|Local outdoor pool for some training|
What a day!!!! So my debut 70.3 in the Pro field didn’t go exactly to plan, which is probably not the most unusual thing to happen in the world of Triathlon, to say the least. The learning curve this year for the long course racing has been pretty steep, but this only being my second 70.3 this year (not to mention I’m not exactly a seasoned veteran in this distance, or ANY distance actually,) I have a TON to learn. The day was a good schooling lesson for sure, but let’s start before race day:
Arriving on the wednesday before the race, I was well into my taper (the first time I’ve had more than a few days to properly taper, EVER! In fact, this is the first time this year that I’ve tapered for longer than one or two days pre-race, haha.) Landing in San Fran, it was all fog. “Great,” I thought, ” now I’ve flown from cold rainy Vancouver, to cold foggy San Fran!” I was pretty happy though, as my bus left San Fran and started to get closer to Santa Rosa, when it got mighty sunny out. My homestay for Vineman, Marion and Kent, were absolutely awesome! They were so accommodating, and their house was a beautiful old Manor, something you might see from an old movie. I loved everything about it, how even just shifting your weight on the spot created loud creaks, and sneaking around this place was not an option!lol
|Echelon Cycles saved my butt!|
Anyways, enough about that stuff, fast forward to saturday! Rachel McBride and myself headed out to the race expo mid-day, on bikes, for our package pick-up and pro pre-race meeting. I tell you, I was pretty relaxed and calm all the way until that meeting. When you’re sitting in a small auditorium, with the likes of Chris Lieto, Joe Gambles, Andy Potts, and Matt Reed (JUST to name only a FEW of the superstars there,) the nerves REALLY start to rattle. What really set my nerves off, was the fact that I wasn’t going to be watching these guys race tomorrow, I was racing WITH them!! Crazy. What really set me off though, was when Rachel and myself started to ride back to our respective homestays after everything was done for the day. Well, everything was done for Rachel. My excitement for the evening hadn’t even started. 5mins after leaving, I started to get that bouncy feeling. No, not in my stomach, but in my rear wheel. Looking down, I let out a few choice words, and told Rachel to keep on heading home, as I was about to start my run back to the expo to get my rear tubular replaced. I have to throw a HUGE shout-out and THANK YOU to Echelon Cycle and Multisport , as well as Trisports.com, both saved my bacon that night. Trisports.com hooked me up with a new tubular wheel, and the guys at Echelon did all the gluing and work to fix my tire!!! I’d have been pretty screwed without them, as all the local cycling shops were closed by then. Thanks guys!!
|ITU style bike racks|
|Exiting the water|
Race morning was an early one. As the pro fields started at 6:30am, I was up just before 4am (after yet ANOTHER restless night.) Tired and confused, Rachel and myself got a ride down to transition. They had a separate ‘pro’ bike rack in transition (as they said, they wanted to try and ‘pimp out’ the pro race this year,) so we had ITU style rear wheel racks. The one thing was though, they had our racks about 20m’s after the swim exit, so it was going to be a lesson in FAST wetsuit removal! The swim was nothing special for me. It was a struggle the whole way, I just had trouble getting into a good rhythm. What really threw me off was the 200-300m’s on course that was about 2 feet deep, where I had to REALLY alter my stroke to avoid hitting my hands on the bottom. I thought I would get DQ’d, or at least a penalty, if I dolphin dived these sections. Apparently we don’t though, as a bunch of others were doing it (probably gaining a fair amount of time on those who didn’t!) Exiting the water in just over 26mins, I wasn’t too pleased with my swim. My Nineteen Frequency definitely helped me through the swim, it kept me afloat and gave me zero restriction through my arms/shoulders, keeping me faster than where I probably would’ve been!
|Stung by a BEE!!!|
On to the bike, it started to mist and rain (which it kept up the whole ride pretty much.) Right from the start, something didn’t feel proper. It felt like my brakes were rubbing, and no matter how many times I looked down, I couldn’t see them touching (although they looked damn close.) My new position that I changed to (just after the Vancouver race,) felt outstanding, but I was pushing so hard and felt like I wasn’t really going anywhere, even when descending. After about 20mins, Leanda Cave rode by me, along with a few other pro-men, and I lost contact with them after a while. It was frustrating, but I just kept on pushing and pushing, determined not to let anything set me back. Even the bee sting. Yup, that’s right, about 30mins into the ride, a bee stung me right on my quad, which proceeded to swell up nicely, then change color a bit. Boy did it sting like a bugger, the whole rest of the day in fact! It actually kept me up two nights in a row due to the pain/itchyness. So that probably didnt help me out too much. Being cold and wet, I didnt drink enough fluids on the bike, so I was probably in the red for hydration going into the run. I was, however, knocking back Eload Gels the whole ride, and the liquid I did have was full of Eload and FLY, which helped keep my electrolyte and fuel levels up. After a slower than anticipated ride, it was into T2 and out for a half marathon.
|Pushing through the last few miles|
|Stong to the finish!|
This was the first race that I decided to use socks for the run, as I’ve been struggling with a foot inflammation issue for the past year. I used my New Balance Baddalay 890’s, with their new Rev-Lite soles. Only 9oz each, they are very comfortable, yet very light. I started out feeling strong on the run, knocking out sub 6 minute miles for about 5 miles. I slowly watched Melissa Rollison run away, but then slowly watched Leanda Cave get closer and closer. I was still feeling good (minus the foot inflammation,) hitting the turn-around loop in the La Crema Winery, which is where I finally passed Cave. That was about the end of feeling good though, as my hamstrings started to cramp up. Altering my stride, I was forced to slow down to prevent catastrophic failure, and I was hitting everything I could at aid stations. My stomach was rebelling, my legs were not cooperating, but I just pushed through. I knew I was dehydrated, but I just kept myself in check, and embraced the pain from every step. At the 9.5mile mark, a volunteer on a bike let me know I was not too far behind another pro-male. I thought to myself, “okay, this is it, use this guy as a target and run him down!” I used this as fuel, and with each mile, he was getting closer. With just over a mile to go, I pulled up behind him, and with a surge, flew by. I just gave everything I had the last mile, which isn’t saying much, and thankfully I didn’t have to sprint the finish, as I don’t think the legs had a few hundred meter sprint left in them (although, you never know what the body will give you when you dig deep for it!!) Overworked from the bike, dehydrated, and battling a mental game (among other things,) I was fairly happy with my 1:21 half marathon, (considering the hilly, challenging course,) and my 4:16 finish, which had me as the top Canadian, something I am very proud of :)Also, number 1 MOST IMPORTANT THING, I had FUN 🙂 🙂 🙂
|20lbs of post-race recovery ‘activities’|
The day was a monstrous learning experience, with a TON of things learned that I will be taking into Lake Stevens 70.3 with me. I was REALLY happy with my Compressport calf guards, my calves were probably the ONLY thing that wasn’t sore!! Practically living in my compression leggings the days leading up to the race definitely helped, as they also helped with recovery the days after. I will definitely be adjusting my diet the few days leading up to the half-irons, ideally less fiber in the diet (all I ate all day was fibrous fruits before Vineman,) so that might help out the stomach issues a bit. I will continue using my Eload, FLY, and their Gels, as they provide a VERY easy to stomach flavor, and consistency. I never came close to bonking or running out of gas out there, so fuel wasn’t a issue. Congratulations to Rachel McBride and her 7th place female placing, and second female to cross the line.
Post race, I discovered that the rear hub/axle, that held the bearings in the wheel, was loose by about 2-3mm’s (unscrewed.) It caused the rear brake to sometimes rub, and created resistance in the rear wheel. Yet another learning experience, ALWAYS check your equipment, especially if you have a mechanical issue.
|Met a new friend on the way home:)|
A huge thanks to all those that supported me, without your help, I wouldn’t have even made it to the start line in Vineman. The race organizers put on an absolutely spectacular race, I was even very impressed with the post-race food spread (always a way to an athlete’s heart, through their stomach!lol) The course was beautiful, rolling through the hills and wineries of the local vineyards.
Next on the block is the Olympic Pursuit race in Sooke, with my next kick at the 70.3 can at Lake Stevens the following weekend.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, with great training and outstanding racing. Happy training!!!