After Kelowna I wanted to stay in Canada to be able to watch Katie (and my squad) race the Grand Final in Edmonton. I ended up driving Paula Findlay’s car the 10hrs from Kelowna to Edmonton and had an amazing homestay with her family. I figured since I was going to be in Edmonton, I might as well race Aquathlon Worlds before the “real” races started. Unfortunately I ended up getting a virus the night before the race and spent the majority of my race preparation in the bathroom. Since there were only a few men on the start list, and money went five deep, I decided to start the race anyway. It was pretty terrible. I lead out of the water, but after 200m in the swim I was already destroyed. I got passed by three others on the run (and ran what would be equivalent to about a 17:30 5k) and finished 4th. Good enough to make $750 for 20min of effort. I would have liked to have a world title, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.
Post Edmonton, Katie and I flew back to Boulder where we spent another week of training, and then packed up all our stuff and drove to Phoenix. From there we left her car (because that’s where we need it to be in about a month, and where she has the majority of her stuff) and flew to Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Super Sprint was an awesome race. We had 200m swim, 3k bike, and a 1k run X2 for prelims, and then a 300m swim, 5k bike, and a 2k run X2 at 9:00pm (on a Thursday) for finals. In prelims I ended up flying solo the whole way and qualified in second place leading into finals. In finals Aaron Royle, and Ben Kanute (who also won their heats in the morning by flying solo) and I, ended up getting away out of the first swim and that was the podium. After the first round we had about a 50sec lead on the rest of the field, so then it became a tactical game. I was kinda bummed about that because my run fitness is only at about 80-85%, but I played the game with them. I attacked about 400m out of the second T2 and had a very small lead into final 2k run, but Royle and Kanute were too fast for me and left me in the dust. I ended up finishing 3rd overall and was the 2nd American in the Elite Sprint National Championships.
After that race I didn’t get to sleep until 1:30am and Katie and my airport shuttle was at 5:15am! We got back to Santa Cruz fairly early and were able to settle in a bit before we had to race again the next day in Pacific Grove.
On Saturday Katie and I drove down to Pacific Grove (which is about a 40 minute drive from where we are living) and got all checked in and rode the course. In warm up I was absolutely destroyed from the previous week of travel and the two races I did just two days prior. I felt alright on the bike, but I knew the run was going to be a struggle for me as I am still building a solid base after my accident.
I lead the swim out and had about a 10 second gap out of the water on my good friends Joe Maloy and Eric Lagerstrom. I was so stoked to have them (and Katie) racing my favorite race of the year, and it made the day an even better experience! When I got on the bike, I wanted them to bridge up to me and so we could hammer and have a good hard team time trial on the bike, but after 20k the gap was staying exactly the same to them. I ended up sitting up and waiting for them and when they caught up to me the race dynamics changed. I was kinda bummed, but once we were together no one wanted to ride harder than the others so we slowed down dramatically. In retrospect I should have just kept riding solo, but during the race you second guess yourself. Since I wasn’t feeling great on the run, I was bummed that this just became a run race, but this race was more about seeing where my fitness is at, and just having a fun experience (while making a few bucks in the process). I ended up attacking the other two guys heading into T2 and had a sizeable lead on the run. Maloy didn’t catch me until the first of three laps. Once he caught me we ran together for another 1.5k and then I was toast. Aerobically I was feeling alright, but my legs were like two stiff logs. Joe had an amazing run, a very impressive 31:03, and took the first win of his career. I ran about 30 seconds faster than last year (but after having ridden two minutes slower than last year), but finished over a minute behind Joe for second place, while Eric rounded out the top three.
I am stoked out of my mind to be racing again, and I’ve been having a blast traveling with Katie. Next up is a solid block of training in Santa Cruz, a small trip to Kona with Katie and Coeur Sports, then on to my personal grand final, ITU World Cup Tongyeong, South Korea!