Back in the states after an extremely long travel day yesterday and my body officially has no idea what time it is. I went to bed last night at 10:30 which is 6:30am in Budapest where I woke up, and then I got up at 4:30 because I couldn’t sleep anymore. My body thought it was 12:30pm…this is so weird. Anyway, the trip was awesome, great experience, so much fun.
Leading up to the race I spent 4 days in Tiszy lounging, working out, eating, sleeping, and watching the people that live there go crazy every night at the week long triathlon festival leading up to the WC races. It is awesome how excited these people get for our sport. Seeing the fans on race day almost gave me chills on the bike, and probably has a big part in me leading the lead pack through the stands on 3 of the 7 laps! The race was Sunday afternoon and it was supposed to be hot, but honestly it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. Everything went well in the morning, ate, warmed up and headed out to the swim area which is a bit outside of town.
Once I got out there it was a good warm up, got everything set and the uni checked and then got in to swim. Had a good warm up in what basically amounts to a small pond, we swim almost the whole perimiter and actually have to swim between bouys at one part to make sure you don’t go too close to shore and ground yourself. Then back to transition to get lined up for the start. They called everyone down by name, and I got a great start spot more or less a straight shot from the first turn bouy. There were 80 guys so it was a huge race and I knew I would have to get out fast, and try and get on Varga, a Slovakian swim stud’s feet and see how it goes. Had a decent start, a bit slow off the dock but made up for it with some good dolphin kicks and put my head down and sprinted for about 75 meters before even taking a breath. When I did I was a bit clear of everyone and in some open water. I saw Varga off to my right cutting in and a big Russian train off to my left, so things were setting up perfect. I got in behind Varga and let him pull me around the first lap. Then got out, dove back in and did it again, this time I actually had to keep tapping his feet though to make sure he didn’t ease off the pace. I was hoping we would be able to get away. Didn’t have a great transition as I had trouble with my helmet but got the bike on the road and we hit it hard.
It was a pretty cool feeling to sit up and take a drink and wait for the Russians to catch on at the start, these dudes are the best out there, and once we started we hit it good. 9 man break and we were working together ok. There is a long stretch into town and then 7 laps of a technical 11 turn crit course, and by the 3rd lap we were 1:20 up on the chase. I was feeling awesome, spending all my time in the front 5 and taking good pulls trying to keep the pace up, but as we went through the stands on the 3rd lap I realized I had pulled away becasue the Russians had decided to sit up. I have no idea why, I assume to let the other Russians catch up, but then our group was 25 and not in a real hurry anymore. Now hindsight is great, and maybe I should have tried a solo break to see if anyone would join, but I waited and spent the next 4 laps making little mini breaks with different people but no one wanted to go completely in so we all just stayed together into T2.
On to the run we went and I was in about 25th and felt awesome going out of transition. Now, the plan had been to let people go the first 2 laps, relax and try and get people as they faded at the end, but when you are in the race, with all the big players AND you feel great…letting people go is HARD. I felt awesome so I just ran. I tried to stay relaxed but went out a bit fast and started to fade a little on the 3rd lap. I held it together well throughout, form was good and felt ok, just don’t quite have the legs yet to run that fast after doing too much work on the bike for no break. I ran a 34, solid for me but not ITU level yet, but there is plenty of time to improve. Finished 50th, top American in a big world cup…not a bad first try!
Overall, the race was great! It was the most fun I have had racing in a long time with the atmosphere and the strategy and I learned a lot. Thanks again to Kiwami for the last minute suit, it was great. Thanks to my Dad for going with me and showing me around Hungary. Thanks to my parents for all the continued support! A down week and then its off to nationals, gotta get my body right so I can do some training now.