Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nautica South Beach Tri 2013

7 April 2013-

Finally the 2013 Tri season is here and getting started.  I was really looking forward to the start of the season as I had been getting in some pretty solid training and consistent workouts.  Due to some scheduling conflicts with work I had to make it a pretty short trip to the race.  Not ideal, but I figured it would be alright as my flights were not all that bad.

I flew out of DFW on Saturday morning around 6am, which meant a 3am wake up to make it to the airport on time.  I arrived into Miami around 10am and Nicholas Sterghos and his girlfriend and amazing sherpa Heather picked me up at the airport.  I had another friend from Clermont put me in contact with someone looking for someone to split a place with and next thing you know we have 2 bedroom penthouse suite.  I ended up staying with Jake Rhyner, who is that ended up beating me and then Sarah Haskins and her husband Nate.  Jake is coached by Nate so that is how all of that worked out.  Pretty crazy to be staying with a prior and hopefully future US Olympian, but the amazing thing about pro triathletes, they are always awesome people.  Sarah and Nate were awesome to hang out with!  Jake was cool as well and had previously been in the AF for a short while before getting out and his brother is currently in the AF, so small world to say the least.

Saturday was pretty low key.  Was able to get the bike together and headed out for a short spin with Nicholas and Heather and then a short run.  Picked up the race packet and then headed back to the place to relax.  Ended up ordering in some amazing pizza and then went out and grabbed some gelato.  Then just hung out and watched the college basketball game.

Race morning was a pretty early one with a 0430 wakeup.  I had the typical instant oatmeal, banana and then a Honey Stinger Protein Bar and washed it all down with an FRS concentrate shot.  Then headed down to transition area as all of the party people were headed back home at 530 in the morning.

Swim- 23:31

The water was pretty choppy and the water temp was "cold" enough to still be wetsuit legal for the amateurs.  I was racing in the Male "Elite" wave, so we were the third group off, 3 minutes behind the pro men and 2 minutes behind the pro women.  The first buoy was only 150-200m out and then you took a right turn and went from 14th Street all the way to 5th Street where T1/2 was.  I stayed with the group for about 50m and then we were all scattered out.  There was only about 30 people in the wave including the elite females as well.  I ended up swimming the long stretch side by side with another athlete but then lost contact with about 400m to go.  The run from the beach to T1 was quite long and they had the timing mat toward the entrance to transition, so the actual swim time was probably more around 23 flat, still not great but I wasn't worried about it.  I just knew I had my work cut out for me.

Bike- 56:19

I got on the bike and knew I had my work cut out for me.  Come to find out I was all the way back in 11th in our wave.  I just put my head down and started riding hard.  I kept the wattage a little lower in the tail wind sections and a little higher in the head wind section.  Over the Florida Hills (bridges) I went a little harder.  I slowly started picking off people and at one point I was able to take a split off of Jake and was 2min30secs down on him and he was the leader at the time.  I then started biking through the women's field and right before entering T2 passed Matty Reed who was having mechanical issues / tire problems on the side of the road.

Run- 36:14

I came off the bike and Lauren Goss and the 2nd place AG'er were about 400m up the run course on me.  I kept them in sight on most of the run and slowly started bringing them back as the run went on.  The run course was pretty congested with tourist and beach goers so at times it was hard to see how far up the path they were.  At the turn around they still had a pretty big gap on me but I had closed it a little bit.  I was starting to get worried that I wasn't going to catch them, but as we got around mile 4.5 they really started coming back.  A little after mile 5 I was about 50m back from the guy and then I started contemplating how I was going to make the pass or if I was just going to run on his heels or right beside him.  As i got a little closer I decided I would put in a hard surge and make sure I passed him strong hoping that would take any hope he had of going with me.  Well  I went by him and he didn't respond so I made sure I got a big enough gap and then backed down to the pace I had been running.  I passed Lauren in the process and tried to get her to run with so I would have someone to run the last portion hard with, but she didn't follow and in all honesty she didn't need to as she had 3rd place locked up.

Swim- 23:44 / 11th Elite Male / 44th OA (
T1- 1:57 / 15th Elite Male / 65th OA
Bike- 56:19 / 1st Amateur / Elite Male / 8th OA (
T2- 1:27 / 4th Elite Male / 25th OA
Run- 36:14 / 4th Elite Male / 22nd OA (
Total- 1:59:43 / 2nd Elite Male / 20th OA

Overall I was really happy with how the race went.  I knew Jake was going to be really tough to beat and it was going to take something going wrong for me to beat him.  I didn't know about anyone else but I had heard another athlete telling one of the pros he was there to qualify for his pro card, so figured he would be fast as well.  The race was an "Elite Qualifying" race under the USAT Elite/Pro qualification process as it had over $20K in prize money, so the top 3 amateur athletes qualified for their pro cards.  I planned out the race schedule this year with that in mind and almost all of the races meet that standard, which means it should be a big race with some top amateur athletes at the race.  I went into the race with that being a goal to finish in the top 3 and have the fastest amateur bike split, so I was happy to achieve those goals.  Although I qualified for my pro card I will not be turning pro anytime in the "near" future.  I will write up a blog about that in the coming days.

Thanks again to everyone for all of the support.  I am still in disbelief at how many companies have stepped up to support me this year and I am thankful for that.  I would not be able to race the schedule and amount of races this year without all of their help.  Every little bit helps and I am thankful for that.  A huge thanks to my coach for getting me in some great shape this early in the season and for believing in me and telling me a few days before the race that I might surprise myself and be one of the "big dogs" down there.  It was during a conversation when I was telling him about some of the other athletes that were going to be there and how I was pretty sure it was going to be a tough race.

Lastly, I just want to thank everyone that has been along for this journey and that has believed in me and supported me throughout.  Since arriving in Texas I have met some amazing people in the local community that have started following and supporting my racing.  It is really great to be the "new" guy in town and already have so many great friend and supporters.  Also a big thanks to Barrett for actually putting up with me and training with me a few times a week, makes those hard sessions quite enjoyable and it is always nice to beat up on each other at times during training.  Special thanks for the great company this weekend Sarah, Nate, Jake, Nicholas, and Heather!

                                  Myself and Sterghos before the race (Photo Courtesy of Heater Cox)
                                                                        The long run to T1
                                                                              Out on the bike
                                                                     Up the Florida Hills!
                                     Coming down the finishing chute (Photo Courtesy of Rich Cruse)

Jake, Nicholas, and myself.  Heather wanted to ensure that mine and Jakes heads didn't get cut off in the picture ;) (Photo Courtesy of Heather Cox)

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