Friday, September 13, 2019

Banned from travel

Banned from traveling 

We went on a trip this summer and it was a terrible experience traveling with Noelle (9 months old) and Ashley (3.5 years old).  Therefore, Tina and I have banned them from traveling with us.  This unfortunately included this race.

Therefore, I made the trip to Xterra Pan-Am/Nationals alone.  It was peaceful in the car driving there, but I did miss them at the race.  Fortunately, a group of local Vail Valley friends rented a condo for the race and invited me over for a pre race dinner.

Race day:
Since Tina wasn’t there to support me, my normal setup routine was a bit different.
As I was putting the front wheel on my bike, a part of the hub fell off somewhere in my heavily packed car.  The wheel wouldn’t stay on without it.  I decided to look for it after setting up everything else in my transition.

After 15 nerving minutes, I found the part, installed the wheel, and was ready to set up my other transition (it’s a point to point bike portion).

I was excited because the swim was a non-wetsuit swim for the pros. As you probably know, I find all triathlons to have a relatively short swim, and relatively long bike.  The non-wetsuit rule effectively makes the swim a tad longer, so that’s good for my overall placement.  (Usually)

The race:
I was of course hoping to be 1st out of the water, and started the swim fast.
I led a pack of 4 of away from the crowd. Sam Osborn (eventual winner) took over leading sooner than I expected and set a brutal pace. (Which I loved)
Unfortunately, a boat wake came by and I decided to rehydrate myself with it.
This caused me to lose some pace and trail off of Sam’s feet while Branden Rakita(3rd overall) went around me.  It wasn’t pleasant, and I ended up coming out of the water 3rd with Karsten Madsen(2nd overall).  Funny story:  When we were swimming back towards the shore after the turnaround buoy, I saw another pro coming our way on my left, (this was a clockwise course) I thought he decided to swim the race backwards!  This turned out to be Brian Smith (and we laughed about it when he passed me on the bike (Sorry I was talking on the bike Alister)).
Karsten, Me, Sam, Branden (the top 4 out of the water happen to start together... Hummm.  Also, if I had been 4th at the END of the race, this would have been the top 4 overall!

Swimming in the lead... then not...

My 1st transition wasn’t good.  The chaos with my wheel caused me to make rookie mistakes.

I lost more positions early in the bike after dropping my chain.  This bothered me. I hadn’t dropped a chain since this race 5 years ago, anytime training or racing, period.  Momentum is important in a race like this and I was starting to lose some with the chain.  I did get it going again and rode most of the 2nd climb with Ryan Ignatz.  We ride well together with him pulling me on the climbs and me pulling him on the flat sections. (In this race however, there were no flat sections)

At the start of the big descent, I dropped my chain AGAIN!  More momentum was lost.  I started taking technical sections slower for fear of another chain drop, and I never was able to rejoin Ryan.  

By the time I hit the run, there were many competitors gaining on me.  My normally strong run has been hampered by multiple injuries. In fact, I was reduced to aqua-jogging a week earlier.  Fortunately, Tina and Jennifer from Jointworx got got me running just in time for the race.  I experienced no injury pains during the run.  I did, however, experience a lot of racing pain and cramping.  It was a tough run.  I lost a few more places and ended up 11th.  

Considering I was questionable a week prior to this race, I’m very happy with how it turned out. I like to be first out of the water, but I can’t always pull that off.

Driving towards home alone after the race allowed me to take many breaks to stretch my very sore legs, but the rest of my body felt good.  This race is good prep for the Xterra World Championships on October 27.

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