This past two weeks has been some of the hardest ones in my life. As most people know Boulder was hit by some incredibly devastating rains, and unfortunately my house was among those that was flooded out. I am by no means one of the worst hit, and our house is completely replaceable in time, but the fact that my wife worked so hard for 6 months to remodel our new home, to then have it flood in the first week living in it was tough to take. On top of that, with Natalie being 21 wks pregnant and us having a 2 year old, it was just logistically tough. Without the help of both my parents and my in-laws who have so graciously housed us now for going on 7 months, we would really be in a tough spot.
Now enough with the sob story. As with everyone that is ever effected my the power that can be mother nature, you have to get on with your lives. Mortgage payments are still due, people still need to eat, and little 2 year olds still need to play, which in my case it had to be as much back to training and life as possible. So after the house flooded and receded my amazing group of friends and family came and helped me tear out the effected drywall and insulation, get some fans going and begin to make our rebuilding plans. Oh and there was training too, as I was trying to get ready for the Super Sprint in Vegas and the Lifetime Tempe races the next week.
By the time this past Wednesday rolled around I was pretty exhausted. I had gotten in some good workouts, but had spent so much time working on the house that my recovery had pretty much gone out the window. Coach kept telling me to stay positive and just go race. That I was in good shape, and had plenty of motivation. Now all of that is true, but when mother nature smacks you upside the head, sometimes positive is just hard to do.
That said I was really sad to leave my wife and son behind in the mess but selfishly relieved to just be getting back to racing. There are certainly easier ways to pay the bills but racing is something I love to do and although it is stressful, in this case it was the stress relief.
Super Sprint Las Vegas: This is one bad ass racing format! It is a pool, a crit course, and a track all thrown smack in the middle of a parking lot, in this case with the Vegas strip as the backdrop. Marc Lees, the man in charge of the event, did an amazing job putting on a world class show and attracted some of the worlds best athletes. The race will air on NBC Universal on October 7, at 8pm EST so make sure to check it out.
The race itself was probably the most fun, and most painful race I have ever done. After making it through to the finals from the morning heats it was a day spent in the hotel resting and then a first for me getting ready to race under the lights at 9pm. 10 guys, twice through the swim/bike/run format to see who would be the US sprint national champ. Going in, although I am a swimmer by background, the swim was my biggest concern. I knew how fast Tommy and the guys were going to be and in a race like this if you are off the back you might be out. I swam hard, but spent the majority of the first bike bringing the field back together, and even after the first run it was still basically 6 of us diving in together to do it again.
It was the same story after the second swim with me being the guy half the field loves for bringing it back together, and the guy half the field hates for not letting the breakaway stay away. As we came into the run it was 6 of us still together, but after a poor transition I was about 5 seconds off the back. I was really pleased with my run as I was able to slowly close the gap, but I waited too long and just as I made contact with the leaders we were heading into the finish chute sprint. I was able to pass Ben back and snag 5th, and considering there was 4.4 seconds separating 2nd-6th, it was a great race, and should look awesome on TV.
It was fun. It was fast. It was exactly what a parking lot race in Vegas should be, and it is exactly what the sport of triathlon needs to grow with the general population!
Lifetime Tempe: Did I mention that after all the fast and crazy racing late Thursday night I had to get to bed and catch a flight the next day to Tempe for the next installment of the Lifetime Series? I have to admit that when I first thought about doing both I had some serious doubts, but finally I decided it would be a good thing to test out, and fun of the first race would trump any damper it put on the second. I did the best I could to recover on Friday and Saturday and got ready to throwdown in my usual non draft olympic format Sunday morning.
Honestly, my biggest fear going into the race was the potential 100 degree weather, so when we woke up to 80′s and clouds I was over the moon stoked. After a solid warm up I racked the bike and got ready to swim. I spent 5 mins decided about whether or not to wear a speed suit as the water was 85 degrees, and metallic or clear goggles, as this is still AZ and the sun could come out any minute. I screwed up both. I went with the speed suit and the metallics. As the horn went off I started my usual swim sprint and realized I couldn’t see anything. My goggles were 100% fogged up. So after a distance and a lot of blind uncertainty I pulled up to clear them and got run into by a bunch of guys. I put my head back down, swam a little more and really started to freak out, as I had no idea where I was going or if I with the front or the back group. I stopped one more time and luckily spotted Barrett who I know can swim and is a savvy pack swimmer so I found his feet and didn’t let them go. I probably hit him a hundred times but it was my best hope at a decent swim so I stayed on his feet. Luckily the hot water had slowed the swim down a lot and by the time we got out, I was actually only a few seconds back of the main swimmers.
Got to my bike, and then had a nightmare getting the speed suit off, so in the end wrong call on both, but at least we were on the bikes and I was near the front. I put my head down and did what I do best, try and absolutely rip peoples legs off on a tt bike. It was a 2 lap course with a couple 180 degree turns so there were chances to see the field throughout, but there was also some good power sections and a little bit of wind so it was in the end a solid bikers course. My first lap I got to the front and opened a small gap, and then on the 2nd time around I really tried to throw down the gauntlet and by the time I got to the last out-and-back, I had gotten a considerable lead. Now if my legs would just hold up on the run…
The beginning of the run went well, and I felt strong through the first lap. However, as I headed out for my second lap my quads were starting to tighten up and I knew Joe had taken a big bite out of my lead already so I was trying my best to stay on the gas, but not cramp completely. The theory is that good runners are like sharks, and if they smell blood they can do some amazing things. So for a guy like me the biggest thing is to keep the lead as big as possible for as long as possible just to keep out of sight. As I got to the last couple miles I was really hurting, but my mind starting thinking about my family, and our house, and that was more than enough fuel for the fire to get me home.
As I crossed the line I threw up the “303″ hand sign over my heart. No it is not a gang symbol. Being born in Boulder makes it a special place to me and with all the people that have been affected recently I just wanted to give a little tribute. Boulder if full of super fit, super smart, and super strong people, and because of that we will be back stronger than ever.
This win did a lot for me mentally and it put me back in a position to challenge for the series title. It never hurts to be reminded that you can always do more than you think, if you are willing to hurt more than the next guy. It also never hurts to be reminded that life is bigger than swim/bike/run, and there are far more important things that racing.
Now its two weeks of hard work to get ready for Dallas, and to start getting our house ready for move in numero deuce!