October 30, 2014

2014 Season Wrap Up

This tri season saw a lot of interesting action this year, and was definitely a roller coaster of sorts. I’m so thankful for everyone who has been there for me and made my season the most successful season of my career!

The beginning of the season started with a very poor race in Christchurch, New Zealand; a crash in Mooloolaba, Australia; an “okay” race in New Plymouth, New Zealand; and a terrible DNF race in Auckland, New Zealand that included diarrhea.

I came home, reorganized my entire race schedule, moved to Clermont, Florida with Jarrod Shoemaker and Alicia Kaye, and “started my season over”. I had amazing hot weather training with Alicia for a couple months and started my season back with a 2nd place finish at ITU Bridgetown, Barbados. I then had the most “memorable” situation of the year by having a heatstroke and two seizures at our Pan American Championships in Dallas, Texas.

At this point, Katie had an injured Achilles, I was recovering from my time in the hospital, and so it worked out quite well that we were able to take it easy back in Santa Cruz, CA. Once we were both able to start getting back into things, Katie had the opportunity to work with Bobby McGee in Boulder, CO. So Katie and I moved there and were living with a guy named Craig Sweeny. Craig is freaking awesome, let that be known. He made our experience in Boulder a seriously incredible one!
Once I had gotten some solid base hours under my belt, my coach Joel Filliol spent quite a bit of time making sure all my workouts were specific towards getting me back in shape easily and safely. I came back to Santa Cruz in August for my first race back after my hospital hiccup, and ended up having an awesome race and winning. The next weekend I won my first ever ITU race in Kelowna, Canada and best of all, I got to share the top of the podium with Katie!

After that race, I drove Paula Findlay’s car to Edmonton, Canada to race Aquathlon World Champs, and watch Katie race the Grand finale. I ended up getting extremely sick the night before the race but still raced and finished 4th.

After Edmonton, Katie and I flew back to Boulder, drove to Phoenix, flew to Las Vegas and raced the Las Vegas Super Sprint, where I finished 3rd overall (2nd American for USAT Sprint National Champs) and then flew back to Santa Cruz.

Two days later we raced the Triathlon at Pacific Grove (which is just a quick 40min drive from my house) where I finished 2nd to my good friend Joe Maloy. After that I had a few days to recover which I took the opportunity to fly back to Clermont and pick up all my stuff that had been left there (because after Dallas I ended up having to fly back to Santa Cruz instead of back to Florida where I had moved).

Once I had all my stuff in one place, Katie and I moved into a trailer that is parked on my sister and brother in-law’s property, while my parents (who had just sold their house of 30 years) were living in a room in their house to help take care of my two nephews because my Brother in law is in fire academy and my sister is coaching swimming. My parents have bought a new house and will move in around Jan 1st, but until then, the entire family is all together on one property!

During this time, I finally had the perfect moment and I asked Katie to marry me! Fortunately she said yes, and we set the wedding date for January 17th, 2015!

For the end of the season push towards Tongyeong, I was training in Santa Cruz, went to Kona, Hawaii for a week with Katie and her sponsor Coeur Sports, and then flew to Tongyeong, South Korea where I was 3rd , my first ever World Cup podium – All this while planning a wedding!
After Tongyeong I flew back to San Diego where I finished off my season with a 5th place at Lifetime Tri Oceanside. Katie and I drove back up to Santa Cruz, settled in for a bit, and two days later we are off to spend our off season back in Hampstead, Maryland where her family is.

Overall this season was full of adventure with some heavy lows, but also, some extreme highs. I’m looking forward to starting next season ranked 65th in the world in the ITU points ranking, and continuing to contribute to the positive growth that the USA men’s program has been showing, and ideally be an important part in helping the US men qualify 3 spots for the Rio Olympic Games!

Lifetime Tri Oceanside

After ITU Tongyeong, I flew back to San Diego to meet up with Katie and to prepare for my final race of the season - Lifetime Fitness Tri Series Finale in Oceanside. Breaking away from my norm, I was excited to race a high level Non-Draft race just to test those waters. I didn’t have my TT bike, but luckily my parents wanted to make the 8hr drive from Santa Cruz to San Diego and they were able to bring me my TT bike the day before the race!

Since I never race this style of triathlon, I wasn’t really sure what to expect and I ended up making a few errors that I won’t make again in the future. Luckily this race was just for fun, and so learning from my mistakes here was a bigger benefit than loss.

Since this was a non-draft race I came in prepared to take advantage of my strength and swim very hard. I didn’t really know what to expect on the bike as I don’t have a power meter and I’ve only ridden my TT bike a handful of times. My goal was to swim off the front, and then ride off the front as long as possible and try to go with Cameron Dye and Ben Collins when they came past. I estimated I would need about a minute gap ahead of Joe Maloy and Hunter Kemper as well as keeping Cameron and Ben within about a minute at T2. My strategy played out perfectly until Cameron actually came past me at about 20 minutes into the bike and I was only able to ride with him for about 12 seconds. After about another 10min of riding solo Ben Collins came past me and I tried to go with him – same thing, about 30 seconds trying to ride with him I already knew I wouldn’t be able to walk off the bike if I continued at that pace. Luckily there was a group of David Giaradini, Eric Lagerstrom, Javier Gomes, Hunter Kemper, and Joe Maloy who swallowed me up soon after and once I was in that group it was unbelievably easy to ride. The stagger rule, and the mental break from solo pacing was a huge advantage and riding with that group was a piece of cake! Once I was in that group I was immediately upset at myself for having swam so hard and put so much effort in on the bike at the beginning of the race.

I had good positioning heading into T2 and had a good transition and started off the run right on pace. I felt awesome and was having a fantastic run pacing with Hunter Kemper and holding off Joe Maloy. I ended up dropping Hunter and at 6k Joe Maloy came past me. I went with Joe and felt good until about 7k when all the sudden, like hitting a wall, my body started shutting down. It was exactly the same thing that happened in Tongyeong the week before, but at least this time I made it another kilometer further! My training has been awesome, but I haven’t quite got the fitness for completing a full 10k at the pace I would like. I ended up getting dropped by Joe and at this point I was about 10 seconds back of Ben Collins. I slowed the pace a bit just to hang on and knew that when Hunter was coming around me I would try and go with him. It didn’t work. When Hunter came around I had nothing and couldn’t go with him, and once he caught Ben they both worked off each other and started pulling further away. With one k to go Joe had about a 15 second gap to Hunter, Ben and now Cameron Dye. I tried pretty hard to catch that group, but at that point they had ramped up the pace quite a bit in a mad dash for the podium, series win, and triple crown victory, so with no one in sight behind me I lost a lot of motivation to try and murder myself to join that finishing party. I ended up running quite a bit slower the last section and finishing a solid 5th place (and just behind the women’s winner, my squad mate and good friend, Alicia Kaye. After the 10:13 women’s equalizer).

Overall I’m pretty darn happy with this result, and even more stoked for my good friend Joe Maloy who came away with the biggest win of his career! I can’t wait to race this style more in the future, and really hone my TT skills, tactical skills, and finish off that darn 10k all the way to the line!

ITU Tongyeong World Cup

The week before this race I had an amazing opportunity to go with my fiancé (thanks to one of her awesome sponsors, Coeur Sports) to Kona for the Ironman World Champs! It was an amazing experience and I was able to get some good training in leading up to the race. Another benefit, besides just being in Hawaii with amazing people, is that Hawaii is on the way to South Korea! This made travel extremely easy, and I was well prepared for the final ITU World Cup of the season.

The weather could not have been better when I got in to the little fishing village of Tongyeong, it was perfect conditions and team USA had strong contingent of athletes that were racing so the energy was positive everywhere. Before the race I had a quick chat with a few guys about a breakaway and basically said we had a few Americans who were on board and committed to a breakaway out of the water. I had imagined a few more guys being there, but the way it worked out the group that got together on the bike was able to get the job done on the day.

I swam pretty hard the first 250m, made sure the main swimmers were all around and then set a fairly high tempo for the first lap. In the second lap Anthony Pujades from France, and Henri Schoeman from South Africa came around and started setting the pace. It was perfect. I got to relax back in the group with the pace staying high in the water. When we exited the water we had a group of five and we charged through T1 and smashed the first 2ks on the bike. We discussed waiting for two men coming up behind us but then realized they weren’t making too much progress so we ended up just starting our “team time trial” there and never looked back.

On the first lap there were multiple groups out on the road with various gaps, but by the start of the second lap there was only a couple groups and the gap was already over a minute. We were all encouraging each other and I was giving the group splits and we all kept pushing. As the bike leg went on the chase groups became the “chase group”. Basically the rest of the athletes were in that second group on the road and they obviously weren’t getting organized. By the end of the ride, our group of 5 athletes had about 2.5 minutes on the chase group. It was the perfect situation as my country mate Ben Kanute helped keep the pace high and would yell “2min? I want more, let’s keep going!” and the pace would stay up.

I had a good position in the front leading into T2 and was the first one out on the run. At about the 2k mark I was joined by Kanute and Schoeman. The three of us ran together for another 2.5k and Kanute ended up falling off the pace a bit. I stayed with Henri for another lap, and felt good, but then around 6-7k I completely blew up. I was thinking “oh no, I just need to keep it together for 4k and I’ll be good for the podium”. I ran by myself, watching Schoeman slowly get further and further in front, and watching the fast runners behind start closing the gap extremely quickly. I got splits from coaches at 4k that said “David Hauss is 80 seconds back” then at 2k the split was “Hauss is 40sec back!” which meant he took 40 seconds out of me in 2k and was 40 seconds back and I only had 2k to go. I dug as deep as I could and when I was at about 500m to go, Kanute had caught back up to me and was running just behind. When we came around the corner to the finish chute, he started his sprint and I tried as hard as I could to go with him but I had zero energy left. I ended up crossing the line in 3rd, still good enough for my first ever World Cup podium!

I’m extremely happy with this result as it is a glimpse of what I am capable of. I’m still not back to full condition after my accident in May, but with the way the end of the season has panned out I couldn’t be happier. Another positive is that the ride was the highest average wattage I’ve ever had in an Olympic distance race, which means I’m still progressing, and getting stronger.

Thanks to Joel Filliol my coach for believing in me through all the ups and downs this season, I could not have gotten to where I am right now without his support. My sponsors, ROKA, NYAC, Brooks, PowerBar, Family Cycling Center, and Santa Cruz Running Company have all been an extremely intricate part of my success this year. Please support them as they have helped me!