First off Happy Fourth of July! America had a great 242nd b-day yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed a day off of training and relaxing with family and friends.
The ten days before that was busy for me with two of my favorite races, Escape Philly and the NYC Triathlon, and two back and forth trips to the east coast. Looking back I am really happy with how the two races went coming away with one victory and a second place. This year it seems every time I sit down to write a race wrap up I am basically writing the same thing. Ben and I swam together, we rode together and one of us ran better than the other and we both barely held off Jason. So for this one I will try and go a different route and instead go with general thoughts on the cities and races.
This is one of my favorite races for a couple different reasons. It was always a staple in the old Lifetime Series and I think at this point I have raced it eight of nine times, under four different management teams, but the course has for the most part stayed constant and I have come away with 5 wins. Percentage wise this is my best race for winning and it is just a good honest course, in a cool city, that has the backing of a really strong cycling and triathlon community. This year I was coming into the race have only a couple weeks before lost a close battle to Ben at Escape from Alcatraz. With Philly falling on my birthday this year and me being almost a decade older than Ben and Jason, I was really looking forward to trying to pull out some old man magic and get a bit of redemption.
The weekend started off a bit rocky with a flat front tire on my pre ride Saturday it left me scrambling a bit to get a race wheel for the next day. Thanks to an amazing group of people that I have met over the years of racing there I was able to come up with a new fast front wheel and be ready to race. I know I spoke about the community in St Pete in my post of St Anthony’s but I just keep being amazed and thankful for the amount of incredible people that I have had the privilege of meeting over my years of racing and traveling. Sometimes it seems like the world might be going to hell, but there are absolutely still good people out there and I am consistently reminded of that through my travels.
After a great race with Ben, I was able to pull away during the last couple miles of the run and get clear for my first win of the year, and my first win as a 34 year old. I gotta say it felt really sweet to finally get back on the top step but to prove to myself that even though I am older I can still race with the young bucks and find away to get a win here and there. I think as athletes age there is definitely that question in the back of your mind whether you still have it. Can you still get the job done, and winning this one, especially on my birthday was a great feeling. This old dog can still hunt.
One of the decisions I had to make about these two races was whether or not to travel twice to the east coast in seven days or whether I would find a way to stay in the eastern time zone. I had plenty of wonderful offers but in the end I decided as I usually do that being a creature of habit I would be better off enduring the two extra flights and going home to my routine and my kids. I gotta say as I say on the runway for almost three hours trying to leave Philly I was definitely have second thoughts, but once I was home and able to get a massage and spend some time with the kids I knew it was the right call.
On my way to NYC again the second thoughts crept in as my flight out of Denver was delayed about 3 hours which meant I wasn’t going to get to NYC until 11pm or so. Teach me to take the later flight to the east coast. Luckily I learned long ago that the couple nights before the race sleep can be hit or miss and you just roll with the punches and don’t stress about the things you can’t control. Also a good life lesson!
Going into the race the talk was all about the rubber match between Ben and I. Breakfast with Bob was fun discussing the new rivalry and I think in the end for me it is making racing that much more fun. Ben, Jason, Eric, and myself have all won races this year at the short course non draft discipline. Now while I wish I could have won all those races I think that for the sport and the fans it is great to once again have a bunch of guys that can beat the crap out of each other every weekend. It reminds me of when I first came on the scene and was watching Hunter, Andy, and Matt battle it out at every Lifetime race. It pushes us all to be better and for this old dog it keeps me motivated on the mornings when training sounds pretty tough.
The race itself went to plan for me at least until mile one of the run when I just couldn’t hold Ben’s pace. I had swum well, ridden hard and felt ok on the run to start, but he took off out of transition like we were back in the ITU and after a mile I just couldn’t hold it. In the end he only got about 30 seconds up the road so we ran similarly but he pushed the pace when he needed to and hats off to him for the effort. I was just pleased I ran ok, and was able to pull it together when Jason made a late charge with a mile to go.
I’ve never been a huge fan of NYC. There are just too many people for me and not enough grass, but this race is amazing. Swimming in the Hudson, riding the west side highway and running in central park makes for an epic race in one of the most iconic cities on the planet. If you get the chance I suggest you do this one at least once.
After NYC I am taking a few days off of training for a short mid season break and then it will be time to ramp things up for the first two Major League Triathlon races and get ready for the second half of the year. As always if you are interested in my nutrition check it out at First Endurance. If you want to learn about the bike that had the fastest bike splits at both Philly and NYC check it out at Ventum.