Back to the race: This weekend was a family affair so we got early (overslept nonetheless), quickly packed up the kids and gear and headed off to the race site. I got setup and took care of all necessary business with just enough time for quick swim warm up.
Being a sprint (750m swim) the whole race can be decided on the swim, so the plan was to go hard from start to finish. This race always draws a very strong field of athletes and Sunday was no exception. Floating in the unusually calm water I had a look around and surveyed the swim talent … Mike Wendt, Woody, Dan Moss, Chris Olson, Herbie Reeves. All these dudes can put time on me in the water; the plan was to try to limit the damage to put me in a good position to pass Wendt, Herbie and Woody on the bike. I figured I wouldn’t be able to catch Dan Moss or Chris on the bike. I thought I’d out-swim Parker but he’d pass me early on the bike. I intended to out-swim Cameron and hopefully keep him behind me. Last year Cameron and I swam stroke for stroke and then he flew past me on the bike.
Anyway, back to the race …
I took it out pretty hard and quickly got to that almost-uncomfortably-hard level and kept it there. Sighting was great, I stayed on the back of the front pack until sometime after the first turn and then swam the rest solo. Exiting the water someone from the crowed shouted out that I was 30 seconds back to the front. I looked down at my watch and saw 10 minutes something. I hit the lap button as I crossed the mat into transition right at 11 minutes. That was over 1 minute faster than last year. I was pretty stoked. The thing I was wrong about was out-swimming Parker; he really improved his swim which WAS his only weakness.
Running into transition I saw the lead swimmers at the rack getting wetsuits off and helmets on. I think at this point I was too concerned about the “race” and lost concentration on what I needed to be doing. When I got to my bike I hadn’t even begun to take my wetsuit off. That was a big mistake and cost some major time. Last year my t1 was 28 seconds, this year was 1:09. That’s HUGE in a sprint race!
Once out on the bike I pretty quickly made my way past Herbie and a few miles later, Mike Wendt as planned. It wasn’t long before I could see Woody up the road. It took nearly to whole ride to catch him but I eventually overtook with less than a mile to the finish.
I rode strong but regret taking the disk cover off which I think would have been advantageous. The wind was really strong the day before the race so I made the call to pull it off. I ended up with the 4th fastest bike split behind Parker, Chris and Dan.
Joe took this video on his handy iPhone
As you can see from the video my lead on Mark was minimal coming into T2. Again, it was a poor transition on my part. You can’t really hammer coming back into the park but I didn’t take advantage of that by getting out of my shoes on the bike. Well, Mark did and was able to pass me in T2 to take back 4th place and get about 40 meters ahead starting the run.
Once out on the run I wasn’t bringing Woody back at all, in fact he was expanding the gap. We looked to be close at the first out-and-back with Cameron chasing about a minute behind me but by the time I reached the turn around Mark had gained a good bit of ground and seemed to be running down the hills very fast.
Nearing the end of the run I checked to see if Cameron was in sight, which he wasn’t much to my relief. I finished with a good kick … perhaps too good. I’m thinking I left too much in the tank for that kick! I ended up with the 8th fastest run in 18:47.
Joe caught me looking back for Cameron on the iPhone
So I ended up in 5th place with a pretty sloppy race really. I need to be a little more focused on the details – which I will. But the swim was really good, the bike was good, and the run was so-so. I have a bit of an injury that’s kept me from running (except for racing) over the last few weeks so I attribute my not-so-stellar run split to diminishing run fitness.
There still seems to be a sizable gap between me (as well as a few others) and the top 3 guys in the series. But it’s closing! I love the process … I love the challenge. Slowly but surely I’m closing in … I know what needs to be done to get to the very top and (I hope) I’m figuring out how to do it. I’m already excited for the 2011 season of racing.
‘Til next race - Nick