I landed in Austin after a painless non-stop flight and arrived at my Aunt's house mid day and HUNGRY! It was great to see my Aunt and cousin after many years. I also got to meet my cousin's new wife. First stop was the grocery store and Austin has one of the finest I have ever been to. Central Market is RAD.
On Friday I got in a little run and a swim in one of the coolest "pools" I've ever been to, Barton Springs Pool. A natural spring pool that is 50 yards wide and 300 yards long. Awesome!
Onto the race.
Despite some traffic getting into the venue and the slight hassle that a split transition presents, it was a beautiful morning. I had less time than I would have liked to warm up and soon enough we were off.
Although my warm up was pretty much nil, I was happy to stick with the front group through the first 500m or so. Then I had the misfortune of jamming my left hand and middle finger directly into an upkicking foot. It hurt like hell and for a second I thought I dislocated my finger. The pain of trying to pull water at that point was pretty bad so I took a few one armed strokes. After that a gap had formed and I was off the back. I had a little company to the first turn, but after that was pretty much solo all the way in. Adding irritation to injury, was the fact that the WTC has seen fit to allow wetsuits all the way up to 76 degree water even for pros! I never saw any problem in having a different temperature for age groupers and professional athletes and cannot fathom a reason for this change. I understand, sad and ridiculous as it is, that non-wetsuit swims strike fear in the hearts of Race Directors and some age groupers alike, but there really is NO legitimate reason that professional triathletes should be wearing wetsuits in water up to 76 degrees. The water was about 73-74 degrees on race day and by the turn I was baking in my suit. No reason we should have been in suits. I was tempted to take a big scoop of water down my chest to cool off but knew it would be costly.
Onto the bike and I felt like death. As usual my legs did NOT want to push for the first bit on the bike. I was passed by seemingly half the field in the first 15-20mi. At one point I got caught by a group of about 5-6 guys and Nicola Spirig riding a road bike!! I seriously contemplated just phoning it in the rest of the day as I thought the body was just not ready to go. Brad Seng is a fellow pro I have had the pleasure to race and get to know this season. I've also had the misfortune of getting to watch him catch me in the later stages of the run at IM LP and Wisc. I know when he is in the field I need to have a good gap on him into the run if I want to hold him off. Sunday he was in that group that caught me. When he passed he asked how I was doing and all I could muster was a sigh and grunt. He yelled at me to "just push through and keep working." That was really great of him and speaks to what kind of guy Brad is. With Brad's encouragement, I decided to try and put my head down and just ride hard to hopefully salvage a decent bike split and get away from that group as penalties were being handed out right and left. It worked. I got away and towards the end of the ride caught back up to Trevor Wurtele and we made a "Team Blue" entrance into T2.
Heading out onto the run I knew Trevor was right behind me. After running a bit with him at CA 70.3 this year I knew he was going to be tough to hang with, so I tried to get in some fuel and pace it easy, then try and stick with him as long as possible. He passed me just shy of a mile in, and when we hit the cross-country style section of the course he got out of sight a few times due to the turns and put a gap on me that I couldn't close. I was however running fairly well and felt pretty good.
|Keeping the man parts cool|
|Onto Lap 2|
I definitely had some higher hopes but the results were pretty in line with my realistic expectations given the depth of the field and my training going into the race. Overall it was a new (Non-Clearwater) Half Ironman PR so that is something I guess. Still LOTS of work to be done.
Thanks to my awesome aunt and cousin for the hospitality and the videos. Catching up after all these years was great!
A big thanks to my sponsors. I continue to be impressed as ever with the Zoot shoes. No socks, no blisters, no problems. Awesome! The heat aside, I was glad I had on my new Zoot Prophet wetsuit as well as I have no doubt I would have been even further back if I didn't have such a great suit. Despite my lackluster start, once the legs came around I was able to salvage a somewhat respectable bike split thanks in no small part to the performance of my Blue Triad SL. The incredible wheels that Reynolds provides me with, helped greatly in that effort as well. PowerBar gave the the power to push and keep pushing and getting to meet some of the crew and feel their support on course was great. TriSports.com keeps me stocked up on all the essentials and makes racing and training just that much easier. Last but certainly not least, a big thanks to PV Bicycle Center for all their help in keeping my Blue race ready and running smooth.
A few days to recover and then a couple weeks of big work. All guns set on IM AZ