August 19, 2014

ITU Kelowna

After a solid performance at Tri Santa Cruz I was feeling very confident leading into my first ITU race “back from the dead”. It was a small field, but there were some talented runners lined up so it was definitely going to be a tough race.

I came into this race with one goal in mind – to win. Anything less than that I would not have been satisfied. Even though it was just a Pan American Cup, there were still very important ITU points on the line.

Before the race I had a chat with Andrew McCartney and Eric Lagerstrom about having a committed breakaway out of the water because we all knew we needed to ride hard to keep the super star runners at bay.

I had a great start and within the first 20 strokes already had a body-length on the field. From then I put it in cruise control and made sure McCartney and Eric were on my feet. After the first turn buoy we already had a gap, so I just kept the pace nice and smooth to make sure we stayed together. After the third turn buoy I looked back and saw McCartney was coming around me and that there was a gap to Eric. I slowed down and made sure Eric was on my feet and then swam back up to McCartney as we exited the water.

We all had solid transitions and were in a group about 1k into the ride. We worked somewhat well together on the first 10k lap, but on the second lap things started to deteriorate. The work load wasn't being shared evenly between the three of us and about 5k into the second lap I decided to go it alone. I put in a small surge and got a gap and ended up riding solo for about 3k. The gap wasn't getting any bigger and slowly they were reeling me back, so I sat up and we "regrouped".

We came flying into T2 and started the run within a few seconds of each other. The first 100m McCartney passed me and was flying! I just ran on his shoulder and was thinking to myself “man, I’m just gonna have to hang on for dear life!” But after about 800m I noticed he was slowing a bit so I decided to pick up my cadence and keep it rolling. From then it was just maintain my cadence and form to the line. I was pretty happy to run hard the entire time even with a substantial gap to the next athlete, but the main goal was “maintain my form”.

I was extremely stoked when I was coming down the finish chute for my first ever ITU victory (which I got to share with my girlfriend!) especially after just two months ago no one thought I would be racing again this season!

Thanks so much for everyone who has supported me through this whole process! Joel Filliol; Katie Hursey; my family; Craig our freaking awesome homestay in Boulder; and my awesome sponsors ROKA, NYAC, Brooks, Family Cycling Center, PowerBar, and Santa Cruz Running Company!

Next up, Aquathon Worlds in Edmonton!

August 14, 2014

Tri Santa Cruz: First Race Back

After my ordeal at the Dallas PanAm Champs, I was taken back to Santa Cruz for some recovery time. It was awesome spending time with my family and recovering with my girlfriend Katie Hursey as she was dealing with an Achilles injury. We ended up getting an opportunity to live and train in Boulder, CO until we were both back on track, and it has been amazing! We are both back to full health and training full time and ready to finish off the season strong.

My coach Joel Filliol and I decided it would be beneficial to race the Tri SC because it was a low key, non draft, hometown race that had a nice little Elite prize purse. Since this was going to be my first race back after my seizures, it was a great way to kick things off to prove to my parents, my girlfriend, my coach, USA Triathlon, and myself that everything was truly back to normal. I didn’t have too high of expectations leading into this race, but what I really wanted to do was run a legit 31:40 off the bike.

This was an easy trip to make with a direct flight and my TT bike already being in Santa Cruz at Family Cycling Center. Thanks to all the guys at the shop (and a front wheel from Bevan Docherty) my race machine was already dialed in when I got home.

The Race:
The swim was actually pretty warm for the pacific ocean, but it didn’t matter too much as the buoys were set much to close. I wore my garmin the whole race so I could have some numbers to show afterward, and wasn’t surprised when my watch said 12:53 after exiting the two-lap “1500m” swim.

The run to transition is a significant barefoot barge, and so after T1 when I got on the bike I had about 1:20 gap to the next athletes. Once on the bike I just went for it. I tried to hold my cadence about 98-100 the whole time and had a goal time in mind (since I didn’t have power). The bike was 37k, a little short, but I finished in 52:06 which was just under three minutes faster than my previous best on this exact course!

Once I hit the run it was truly game time. I had my goal in mind (3:10k pace) and did my best to stick to it. The course has a sharp 100m hill just out of transition, and dodging other athletes and casual cruisers along the open path made it a bit harder to keep on pace, but I was pleasantly surprised when I hit the 5k turn around (also exactly 5k on my garmin)  at 15:50. It’s slightly uphill going out, so I knew after the turn around it would be a bit easier to even split the last 5k and I would be able to nail my goal time. I brought it home nice and strong and crossed the line in total time of 1:39.16 and when I looked at my garmin was stoked to see 31:41!

Not only was it an awesome first race back, but my parents, my friend Jason, and my sister (among others) all came out to watch! Even though this is my 5th year as a professional, this was the first race my sister has ever seen me compete in.

Next up is Kelowna PanAM cup in Canada, time to start racking up those ITU points again!