Friday, June 29, 2012

June Race Recap.

Heading out of T1 at NOLA 5150

It has been a busy last thirty days with lots of training and a few races. My short term training goals for the last month were to build more speed work into my training without producing injury and get into the season full swing with lots of racing. Mission accomplished! In terms of racing I raced three of the last five weekends and experienced a few ups and downs along the way. Ups and downs are part of the process and without them we wouldn’t see improvement. Here is a recap of my races.

First in the chute was Capital of Texas tri. This was the first big race of the season with a stacked field including many past Olympians from all over the world! It is a real mental challenge going into a race like this. Even on my best day firing on all cylinders I can't touch many of these guys (yet!). It is however an amazing opportunity to learn from the best in the business first hand. I spent the majority of the race swimming by myself but kept a steady pace resulting in a solid improvement in my open water swim time. The bike leg is technical which makes it a challenge to get in a groove. Anytime you add hills, 180 degree turns, loops, and about 2000 athletes on a course it makes for both a mental and physical beating. The week leading up to this race I rode routes similar to what I expected to find here and it paid off with solid bike. Once off the bike I had a little bit of a challenge with cramping in the quads. I had to "run" a thin line between pushing hard enough to keep the pace up but not too hard that my quadriceps would lock up. In the end I finished 19th pro in just over an hour and fifty-eight minutes. This was a personal best time for me and overall I was pretty happy with how the race played out. Congrats to Hunter Kemper for the overall win.

The next weekend I jumped into a local Triathlon in San Antonio, the Tri Pearl. A few of my training partners were doing this race and most of the top triathletes in San Antonio were there. I was excited to race as I felt like I'd been making solid fitness gains in the last few weeks. It was a 400 meter pool swim, 15 mile bike and 5k run. The pool swim went well and the bike went better until the end when I got routed of course and lost a minute or two getting myself back on course. I was first onto the run course with Snapple teammate Robbie Wade hot on my heels. Well the run was a little bit of a disaster, not clearly marked and short on volunteers. Robbie and I both went off course. I ended up with the overall win but the race would have been much closer if we both would have stayed on course, too bad I was looking forward to a sprint finish!

This past weekend my wife and I packed up and headed to New Orleans for the NOLA 5150 race. This is one of the qualifiers for the Hyvee championship race. I was pretty excited and more confident then I've been in a longtime going into this race. Training was spot on prior to this race and I just felt really fit. New Orleans is a fun place to visit so Erin and I were looking forward to the mini vacation. About 15 pros started the race with a couple big names like Conrad Stoltz, David Thompson, and Chris Foster on the roster. Swimming has always been my Achilles heel in triathlon. I'm a solid swimmer and improving but still a long ways off the pace I need to maintain contact with the lead pro pack. My goal going into this race was to hold onto the pack as long as I could. Maintaining contact in the swim is key because it allows you to benefit from drafting. Also, getting on the bike with guys around you is a huge advantage for pacing. During the swim I held with the pack for about the first 300 of 1500 meters and then slipped off. No problem I'll maintain pace and come out of the water in decent shape right? Wrong! I managed to go off course on the swim setting me even farther behind. The bike was a two lap course. I spent the entire first lap deflated and just wanting to give up. I was ready to take my toys and go home! Well on the second lap I told myself I've finished every race I've entered and wasn't going to be that guy that walked off the course just because he had a off day. I decided to look at the rest of the race as a good training day. So I picked it up and actually caught a couple guys on the run. I ended up finishing in 11th place, discouraged but not defeated.

Next up is the Texas State Team Time Trial Championships this weekend!

Thanks for reading,