October 14, 2013

ITU World Cup Cozumel and Tongyeong

Because of my below average ITU season I ended up adding two world cups to my schedule to try and get my ranking up so I can get starts for next year’s WTS season. I ended up racing Sunday, Oct 6th in Cozumel, Mexico at a Sprint World Cup and then on Saturday, Oct 12th racing in Tongyeong, South Korea at an Olympic distance World Cup. Unfortunately, the end results of both races were on par with how the rest of my season has been going.

Cozumel was a current swim and a lot of the faster swimmers ended up choosing the wrong side of the pontoon. I started to the far right which I knew would get me in line with the buoy and after the gun went off I had clear water all the way to the exit. The frustrating thing about the swim was that the “fast group” to the left filled in the gap my group had made to the rest of the field, so when we got out onto the bike it was one long string of athletes. 

Right away everyone was sitting in and no one wanted to pull through except for Ben Kanute. After just two minutes on the bike we were one giant slow pack. After the second of four laps the entire field of 65 men was together. Throughout the race there were multiple attacks and nothing was sticking until finally a group or Kanute, Shomburg, Brukankov, and Buckingham got about a 10-15sec gap and the rest of the field was letting them go. That group I knew would stay away, because it was full of very strong and committed riders. I ended up putting in a solid two minute effort with another Brazilian and we bridged up to that group of four.

Right when I got to the group, we hit the turnaround point and Brukankov ended up crashing and taking out a couple other guys. The breakaway was shattered. After that we ended up getting caught by the main field again and there were more and more attacks. By the time I got to T2, I had put in quite a few anaerobic efforts that really caught up with me, especially for how hot it was. I worked hard to position myself at the front leading into transition and when I got off my bike I almost fell over my legs were so tired. I could barely run my bike to my transition spot. I knew that if I ran I would be absolutely destroyed and not finish within the top 30 (which means no points) and with 38hrs of travel coming up before Tongyeong I made the decision to call it a day in T2. I really hate not finishing, but I had to weigh the pros and cons for the “greater good”.

My plan leading into this race was to cruise the swim, do just enough work on the bike, and leave it all on the run. I was really confident leading into this race that I was going to have a solid result, but since I’ve only had about four weeks of training after recovering from my crash, everything was going to have to go perfectly. 

Once again I went to the opposite side of the pontoon of the top ranked athletes and had nice clear water all the way to the first buoy.  From then on it was me, Joe Maloy, and Ben Shaw who had a nice gap on the rest of the field. Apparently my pace wasn’t fast enough for Mr. Maloy so I relinquished the lead to him and just sat on his feet until the exit. After the swim exit there’s a 150m run to transition with a couple of 90 degree turns. On the very first turn I ended up sliding out and messing up my leg and toes pretty bad. I got up right away but ended up having to limp to my bike. Once on my bike my leg was really bothering me but loosened up a bit.

When I got on the bike I was stoked that we had a gap because that meant that we got a couple “free laps” where we could just cruise until the chase pack caught us. But this never happened. After the first turnaround I looked at my watch and saw we had 30 seconds, then by the time we were starting our second of five laps we had 35 seconds. The interesting thing about this race is that we weren’t riding a “breakaway”, Ben and I were just riding tempo while Joe came through when he could. We weren’t smashing ourselves to try and stay away, it just worked out that way. But regardless of us just riding in our racing “comfort zone” we were still putting in a much bigger effort compared to a big group of 20.

Joe ended up crashing at the end of the fourth lap and so Ben and I finished the last lap with just the two of us. We ended up getting the gap to the chasers back up to 45 seconds into T2 which was a pretty solid advantage.

The first two laps of the four lap run I felt pretty good (besides my knee and toes feeling like they were broken). Ben and I ran together and didn’t get caught for a while, but when we did get caught, we couldn’t really stay with any group. There was a steep 200m hill on every lap, and by the time I went up it for the third time I was cooked. I don’t think this had anything to do with the bike effort, but rather my lack of endurance from only four weeks of training. I tried to hang on the best I could but I kept getting passed and passed and ended up finishing in a very disappointing 20th.

I have been quite frustrated this season with my race results not reflecting how well my training has gone this year, but I have to keep focusing on the big picture and use all the negatives as learning tools for next year and when Olympic qualification starts.

1 comment:

  1. Get back on the horse Tommy Z! Greener pastures are on the horizon!