Carson City's Amy Thornquist sure was glad she trained in the 30-mile an hour head winds of Washoe Valley.
While those winds were quite as tough as the 70-mile an hour winds she faced in Hawaii, they still helped Thornquist stay on her bike.
That's what Thornquist had to face when she competed in her first World Championship Ironman Triathlon earlier this month. Not to mention, having to swim against the tide that was going out as well.
In the tough conditions, Thornquist was able to finish the Ironman, which features a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile marathon run, in 12 1/2 hours.
She had hope to finish in 11 hours, but all the competitors were slowed by the conditions. Thornquist finished 27th in the 25-28 age group division.
At times, Thornquist was cycling at just seven miles an hour in the heavy winds in Hawaii.
"I guess it was the worst they've ever seen," Thornquist said. "That was interesting to see people totally tilted on their bikes."
While others were knocked off the bikes, Thornquist managed to stay on hers.
"I wasn't as frustrated as the other people were," she said. "I was glad I trained in Washoe Valley, that's for sure."
Thornquist qualified for the Ironman after finishing second in her age group at a half triathlon in Santa Rosa that featured a 1 1/2 mile swin, 56-mile bike ride and 13.2 mile run.
The World Championships was the first Ironman of any kind that Thornquist competed in. She said in the future, athletes will no longer be able to qualify for the World Championship Ironman from half triathlons.
"Which makes sense because it's not twice as hard, it's three times as hard," she said.
Thornquist admitted she didn't know what to expect in Hawaii. "All I could think of is, I'm here," she said.
"I didn't think how long it takes. It was just surviving. I was happy. I just wanted to finish."
While Thornquist said she will likely do Ironmans in the future, she will mostly stick to the half triathlons, which take 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
"I kind of want the rest of the day to do something else," she said.
Thornquist also said she doesn't believe another World Championship Ironman is in her future because of the commitment it takes. "It's a long time away from family," she said.
But she recommends the World Championship Ironman as a goal for any serious triathlete.
"It was pretty incredible I have to say," she said. "I think it's a good thing for everybody who wants to do an Ironman distance."
"They look at it like the Olympics for triathlons," Thornquist also said about the World Championships. "I don't think people realize how
incredible this is."
Thornquist ran cross country and track, but hesitated at first before
trying a triathlon.
"The swim always made me scared," she said. "I never knew how to swim."
But she was able to swim well enough and do well enough in her first triathlon and she said, "from that point, I just liked it."
--Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.