Second quarter racing thoughts

There are only so many ways to describe how an olympic distance race went down. Crazy stuff does happen but for the most part you go out and swim, bike, and run as fast as you can and see how the chips fall in the end. So I’m going to try something different for this race report and cover a bit of all four of the races I did over the past six weeks. I will try and hit on something from each race that I thought I did well, something that could have gone better, and something random. On the whole I was really happy with the block of races and coming away with two out of four wins, especially considering only the two races I won were actual triathlons.

Escape from Alcatraz – turned into bike and run in San Francisco….

  • The swim is definitely the most epic part of the race, and to lose that was shame but it was probably the only time in my career where I truly think the cancellation was due to a safety issue even the pro’s would not have handled well. So I was really happy with how I was able to be pissed for a minute and then get back on track and refocus on the bike/run TT that was still at hand. You can waste so much energy being mad at things out of your control, but in the end it really is just a waste.
  • If I’m being honest I don’t think I rode very well but I still was only about 30 seconds behind Ben starting the run. I could have definitely done a better job of going for broke early on in the run and trying to close down the gap to maybe catch and run with Ben. By letting him dangle out in front and reel him in slowly I suffered from some of the terrain issues, where he was going down when I was still going up, that just made the gap too big to close later on in the run.
  • Alcatraz is one of those truly special races that every avid triathlete needs to do at least once. Its absolutely epic across the board.

Escape Series Philly – Philly natives thought it was lucky we didn’t have to get in the Schuylkill

  • The swim was cancelled due to heavy rain up river that made the current too fast to swim in. So instead we got to do my least favorite race of all, a true duathlon. Run-bike-run. Just like Alcatraz two weeks earlier I took a minute to be pissed and then wrapped my head around the challenge at hand, which was to do a 2k/40k/4k against two of America’s best ITU athletes. I took out the first run hard, and ran with Ben, only giving up a little ground to Jason. Then I rode as hard as I could and again ran well only giving up a little ground to those two fleet footed guys. I ended up third but I was really happy with how I ran both times, and how I battled the whole day.
  • I wish I had played my tactical cards better on the second run. I haven’t been in many foot races with guys near the end of a race so I wasn’t sure how to play it tactically. I decided to try and break Ben with about 500m to go, but in the end broke myself and watched him creep away at the end. Next time I’ll let it go to a sprint.
  • Philly is an awesome city. I haven’t spent much time there but Natalie came with me, and we met up with one of her friends after the race and got a walking tour of the city that was a lot of fun.  Cool historical things to see, good food and beer, and the people were pretty friendly; considering its the east coast.

Boulder Peak – a classic reborn

  • Going into this race I really wanted to win. I mean I always want to win, but this race was the first time that both my kids were going to be waiting at the finish line for me, and I really wanted to bring home a victory for them. I was stoked that we actually got to swim and was really happy with my effort both in the water and over the first half of the bike course. Its a doozy of a bike ride with a false flat uphill leaving the reservoir all the way to Old Stage and then up the monster climb before the rolling parts of the course. I knew my strength was going to be swim hard and them hammer up to the top of the hill, and I was pleased to hear I had almost a two minute lead by the top. I didn’t run especially well but I executed my plan and it was enough for the win.
  • I definitely could have run better. I might have had to ride a little easier to do it, but I really faded over the last of the 3 laps and wish I could have held it together a bit better.
  • It was was great to be able to race at home for the first time in five years, and to race in front of family and friends. It was also great to see Without Limits and my old friend Lance bring back this classic race in all its glory. I think the rebirth of this race will spur a renewed vibrance in the Boulder triathlon community.

New York City Triathlon – Lifetime’s last stand

  • I always have mixed feelings about this race because the swim is down river in a fast current and it is followed by a 700m run into T1. Neither of those things really suit my skills but I seem to do ok with it and I was pleased to have a solid swim, and hold most of my lead into T1. Then I rode my a$$ off! I mean I really rode hard. I train with Jason West every day and know exactly how fast that young gun can run, so I knew I needed a big gap going into the hard run in Central Park. When I saw at the final turnaround that I had more than 90 seconds I was happy, and in the end I was really happy to see that I ran a solid 33 low for a hard 10k.
  • It was definitely not a perfect race, I don’t think there ever is as you can always do something better. That said I was really happy with all three legs, and the transitions and feel like I made the most of all of it to capture the win. I could have swum harder, although it may have meant less power on the bike, and I could have run harder over the first 5k, but it may have bit me over the back half. It wasn’t perfect, but for being the fourth race in six weeks it was a really good all around effort.
  • Racing in NYC is cool. I’m not a huge fan of big cities, but when you get to ride down a completely closed highway, and then run through the biggest city in the States and finish inside its most famous park, it makes for a pretty epic morning!

I am really happy with this four race block, and it sets me up well for the next part of the season. Being able to race a lot is my favorite part of short course racing and being able to race in cool cities like San Francisco and NYC, as well as at home in Boulder is one of the best parts of this job. Now I have a week off for a mid season break, and then its back on the grind for the next six weeks to get ready for Beijing International, and a couple of the Escape Series races in Lake Geneva and NOLA.

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Let me know if you liked the format or prefer the more standard story version. Thanks!

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