|Coming out of the water in 10th. Jeff Symonds|
right behind me. Needed to be on his wheel to
work my way back.
Coming into the race I had high expectations, I thought a top 5 performance was within striking distance. I needed to repeat the swimming performances I've had throughout the year, ride with the first group of athletes, and come off the bike and run a 1:20. All well within my athletic abilities, but not necessarily easy. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned, but I'm happy to have finished and completed the race even when things were tough.
Race morning, the temperature was 43 degrees, and I was freezing. Brandon Marsh (5th place) was super cool and lent me a set of arm warmers. Thanks again Brandon, I appreciated them! Too bad I did not request swimming on your feet when I asked for the arm warmers. That would have been nice! Great race Brandon and good luck at Ironman Cozumel.
Swim - 25:08
The gun sounded and I quickly realized I was a little off. With the likes of some of the sports best swimmers, such as Andy Potts, Brandon Marsh, Barrett Brandon and Mauro Cavanha, the first few hundred meters were fast. I settled onto the feet of TJ Tollakson and thought, this will work, TJ will be in the mix and I'll come out of the water with some strong cyclist. However, after about a minute or two on TJ's feet, I swam crooked and swam off his feet. I did not necessarily get dropped, but rather dropped myself from the group. I simply swam poorly. The next few hundred meters continued in the same manners, with me just not swimming well. The second group of athletes slipped about 75-100 meters ahead of me. The last half of the swim went better, I cut the losses to the group ahead of me to about 30 seconds, and came out of the water in 10th place. Not a great swim, but the race was not over at the swim. I needed to have a fast T1 and then hammer the bike to get back into contention.
Bike - 2:19:04
After a rather slow transition (I struggled getting my arm warmers on) I hopped onto the bike hoping to claw back some of the time I gave away on the swim. I made a crucial mistake in transition and early on the bike. I did not get out of transition with Jeff Symonds and then I did not ride hard enough to ride up to him. The difference out of T1 was no more than 10 seconds, but Jeff quickly made the gap swell, and he was out of sight. Jeff rode great at the race and came off the bike in 3rd place. Looking back at it, I should have tried to go with him. I'm uncertain if I could have ridden the whole 56 miles with Jeff, but if I could have ridden half of it with him I could have been brought up to the main chase pack and jumped off the bike in 5th or 6th place. Instead, I caught a few athletes, and settled into a pace that simply was too slow. I was cold on the bike, but I'm not sure if it was that, or if I rode too conservatively, or if my body was just going to work at only 85%, but the whole ride I simply did not push the pace. I came off the bike in 9th place, but 10 minutes behind the leaders. The race was now to finish.
|I did like the new kit!|
Run - 1:24:51
I started the run hoping to run my way into a 7th or 8th place, and if one of the athletes ahead faded, maybe a little higher. Things started off well. I ran into 8th place by about mile 1 and was joined by Tom Gerlach shortly thereafter. Tom and I ran the first looped together and we were making decent time, running about 6:05 pace. This is not a blazing pace, but would bring me in about 1:20, and that's what I really wanted. Around mile 5 or so, I quickly realized my stomach was not excited to run. Nick Thompson who was running his way into 7th place sprinted past Tom and me, and unfortunately for me I headed for bathroom break. I exited in the mini break in 11th, but could not make up the ground on the guys ahead. Again at mile 10, I had another break. This was just the way the day was going. I now found myself in 13th and really just wanted to finish and call it a day. In the final mile, two more athletes passed me and that's where I would finish, 15th, in a time of 4:12:51.
By no means was this a good race for me, but I was proud to have finished. There were a few moments in which I thought I would have to walk it in. Over the past few weeks I've been struggling with a Crohn's flare up, and my body performed at an 85% level, but I think that was the best I could have expected. Even though I did not have the finish I wanted, I'm happy to have finished, and completed another year.
I want to thank my homestay, Robyn and Kyle, it was awesome see you guys and thanks so much for all the hospitality! I had a blast.
I'd also like to thank my sponsors: Parcycles, thanks for all the support this year, you guys are awesome; Rudy Project, thanks for the great helmet and glasses, they help me go fast. And Everyman Jack, thanks for the kit and I'm looking forward to racing with the team next year!
The highlight of the weekend was watching my friends' five year old son learn how to ride it bike. It was awesome, he went from never riding to riding up a hill in the matter of an hour. With that said, he earned my Austin 70.3 medal, and in a few years I anticipate he'll be racing and passing me in a triathlon!
Next up: REST AND RECOVERY
Next Race: Oceanside 70.3 (March 30, 2013)