I have clearly taken the long route as to blog updates recently. Frankly, not much has been going on since Ironman Couer d'Alene until the last couple weeks. With that lame excuse for my literary laziness, here is a bit of an update including 2 race reports!
After Couer d'Alene I took it pretty easy for nearly 2 weeks and just focused on some much needed recovery. The second weekend after the race I was pretty much back to the grind and happy to be so. I added in some group riding with the (famous? infamous?) Swami's ride down here in North County San Diego and have made that a pretty regular event since. I think it has been good for my top end and added a little competitiveness into my weekly routine. As I write this, its been a couple weeks since I have been out to the ride due to racing, so this week's ride could be a tough day in the saddle.
Training has gone fairly well with no set backs and nothing major to report. I keep waiting to make these "massive, insane, unbelievable" gains and PRs that I hear/see some of my competitors talk/write about, but alas, I haven't seen them. I guess I will have to be content with consistent, focused work, and the slow progress that comes as a result.
Two weeks ago I raced the Camp Pendleton Sprint Tri in Oceanside. It had been YEARS since I raced a sprint, but I knew it would be a fun day. A quick ocean swim, a ride on familiar training grounds and a run finishing on a Marine LCAC (Hovercraft). Awesome. It was indeed a quick swim as I think the low tide cut out a fair portion. Either way, there was no Elite wave and I exited the Pacific pretty confident I was in the lead of my wave.
I came out of T1 and was promptly passed by a dude who looked like he knew how to ride a bike. We traded passes again, and then I accepted his cycling superiority and focused on simply staying with him. I did that to some degree and I think I ended up with the second fastest bike split to my tall leader.
Onto the run, I felt pretty good and just focused on trying to keep the effort and turnover equally high. I wore the Zoot Kiawe and I simply cannot say enough about this shoe. I've now worn it in sprint races, fast workouts, and Half Ironmans and it has been a joy in all. The wave start, and my 3rd wave position made for a few carrots on the run, but for the most part a somewhat solitary 5K. In the end I know I didn't have the fastest of any of the disciplines, but was able to come away victorious. A fun race for sure.
Fast forward to last Sunday and I was out in Wisconsin to race the inaugural Rev3 Wisconsin Dells. Race morning arrived and the weather looked ideal. A non-rubberized swim brought a smile to my face as well. Richie Cunningham was on the line and he has been riding an unbelievable wave this season. I knew I couldn't run with him, but I thought if I could find his feet in the swim it could set me up well. While I haven't been too pleased with my swimming this year, I had been feeling good in the water of late. This combined with the fact that I had done some swimming with Richie in Boulder last year gave me the confidence that I could do it. After the "GO!" I was waiting for Richie to pull ahead but he never did. I found myself on feet I knew I shouldn't be on and begrudgingly decided to shoulder the burden and set the pace for the second pack. Richie and a few others in tow, I just tried to set a consistent, comfortably hard pace all the way in. Clearly it wasn't Richie's day in the water (as he later admitted), but I was happy to be out with he and a few other strong cyclists.
|Photo by Nils Nilson Twitter @TriathletePhoto|
|Photo by Nils Nilsen Twitter: @TriathletePhoto|
After ten miles or so I simply lost touch with the group and tried to settle into my own rhythm. I will readily admit I struggled a bit to keep the tempo/wattage where I wanted it and the power wasn't coming without a fight. I sometimes go through these patches while trying to get "warmed up" and I chalked it up to just another of those episodes. Unfortunately, things were about to get worse. The Rev3 course is legit and has a series of climbs in the middle miles. At the bottom of the middle and biggest of these climbs, I managed to drop my chain and get it stuck under my K-Edge and wedged between the chainrings and frame. I had to unclip, dismount and fight a mighty battle to get it back out. Re-mounting on a steep climb however was no easy task, particularly on a open road. I tried not to think about the lost time and just keep at it, but at the top of the climb, in a tight left turn, I hit a rock and flatted my front tire. After a cursory inspection, the tire appeared to have survived intact and I went about replacing the tube. I tell ya, there are few things that provide such a "gut check" as repairing a flat in a race, then promptly beginning a steep and technical 50mph descent. I made it through the descents and was later relieved to see the better part of luck was on my side after all. The aforementioned "cursory inspection" had failed to discover a cut in the sidewall of my tire. It was only in the final 10 or so miles that I noticed the front tire seemed to be a bit soft. I figured it was simply a "light fill" thanks to a Co2, but upon returning to transition, I indeed had second flat. Had it blown on the descent, I might still be out in the woods.
Knowing I had lost HUGE chunks of time to the boys up-front, I figured on making it just a training day and set out to run a solid 13.1 to get the "race benefit" I came for. The Rev3 course designers didn't deal us an "easy" hand and the run course had many ups and downs as well. I wouldn't say I was "happy" with my 1:20 run split, particularly when compared to the 1:13 of Richie (L-E-G-I-T! on that course), but it wasn't far off from some of the other top finishers, so I will take the progress and say I was content.
Finishing dead last sucks. Straight up. But all in all I can't really say I was too upset with the way I raced on Sunday. Even prior to crashing out of Cozumel last year, I have always had a rule to finish so long as it is medically sound to do so. Cozumel was a terrible experience and not being able to finish was far more painful than the separated shoulder. Knowing I was well out of the race on Sunday after my mechanical issues, I momentarily thought of pulling the plug. I thought of my rule, and of the feeling I had in Cozumel and opted to keep on pushing. My dead least finish notwithstanding, I can confidently say I made the right decision and am content with my race.
The remainder of the week was spent doing some course recon for Ironman Wisconsin. I will post some photos and thoughts garnered from that experience next week.