I realize the below blog reads as though it were written before Dallas, and it was, but my website was down last week so this is a copy of the race report that I wrote for First Endurance.
Also, since that victory I got a great quote from my coach, Neal Henderson, about defending a title. It sort of sums up how I felt going into and coming out of LA a couple weeks ago.
“Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” - John Wooden.
Coach Wooden certainly knew a thing or two about repeating, and it sums up difference between winning a race for the first time when you or maybe the rest didn’t expect you too, and winning a race again, proving to yourself and everyone else that it wasn’t a fluke!
This past weekend was a race I had been looking forward to most of the year, but most definintely since my bad race at HyVee a month ago. It was gonna be my time to prove to the world and myself that all the hard work I had put in wasn’t a waste.
I really like the LA course, and have had good success there in the past including last years win. I also really like that it is a morning race, which if you have been following along I like much more than afternoon races. Lots less time to screw things up!
The trip to LA is an easy one, and it was made easier since Natalie and I took the trip minus the lil guy who stayed at Grandma’s. The race put us up in the swanky, and well above my pay grade, Biltmore Hotel, and were even nice enough to cover the valet parking for our rented Chevy Malibu.
The whole trip my goals were to relax, and do a good job of being conscious of what I was eating and drinking. Not so much the exact foods, but more the amount of liquids I was getting down and the amount of salt and other electrolytes I was consuming. After HyVee, and then again another hard workout at home I discovered I am an extremely heavy sweater, and also a very salty one. Now as a pro athlete I probably should have known that, but its one of those things I guess never really clicked when I looked at the giant puddle under my bike on the trainer.
That said I drank a few extra packets of EFS during the days leading up to the race and made sure I drank a solid amount of Hulk Juice on the bike to keep me hydrated and electrolyte filled.
Race morning was the normal routine, oatmeal and EFS, and then pre race and a some EFS Gel before the swim start. The swim was rough this year with some good solid waves but I was able to catch one in and came out of he water with the leaders in 4th. As soon as we got on the bike my legs were a bit off from the beach run but I pounded some Hulk Juice, and just told myself to keep pushing. Lucky for me the legs came around about 5 miles in and I threw down a great bike leg to hit T2 with an almost 3 minute lead. Heading out on the run I tried to just stay relaxed, as I knew I had a big margin but I also know how well guys like Kemper and Foster can run. The first time up the monster hill I was rock solid and took it in stride. The downhill is not my favorite but I focused on leaning forward and just letting my feet go. I was drinking small amounts of water throughout the run but felt like it wasn’t really that hot and that I had succeeded with my nutrition on the bike. The second lap around I knew I had the race won if I could keep going steady but that didn’t stop the nerves from creeping in when I hit the monster hill and my quads started to cramp a bit. I just tried to relax and stay focused on my technique. I slowed a bit after the hill but stayed in control and got to the tape with over a minute to spare on 2nd. As I was celebrating with my wife in the finish chute I saw I had salt stains all over my legs, which although not overly attractive, let me know that I had succeeded in my nutrition and that the cramps were just from riding really really hard.
It was the first time I have succeeded in defending a title which is very rewarding, and it kept me in the hunt for the Toyota Cup this weekend in Dallas. It will be my last race of the year so I just need to focus on my recovery this week and get rested and ready to blow the doors off another bike leg!