Thursday, June 6, 2013

US Military Tri Champs

1 June-

The one race that I have been looking forward to all the way since last year.  I had the privilege of being selected last year to the Air Force Triathlon Team and had a pretty solid "debut" at the race.  Once again this year I was selected to the team and was really looking forward to the event as a whole.  This race is an amazing experience as the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines all bring teams, consisting of 10 men and 6 women.  Canada also makes the trip down as well.  The days leading up the race are great as we get a fair amount of time to train and hang out with our fellow servicemembers.  The whole experience is amazing and a great way to make new friends and spend time with old friends.  My least favorite part about the whole trip is actually the race ;)

Cam Loos did a great job on writing up a report about the race in general, so if you want to read that it can be found here:

The days leading up to the race I did some easy training.  I can't resist the amazing climbs that are right off the PCH so on Thursday I put on my 11-28 and headed up Yarba Buena and back down Mulholland.  Yarba Buena is a little under and hour climb when taking it nice and easy and if I ride up it at tempo it takes about 45mins.  So Thursday it was easy and such an amazing view.  Then came back to get our team gear issued with a quick team meeting.  Thursday is by far the busiest day, after team gear I got a short swim in followed by bike check.  After bike check was lunch and then the race briefing.  After race brief we headed over for pictures and then came the social and dinner.  Next thing I know Thursday is over, it just seems to be go, go, go.  The good thing about that is that means Friday is a fairly easy day in terms of stuff going on.

Got up early Friday morning and got an easy ride and run in and then headed out to "enjoy" the cold pacific ocean water.  It was in the high 50's, so not quite the normal temps that I am use to.  The rest of the day was spent lounging around and getting the bike ready for race day.  I also managed to get in a nice nap and then it was time to head out for our team dinner and annual James Bales tradition of Dairy Queen Blizzards.

Race morning is always nice because it is a later race start than the usual tri.  This year they actually moved it up since they were not holding the Admirals Cup Sprint race due to sequestration, so we had to start at 0900, instead of the usual 1000.  Had the usual breakfast of oatmeal and a banana.  Got a nice little pre-race run in and then headed down to get a pre swim in with the water being so cold.


The swim course was a 2 loop course and was supposed to be in our favor.  Well this year they got that part wrong and we had a current against us on part of the course.  If you look at the strava file below, the portion that paralleled the shore is where the current was against us.  I got a decent start and had some feet to stay on for a while but by the time I started to head back in from the first lap I was all on my own.  I think I did a bad job of sighting and may have cost myself some time.  The second lap the same thing, bad sighting on my part.  I did come out of the water about 5 positions higher up this year than last year, so maybe my swim is improving ;)


I had a bad T1 in my opinion and lost contact with a Marine who ended up in a small group just up the road.  I did come out of the water with my Army buddy Eric and we started working together once I got my feet into my shoes.  I really like my S-Works Road shoes, and they have worked great in the past couple of races.  But for the draft legal fast paced stuff I didn't really care for them.  Once I was in though it was just myself and Eric and I started taking some hard pulls and he came around a few times and helped out.  I think just after a lap he wasn't able to help anymore and dropped back to the group behind us.  I was in the middle of two groups but knew I could bridge if I continued to ride hard.  There were 2 groups up the road that became one and that is when I was hoping things would become dis organized and I would make up the most ground.  They started just floating out there and I was a little worried I wasn't going to make it.  Finally I started making up some ground and I finally just put my head down for 2 minutes and made a hard effort to get there.  When I got to the group we had 4 other AF guys, 3 Navy, an Army Guy, Marine, and a Canadian.

I made the bridge just at the start of the 3rd lap and sat in for a few rotations as I was pretty deep in the pain cave after making that bridge.  Looking back on the race here is where I made a tactical error.  I should have sat in a bit longer and recovered for 1/2 a lap or a full lap.  Then I should have made an effort to get away.  The reason I say this is because the Navy had 4 guys up the road to only our 2 guys up the road.  I think tactically I should have kept attacking till I got away and tried to bridge the gap.  This is the only place I am disappointed in my race.  Instead I sat in just made my pulls with the group and tried twice to get away but was pulled back in once by my own team and once by the Navy guys.  Half way through the third lap there was a nasty crash right in front of me involving one of my teammates, Brian, and a Canadian.  Brian touched wheels with Scott and next thing I know bikes and people are flying around in front of me.  I got really lucky and just missed Brians bike.  Going into T2 we just caught the tail end of the group of 4 in front of us. and we were one big group coming into T2 of 13 guys from 8th to 20th.


Coming off the bike I was 2'40" off the two leaders and 1'10" off of the first chase pack which had 5 guys in it.  When I got off the bike I ran a 5:50 first mile and most of the group I got off the bike with was running away from me like I was standing still.  I couldn't figure out what was going on other than everyone else was just killing it on the run.  It is a two lap bow tie run course.  So you run out away from the transition area / finish line, through that area, then do another out and back section.  It literally took me till the second lap to get the legs feeling good.  I ran a pretty steady pace the whole time and came on strong during the last 2 miles.  That is where I passed 5 guys and moved my way into 10th.  Three of those guys were Navy guys so it felt good knowing that I made a contribution to the team.

Swim (1.5K) - 24:50 / 25th Male /  (
Bike (22.3mi) - 52:02 / 1st Male /  (
Run (6.06mi) - 35:54 / 10th Male / (

Total- 1:53:52 / 10th out of 47 Men

Overall I am really happy with how my race went, although I finished 10th compared to 8th last year.  I was the 5th AF Male this year, which means our team is just getting stronger and stronger.  We had James Bales back this year, which I knew would bump me at least one spot, but then Jon and Scott both had great races.  Jon had an amazing race and really impressed me.  Great job on executing an amazing race tactically and running for dough, when I was biking for show ;)

On the team side of things we lost to Navy by 1 point, that is really hard to take.  We lost to them last year and we came back and fought this year to take the title back and we failed.  This race is unique with the team scoring and it makes it something special.  So for the next year I am sure we will all remember that one point and hopefully it can get us out of bed and out the door on those tough morning so that next year we can come back and take the title back.

A huge congrats though to Nicholas Sterghos on his first Armed Forces Win.  I have had the pleasure of racing at a few of the same races as him this year (he races pro), and hanging out with him and his girlfriend Heather.  Look forward to seeing him a future races and can see that all the hard work he is putting in is really paying off.  James Bales came back this year after a year off from Armed Forces and took 2nd, our top AF male finisher and Sam Morrison our top female finisher fresh out of the AF Academy took the win on the female side of the house.

Thanks again to everyone for all of the support.  Something big is happening in a few weeks, stay tuned.  Excited, Nervous, Anxious, Blessed, Thankful, yeah I think that all sums up what is about to happen!

Here are a few pictures from the race and the trip.

 Out of T1 with Eric and the chase pack behind.
 Suffering on the run
 Heading down to swim start with Kidd
 All of the competitors including our friendly neighbors up North, the Canadians!
 Our team with our silver medals

Thursday morning ride heading down the PCH, then up Yarba Buena and down Mulholland.  We also did this ride post race on Saturday.

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