A present to myself

Its been a week now since the Philadelphia Triathlon, and for some reason I just never got around to writing about it. Which is strange in itself because there are so  many things that made it an amazing weekend. It was the first weekend my wife and I have been without Liam since he was born. He stayed in Boulder with his Grandparents, and honestly I was really proud of how Natalie handled her first weekend away from him and actually let herself have some fun. It was also my birthday weekend, and for the first time in my triathlon career I raced on my birthday.

Going to Philly is always fun because now I have two great sponsors that are based there. My longtime bike sponsor Kestrel is out of Philly, and then my newest sponsor, Nathan hydration, is also out of the Philly area. Because of that there are always a lot of things to do and bike shops to stop by but they treat their athletes so well that it is always a pleasure to get to meet the employees and spend some time with them.

Going into the race I felt really good about how my training had been going. I had recovered well from my big race block in May, and been able to get in some quality workouts leading into Philly. I like the Philly course because although the swim is down river it is a really hard fairly technical bike course that really plays to my strengths with a couple solid climbs on each of the two loops.

Now my game plan is pretty much always the same and going into Philly that was no different. Swim smart, ride hard, run tough. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but it will always give me my best chance to win. So after setting up transition we all jumped on a school bus and headed up the river to the swim start. Luckily this year the current wasn’t as fast as last and getting everyone to line up between the buoys to start the race went smoother. However, once we started the swim no one really wanted to do anything and about 500m in I was looking to my left and right and there were about 5 of us just swimming down the river, no one really wanting to take control. After a bit Andy finally took the lead and I got on his feet, but for the first time in my life I felt like he wasn’t going fast enough. So after a bit of thinking on how many runners and riders we were towing down the river with our leisurely pace I went around Potts and tried to get a bit of speed going into the shore. I was the first one in, which is always nice, but had about 10 guys in tow, which is not so nice. After a quick wrong turn in transition I ended up in 2nd once we were on the road.

I really like the bike, and that enjoyment is always greater when I hop on and the legs feel strong as was the case in Philly. So once I had my feet strapped on the shoes, I started to hammer and quickly caught Ben before the first hill. Now I don’t know if I like hills because I am from Boulder, or for some other reason, but I always seem to have a big of an edge going up on most of the guys so I tried to take full advantage and nail that first climb. Coach told me after that because of my start and that climb I actually set my lifetime best 5min power segment. At the first U-turn I could see I was gaining time so I really tried to concentrate on a few things for the rest of the ride. Hammer the uphills and if nothing else try and make the boys suffer. Be as aero as possible on the downhills, and if I couldn’t pedal the whole way take advantage of the fact I was going down when everyone else was still going up. Finally, really be aggressive on the flats, stay in my best position and mash the pedals. I was feeling good after one loop of the course with a 45 sec lead over second and even better heading into T2 with a 1:30 lead. On a good day 90 sec is plenty for me, and on a bad one it will get taken back in a hurry, but lucky for me it was my birthday, so of course it was a good day.

As I hit the first of two out and backs that make up the run course I actually felt strong. I was having little trouble keeping my cadence up and my body position good. That always makes me a more confident runner, and when you are confident you run better, especially when being chased. At the first turn around I could see my lead was solid, and I knew it was just a matter of staying in control and keeping the lead as big as possible through the last turn around. As I headed back I tried to surge a bit to keep my effort honest and maintain my lead. Miles 3 and 4 and even part of 5 were really good but as I got to 5.5 or so the wheels started to seize a bit. Legs were getting tired, and my sides were cramping pretty good but at that point it was just a matter of getting home and with no one right on my heels I did what I could to maintain the lead.

Coming into the chute I was extremely excited. I had just won a Toyota Cup race and gotten some much needed points, and I had done it in front of two of my biggest sponsors, one of which the ink was still drying on the contract. Most importantly though, I had finally won a race in front of my lovely wife, and the sight of her at the finish was the greatest thing in the world. Her support is so crucial in my success, and being able to share the product of all our hard work was fantastic!

Not to mention to the nice little 10k birthday present to myself. After the race we relaxed and the hotel and then went to Morimoto’s for dinner. We both watch a fair amount of Food Network so we figured we had to check out the restaurant of an Iron Chef, and it most certainly didn’t disappoint. Now it is home in the 303 for two weeks and then a chance to finally race Boulder Peak again after missing the last 4 years. I have never raced in front of my in-laws, and my parents only see a couple a year, so it will be really exciting to toe the line in front of a home town crowd. Hopefully, I can use Old Stage as well as I did the hills in Philly!

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