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!