my arms in every moment and I listen “One minute to go”, the public begin to loud and clap their hands and it´s something amazing, I feel I´m gonna do things well and of course I know that I arrive to this event in my best shape. “Thirty seconds guys”, is the key sentence, that one which introduce you in the abyss that only a racer/runner know´s , that one which allow you to analyze every millimeter of your body and listen your heart barkes, it´s a pleasure and anguish feeling. I pray all gods for they pity of me in every crazy downhills and I think in Pilar which is the pillar in which is support all my sport career, this course record is for you my life…