Thursday, September 19, 2013

2013 70.3 World Championships "Vegas Baby"

8 September 2013-

After racing the 70.3 World Champs back in 2009 (race report here) I told myself I would not race 70.3 Worlds again until I thought I would be competitive.  I ended up taking my slot to Vegas back in October at Austin 70.3, actually off of a roll down all the way to 11th.  I had flatted on the bike and lost 15 minutes waiting for a support vehicle, and then ended up being helped out by another athlete who stopped and gave me a tube.  Punching the Vegas ticket early in qualifying cycle meant I could hold off on doing 70.3s early this year and I only signed up for Vineman, in July.

Winning the amateur title at Vineman 70.3 was a big boost in confidence and I knew that I would have a good shot at accomplishing my goals in Vegas.  I was a little disappointed with how AG Nats went due to getting sick and not having a great run.  After that I put in 2 big weeks and felt like that was a big boost leading into Vegas.

I drove out to Vegas starting on Monday and made it there Tuesday night.  I stopped in Albuquerque on Monday and got in a short ride before calling it a night.  Tuesday morning I woke up and got a good long ride in and then a short swim before getting on the road to Vegas.  I stayed down on the strip Tuesday night and then headed out to a house we had rented about 1 mile from race start.  It was a Team RWB / Military house and also a Korea Reunion.  Ryan and Kim were staying there and are part of Team RWB, Cam is Navy, Hila was stationed with me in Korea and is also part of Team RWB, Luis was stationed with me in Korea and is also part of Team RWB, and John and Dianne were also in Korea and are now Team RWB members.  Great group of people to share the house with for the week and great times were had.

Race week prep went well and I was feeling really good.  I was really impressed with the roads on the bike course and was looking forward to getting out and racing on them.  To keep my mind of the race we went out to the strip on Thursday, saw a show and then gambled for a bit.  For once I actually walked out of a casino as a winner.  I always go in planning to make a deposit, but finally I was able to make a withdraw.  Good signs to show how the race was going to go.

Race morning came nice and early with a 0400 wake up.  Transitioned opened up at 0430 and closed at 0600.  Since we were staying so close to the race start and I was not starting till 0752 I headed down right at 0430 and setup my bike.  We walked outside to rain and not the greatest conditions.  After setting up the bike I headed back to the house to eat breakfast and started watching the live coverage of the race.  We left the house right as the men were exiting the swim and on our drive down to T1 we saw Timothy O'Donnell leading the race up the first hill.  After that I headed down and hung out until my swim start.

Swim (1.9K)- 31:14

I thought I had got a good starting position and then 30 seconds before the start everyone started creeping forward.  I found myself in the 3d row by the start and struggled to fine clean water until about 800m in.  I thought I was swimming alright but knew with it being a non-wetsuit swim I would come out 5-7 minutes down on the leaders in our AG.  I ended up a little further back then I would have liked and knew I had some work to do on the bike.

T1 (~600m)- 3:23

Crazy transition run with all of the rain.  Made for a quite muddy run and then somewhat muddy transition area.  On the run out it was single file out so I got held up there until getting to the mount line.

Bike (90K)- 2:21:59

Once on the bike I really concentrated on not pushing too hard up the first hill and then the climb out of the resort area.  I just stuck to a little over 300 watts and once out on the main road just put my head down and started pushing.  I didn't have anyone to work with on the bike till just after the turn around.  I just kept passing people and then finally a guy came by me, "Mock".  A few other guys were with us and they just sat on the back until the last climb out of the park.  We both decided to ride hard and get rid of the people sitting on.  Out of the small group that had formed a majority of us were riding legally, but there were a few who wanted to wheel suck.  I rode the last 25k with Mock working well together both riding legally and taking turns out front.  A lot of people don't realize that if you work legally with someone there is actually an advantage and if you know what you are doing you don't get a penalty.  There were a few groups out there that were definitely riding as a "pack".  It is what it is, I knew getting off the bike that I had rode a clean race.  I had made up a lot of ground and knew I was somewhere in the top 15.

T2- 1:31

No issues in T2, made quick work of it and was happy with how it went.  Always nice to have a bike catcher so you don't have to rack your own bike.

Run (21K)- 1:29:28

I knew the run course was going to be brutal and especially since the rain had lifted and the sky parted for the sun to beat down on us.  I had held back a little bit on the bike knowing that the run was going to be tough.  I got out and felt pretty good, the legs were moving well.  I had a few guys pass me and I had passed a few guys.  It was a bit confusing on where exactly I was since it was a 3 loop course.  An AF friend of mine Dave Scarbrough was there and told me I was in 9th after the first lap.  I knew there was a guy just up the road on me and each lap I kept pulling a little more back.  It was one of the Every Man Jack guys, who had finished just behind me at Vineman.  I then got passed by another guy in my age group and just kept him in my sights.  Coming into the last lap both guys were still up the road but I was still feeling pretty good.  Going up the last hill I passed the Every Man Jack guy and had the other guy still in my sights.  At the turn around at the top of the last hill I started to close in on him.  A couple hundred meters later I was on his heels and running right behind him.  He never looked back and had no clue I was there.  We had one aid station left and he went to grab water and I broke right, down the centerline of the road and he never saw me go.  I ran hard from that point on, knowing that pass was crucial to keep me in the top 10.  With 300m to go I passed by Ryan and slapped him on the rear and told him to run with me.  He came for a bit but then fell back and I ended up waiting for him at the finish line.  The last guy I passed at the aid station came up to me in the finishing chute and was confused when I passed him, I explained to him what happened and he just shook his head in disappointment.  I was happy with how the last few miles went and how I was able to dig deep to get into the top 10.

Swim (1.9K)- 31:14 43rd out of 124 in AG / (

Bike (90K)- 2:21:59 / 9th out of 124 in AG / (
For the power gurus:

Run (21K)- 1:29:28 / 27th out of 124 in AG / (

Total- 4:27:35 / 36th out of 1,982 Amateurs / 9th out of 124 in AG


Overall I am extremely happy with how the race went.  I never thought back in 2009 that I would have been in the top 10 of my age group at a world championship.  I went into the race with the goal of a top 10 being a good day and top 5 being a great day within my AG.  I accomplished that and now set my focus on the IM World Champs where I am keeping those same goals and hoping to come out accomplishing just that.

I owe a lot to everyone that has supported me along this journey, and of course to my family for believing in me and supporting me.  The friends that I have made in this sport are amazing and of course all of my friends before I started this crazy sport are amazing with their support.

Lastly, I can't thank my sponsors/supporters enough FRS Healthy Energy, Honey Stinger, Kiwami, HED Cycling, Zoot, teamTBB, Fort Worth Cycling, Arundel Bike Products, Clever Training, ISM Saddles, and Team RWB for all of the support!  Without the great help of these great companies and organizations this season would not be going as well as it is.  So THANK YOU!

 At the Pre Race Dinner (Hila, Me, Ryan, Luis, Cam, and John)

 Headed out for the bike
Headed back by the resort area and my parents, Luis, and Johns wife were still stuck there.

Out on the run course starting the last lap.
Bro hug with Ryan at the finish line.

Dad and Brenda made the trip down and it was great having them there.  Bummed they won't be in Kona.

 The post race "Party" Crew!

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