About Me

My photo
San Francisco, California and, Carrboro, North Carolina, United States

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Racine 70.3

Sitting back and writing this race report all I can think about is that I'm disappointed in myself for not finishing and not taking care of the easy things.  First, I should have finished, I was mentally beat, but that is not a legitimate reason.  Second, my fitness is where it needs to be but my race preparation is not great.  Unlike most triathletes, I'm a little too laid back.  I did not have a back up plan for my race fuel.  I took a chance with the amount of calories I was carrying on the bike and in the end I paid the price (I bonked badly).  Nonetheless, I should have kept going and finished the race.  

Swim: 24:12 
I did not have a great start to the swim but I as I came around the first buoy I was in 10th place.  I knew I could make a move and be higher up into the first group, so that's what I did, taking about 30 hard strokes.  I worked my way right onto Craig Alexander's feet and swimming right in front of Bryan Rhodes and Tim Reed.  This was perfect, I was sitting in 5th place getting a nice draft off one of the world's best triathletes.  Crowie set a good pace and we caught up to Paul Ambrose around 1500 meters into the swim.  Two athletes, Marko Albert and Joseph Lampe, were off the front of this group, but this group was a great group to be with, so I settled into the swim and swam relaxed the rest of the way.  Six or seven of us exited the water quickly made our way to T1.  

Coming out of the water with Time Reed, Bryan Rhodes and Craig Alexander.
Bike 2:13:05
Onto the bike with the first group.  I thought, perfect, ride with these guys, come off the bike in the top 7 or 8, and run your way into a top 5 position.  However, the rough roads of Racine had different plans.  At mile 4 or so, a stretch of rough road bounced out one of my bottles.  There went 400 calories.  This is where my lack preparation caught up to me.  I did not carry any extra calories, so now I was stuck with about 500 calories to complete the bike.  At the same time, Jordan Jones blew by the group and the group fractured into two sets of 3 athletes.  I was in the second group, riding with Paul Ambrose and Bryan Rhodes (two great athletes, so I was not worried).  Ambrose and I took turns pulling, rotating about every 2 minutes.  I tried to pull the uphills and let Ambrose power down the downhills.  We worked well together and over the next 20 or so miles we caught the athletes that were up the rode (with the exemption of Albert and Jones).  Around mile 27, we caught Craig Alexander and Joesph Lampe.  I thought this was awesome, I'm riding well, sitting in 4th place, and, more importantly, I'm competing with the world's best.  Right as we caught Alexander two unfortunate things happened.  First, I was stung by a bee right above my right cheek.  The sting hurt, but I had worse problems, the bolt holding my bars to the headset came loose.  I thought NO, NO, NO!  I'm not going to have a mechanical take me out of this race.  However, riding this way was extremely dangerous.  I could barely turn and with each bump on the road, which there were about a thousand, my bars would go up and down.  I also knew that each bump made the the bolt looser and looser.  As I almost rode into some Wisconsin farm land, Ambrose dropped me around the first corner.  I rode away from Alexander on a climb, but Lampe rode about 200 meters behind me for the remaining miles.  Those 29 miles were the scariest miles I've ever ridden.  A couple of thoughts went through my head.  First, I thought, "damn you bee, my cheek hurts."  Second I thought, "James, you're awfully stupid, you're riding downhill at over 30 mph and your bars are loose. You also borrowed $60K to go to Berkeley Law School, if you crash, your brain better still work, or there's no paycheck."  However, I kept being stupid and kept riding.  I continuously looked at my computer, happy to see the miles clicking away.  At mile 50, I was still in 4th place and I was thinking, wow, if I can survive this, I may end up with a great race, only 6 more miles to go.  I rode into T2 in 4th place, extremely happy to have survived and hoping to have a good run.

Working with Paul Ambrose.

Bars completely loose.  They only stayed upright if I held them up.  This was an unpleasant ride.

Run: DNF  
Entering into T2 I took a wrong turn and then ran past my transition spot.  This cost me a good 45 seconds or so, but to be honest, I was just so happy to be getting off the bike without crashing.  Onto the run, Lampe had passed me in T2 and my better half shouted that I was 30 seconds down.  I ran a conservative pace, wanting to put together a strong run but respecting the 90+ degree heat.  I did not want to blow up.  I also was trying to consume some calories, because I did not want to bonk.  I quickly ingested about 200 calories of gels, and hoped this would offset my lack of calories on the bike.  Two miles into the run, I caught Lampe and was running in 4th pace.  

At this point, I thought awesome, just keep going and you'll be a top 5 performer today.  This could be my break through performance.  I wish that was correct.  I had bad third mile, Lampe caught and passed, me, and I knew I was beginning to bonk.  I was passed by Tim Reed right about the first turn around, and was now running in 6th.  It was at this point I lost my concentration.  I started to think my slow running, my sore cheek, and the miserable weather conditions.  I told myself that if I did not make the half way point by 45 minutes, I would call it day.  Over the next few miles, Robert Wade, Patrick Evo, and Shannon Stallard, past me and dropped to 9th.  Running in 9th at the turn around, my watch displayed 45:20, and I decided to stop.  It was a decision I instantly regretted, but for a brief moment, I just lacked the fortitude to finish.

In retrospect, I should not have stopped.  I would have likely finished in 10th and scored 200 points toward World Championship qualifications.  I did learn a few things during the race, and in that sense, the race was not a failure.  I gained more confidence, I'm routinely swimming and riding with the world's best.  I'm a runner by athletic background, so I once i figure out how to fuel on the bike, I think I'll run with the world's best too.  

I'm off to California for 5 weeks for a great training block

I want to thank my homestay in Milwaukee, Michael and Judi, you guys are super great hosts, thanks for everything!

Some nice images of the race can also be found at the following links:

No comments:

Post a Comment