Since it was a weekend and I think there is nothing better than racing, I decided to keep racing my way into shape and competed in the LA Triathlon. This makes it 4 races in 4 weeks and I am actually feeling more fit with each race.
The LA Triathlon is one of my favorite races. I grew up in LA, went to UCLA and I competed in the first three years of race's history, 2000, 2001 and 2002. The ocean swim is great but can be tough with the surf, the bike is very fast and the run is challenging with a steep hill on each of the two laps. Team Pac Bikes was representing Nor Cal at the race, as Nate and I were competing in the Elite Amateur division.
The swim was great. Right as we were sprinting into the water a nice set of waves came rolling through. I hit the water in about 8th or so place, but quickly found my groove, high stepping and then dolphining through the surf. As the last wave of the set crashed down upon us, I did a long dolphin dive which took me to the ocean floor, and from there, I pushed off the bottom and did a few dolphin kicks. Sure enough the rest of the Elite Mens field was caught in the surf line, I popped out the other side of the wave and had a 30 meter lead on everyone in just the first 100 meters. Knowing there were some very fast swimmers in the wave and my swim is not quite there yet, I decided to take my time and swim relaxed to the first buoy. I rounded the first buoy in first and was soon caught by the two fastest swimmers. My plan was to stay on their feet for the next 1200 meters. I lasted about 500 meters, but their pace was just a bit too fast and they slipped away. The fourth place swimmer was not too far back, so when he passed me, I jumped on his feet and swam the rest of the swim with him. On the way back in through the surf, I caught a small wave and moved back into third place. I came out of T2 about 40 seconds down on first and second place. I was very happy with my 21:28 swim. In the pro wave, ITU World Champion Javier Gomez swam 19:49, so being 1:40 behind him was great time for me.
One of the coolest things about having an identical twin (who is also a state champ in the TTT) is that when you visit him in LA you get to race his bike and wheel set. My brother has a P3 with a 808 front and Sub 9 disk in the back, so I had no excuses not to go fast. Even better, he has a ceramic bottom bracket (by the way everyone should get one). It's amazing how much smoother my riding was and it easily made me faster.
I caught the two swim leaders about mile 10 of the bike. One of the leaders stayed with me for about 6 miles and then fell off my wheel. Once I saw him off my wheel, I decided to push it and really make a go at putting some time into him. The two swim leaders eventually got back together but I managed to come into T2 with 45 second lead and was out of T2 with a lead of 40 seconds.
Run 37.59 (6.55 miles on my Garmin, so about a 35:51 for 10K)
The run takes you through downtown LA and it's quite fun to be running through all the towering buildings. This was the best I have felt all year off the bike and quickly got into a 5:25 pace. About a mile into the run you come up on a steep hill that is 300 meters long. This is a San Francisco type hill. Knowing I had to run this hill twice, I conserved my energy as I ran to the top. My pace dramatically slowed but I felt pretty good at the top. Once you reach the top of the hill, you run about 400 meters and then hit the turn around. On the way back down the hill I saw my lead had grown to about 1:30. I was feeling great. I kept this pace all through the rest of first loop and the beginning to the second loop until I met the formidable hill again. I really struggled up the hill the second time, I just don't have the power in my stride, but I made it to the top and then settled back into a good pace. I was now running about 5:40 pace and had over a 2 minute lead on the next Elite Amateur. I cruised in and really enjoyed the finish line shoot. The race is well attended and it was nice to experience the cheers as I ran down the shoot. I crossed the line in 1:59:44 coming away with a victory by a bit over 2 and half minutes.
Nate also had a great race finishing in 7th. So Pac Bikes went down to LA and took 2 of the top 7 positions among the Elite Amateur field.
Hope all are well,