Just got back from Tuscaloosa, AL where age group and pro nationals was held yesterday. The weather was my biggest concern going in, but after the race I should have been more worried about the current in the river.
Day of the race started well, got to sleep in, but it was hot early and I was worried that it would be a really hot, muggy race. But once the afternoon rolled around we got some clouds and a breeze and the weather never really was much of a factor. I had a good warm up on the bike although my legs were a bit sluggish so I did a good swim warm up, although in hind sight I should have put more thought into my preparation as during the warm up it became evident that there was a big current that hadn’t been there the day before. When it was time to line up the first few guys went to the slots closest to shore, but myself, Matty Reed, Eric L and some other decided to head to the far side to get away from the congestion, big mistake. As anyone who thinks about it knows the current is strongest in the middle of the river where it is the deepest, and therefore it is most advantageous to stay close to shore and out of the current. That was my first mistake was starting in the middle, but my second was staying there instead of heading to the outside but by the time I realized the mistake there was a train of people streaking down the side and I was getting rolled. I was working way too hard to not go very fast and wasting tons of energy trying to catch up after the first bouy. I exited about 30 sec off the leaders and that was as close as I would get to them. Matty came out a bit ahead of me but with a better transition spot he got out fast and was able to hook up with Mark Fretta and they worked up to the group. This left me just off by myself, where I stayed the whole 40k . I maintained a 1 min gap the whole ride but couldn’t close it, and spent the whole time in my aero bars hammering away. Guess I will be ready for Chicago next week. I was worried that the exertion would hurt my run but I actually felt pretty strong throughout and although the course was a bit short, nice to see a 33 run split for the first time. Came off the bikes in 9th and passed one guy that stopped for med reasons and did the whole run in 8th. Actually held my own on the run and finished strong which gives me some good confidence heading into next week.
Considering it was about as bad as I can swim and I still finished top 10 and got goo points it was a successful trip. Just another learning experience in a never ending string of lessons. Now a good week of training and rest and get ready to head up to Chi-town to put in some work on Lake Shore.