After a solid performance at Tri Santa Cruz I was feeling very confident leading into my first ITU race “back from the dead”. It was a small field, but there were some talented runners lined up so it was definitely going to be a tough race.
I came into this race with one goal in mind – to win. Anything less than that I would not have been satisfied. Even though it was just a Pan American Cup, there were still very important ITU points on the line.
Before the race I had a chat with Andrew McCartney and Eric Lagerstrom about having a committed breakaway out of the water because we all knew we needed to ride hard to keep the super star runners at bay.
I had a great start and within the first 20 strokes already had a body-length on the field. From then I put it in cruise control and made sure McCartney and Eric were on my feet. After the first turn buoy we already had a gap, so I just kept the pace nice and smooth to make sure we stayed together. After the third turn buoy I looked back and saw McCartney was coming around me and that there was a gap to Eric. I slowed down and made sure Eric was on my feet and then swam back up to McCartney as we exited the water.
We all had solid transitions and were in a group about 1k into the ride. We worked somewhat well together on the first 10k lap, but on the second lap things started to deteriorate. The work load wasn't being shared evenly between the three of us and about 5k into the second lap I decided to go it alone. I put in a small surge and got a gap and ended up riding solo for about 3k. The gap wasn't getting any bigger and slowly they were reeling me back, so I sat up and we "regrouped".
We came flying into T2 and started the run within a few seconds of each other. The first 100m McCartney passed me and was flying! I just ran on his shoulder and was thinking to myself “man, I’m just gonna have to hang on for dear life!” But after about 800m I noticed he was slowing a bit so I decided to pick up my cadence and keep it rolling. From then it was just maintain my cadence and form to the line. I was pretty happy to run hard the entire time even with a substantial gap to the next athlete, but the main goal was “maintain my form”.
I was extremely stoked when I was coming down the finish chute for my first ever ITU victory (which I got to share with my girlfriend!) especially after just two months ago no one thought I would be racing again this season!
Thanks so much for everyone who has supported me through this whole process! Joel Filliol; Katie Hursey; my family; Craig our freaking awesome homestay in Boulder; and my awesome sponsors ROKA, NYAC, Brooks, Family Cycling Center, PowerBar, and Santa Cruz Running Company!
Next up, Aquathon Worlds in Edmonton!