The third stop on the Race for the Toyota Cup was in Philadelphia, PA this past weekend. For me it was a chance to race again after a few good training weeks at home and also an opportunity to hang out with and meet the people from my bike sponsor, Kestrel, which along with Fuji is based in Philly. The people of the Advanced Sports team not only make the best bikes out there but they are definitely some of the best people in the sport!
Going into the weekend I was really pleased with the way training had been going and was excited to toe the line again with Andy, Matt, and the rest of the usual suspects. The couple days before the race went great with some light workouts, a lil party at Cadence cycles and the the VIP dinner at the St Joe’s boat house.
Race morning came bright and early at 4am and after my standard oatmeal and EFS breakfast rode down the hill to the race start with Matty. After setting up the transition and a quick warm up it was onto a bus that took us up the river a bit to the start. Now I won’t say the Schuylkill river is certainly not the cleanest water on the planet but since the rain held off it was just a nice muddy brown color. If you ask Pip Taylor, who had a rough go with some swallowed Schuylkill, it was awful but I luckily had no such mishaps.
Once the gun went off I got out fast and once I was clear of most of the group dropped in behind Potts and held on for dear life. The guy was an all-american in college and still swims like it. I held his feet for most of it and then lost a bit of time near the 1k mark but coming out was only down about 10 sec which I knew I could make up in T1. The best part was that we had separated from the main group and were leaving on the 4000’s on clear road. As we rolled out we both put in good efforts on the first hills and went back and forth for the majority of the first lap. I was able to finally get some time up Lemon hill and then hold on as we bombed back down Black’s road to complete lap one when I realized I wasn’t able to shift my rear derailleur,CRAP!
So after a quick mental pro’s/con’s list I decided I had to stop and fix the cable or I was gonna toast my legs on the climbs the 2nd lap. So I slammed on the brakes, watched Andy fly by, and jumped back on. Lead gone, now playing catch up, and trying to keep the adrenaline under control. I hammered away but didn’t catch him until Lemon hill again and although I was able to get a bit of a lead into T2 it was certainly not the substantial one I was hoping for.
I tore out of T2 dodging age groupers coming out of the water and doing my best to find some relaxed speed. Problem was I didn’t seem to have either. As we neared mile 2 Andy caught and passed me and when I tried to step on the gas there just wasn’t anything there. At the turn around I could see Bennett and Reed hammering out a fast clip and by mile 4 they had gotten me as well. I was struggling to stay relaxed and when I get tired I had a bad habit of leaning backwards, which I am sure I was doing the whole run.
Luckily, I had done enough on the swim and bike that my less that awesome 10k was enough to keep me in 4th. I am certainly not happy with the result but the effort was there and in a series that has 7 races and you can score 5, I think 4th was good enough to not have to throw away. Only time will tell, but I am excited to be heading back to Minneapolis in a couple weeks, and unlike last year coming off a stress fractured foot this year I will be ready to run! I was also happy that even with the quick pit stop on the bike I got the bike prime which is good. You never know when you will need that extra 1/2 a point!
Thanks to the race organizers for putting on a wonderful event, and to the guys at Advanced Sports for being awesome hosts! A weekend in Boulder and then as Jay-Z says, “It’s on to the next one…”