Coming off my victory at The San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz I felt great mentally and physically. Because of this boost I was able to put in two of the best weeks of training I’ve ever had and was really excited about how my body was going to react to the workouts I had done leading up to the Triathlon at Pacific Grove.
PG is a lot more nerve racking then Alcatraz because PG is a draft legal race (where the cyclists can work together in packs) and therefore has a lot more to do with tactics as opposed to the non-drafting, every man for himself, style of racing. For a couple weeks my mind was going crazy trying to envision different scenarios that could play out in the race so that I would be prepared for everything. Because of this mental preparation I was able to control my thoughts during the race and make solid decisions without even thinking twice.
I knew the “swim” was going to be ridiculous because of the kelp fields, which takes the advantage away from the stronger swimmers and evens the field out from the start. It’s basically a race of who is the most efficient seaweed navigator. There is a section from the last buoy to the swim exit where you can actually swim, so that was my only chance to spread the field out. I picked up the pace in the last 200m and lead the swim out. I had the fastest T1 and hammered the first section of the bike.
I was hoping that a few people would bridge up to me and we could have a nice little breakaway, but it turned into me riding off the front by myself for a couple miles and finally just slow pedaling and waiting for the chase pack to catch me. When they finally caught me there was a pack of 6 guys I was able to join and we worked together extremely well. We put about 3 minutes on the next group of guys which was more than enough to be able to out run anyone from that group, so now what I needed to prepare for was running with guys from my pack. I was feeling really good on the bike, so I tried to push the pace fairly hard out of the corners and make some of the other guys put some effort in their legs to stay with the group. I surged a bit toward T2 and was first off the bike.
I had a solid T2 and was off on the run course out in front. I wanted to get as big of a gap as I could before I settled into my pace and got caught by the faster runners (yeah, I was mentally prepared to be caught). Surprisingly I didn’t get caught until the first turnaround on the 3 loop run course and when I did I was happy to find out it was only two others (Steve Sexton and John Dahlz) from our group of seven. I dropped behind Steve and let him lead the pace for the next two laps and just watched and listened to him and JD to get an idea of how they were feeling. I honestly thought that the three of us were going to sprint it out at the end, but at the last aid station just before the last turnaround they both yelled “water!” and I knew I had to go right then. I surged immediately and at the turn around I saw I had a small gap. I kept pushing the pace and ended up holding them both off until the finish.
This was definitely another great race experience and another little boost that will hopefully carry on through Nationals in Buffalo in two weeks. Big thanks to all my SPONSORS!!