Thursday, May 28, 2015

Challenge Rimini: Rainy, Hilly, and TOUGH

24 May 2015-

I had originally planned to do 70.3 St. Polten last weekend, but we had a conflict on the calendar with the Rhodes Ball.  I had not been to a proper "ball" before, so thought I would check the race schedule and see what other options I had.  I found Challenge Rimini and thought it was a good choices as it was surrounded by some other big races and thought nothing more of it.

Come to find out Challenge Rimini was also a "big race" and was the European Triathlon Union Mid Distance Championships., yeah talk about a long race name.  I found this out a week or two before the race and at first thought maybe that was just for the Age Groupers, but no, come to find out it was for the pro's as well.

I had a decent travel schedule to Rimini, leaving Oxford early on Friday and getting into Italy by 1pm.  I made it down to Rimini by 3, and the weather was pretty bad.  A storm had rolled in and it rained pretty much the first 24 hours that I was there.  I got in a short shake out run and attended the race briefing.  I do not recall them specifying that it would be completely "ruled" by the ITU rules, but maybe I missed that part.  Then when I was doing some research I noticed a few athletes had National Kits that they were wearing for the race, which I found interesting, since some of them were attached to actual teams and were not wearing their team kits.

Race morning I headed down to the start around 930, yes it was late and the race didn't start until 11.  One of the best parts about this race was the start time!  I went to enter transition area and they had all of the pros off to the side doing bike check and gear check.  Come to find out you were "suppose" to have a national kit, so they took note of me noting have one on, with the proper ITU layout.  They then made you get out your race bib, race chip, and swim cap to ensure you had them.  Pretty annoying, but it is what it is.  After that checkpoint I went to enter transition area and a lady stopped me and started talking in Italian about my bike.  She didn't speak English at all and just pointed out the fact that I didn't have a seat tube, since I ride a beam bike.

I waited around while she was trying to find someone but after a few minutes just left to my transition spot, figured if it was a big enough deal she would come find me, she obviously had my race number and knew where I would be.  Sure enough about 10mins later another official and the same lady showed up.  He explained to her that it wasn't a draft legal race and that the bike was acceptable for the race.  So after an interesting morning dealing with the ITU officials it was onwards to the race.

Swim- 31:44

It was a pretty rough swim and the buoys were really hard to see.  There were only a few "middle" buoys throughout the whole course to sight off of between the turn buoys.  With the rough water and lack of buoys it seemed a lot of people were all over the place and there wasn't really a pack for me to swim with, mostly because they left me in their dust.  I came out of the water and through the bag area of transition, only to find 2 other pro bags there.  That is when I knew I had my work cut out for me…………….

Bike- 2:36:02

I was really happy with how I rode the course.  My power was a few watts lower than where I expected it to be, but the numbers were there.  The roads were pretty wet from the previous days rain, and then about 35mins into the ride it started raining.  The descents were pretty sketchy due to being wet, and even if not wet not sure if I would have went much faster.  I was slowly passing a few guys early on in the bike, but after the half way point I was pretty much on my own till the last 1K of the ride, where I pulled up on a group of 4 guys.  We entered transition area together and then it was onto the run.

Run- 1:19:47

I was pretty frustrated with how my run went in Galveston, I knew I was in better shape than 1:23 there and I just didn't have a good run there.  So leaving T2, I looked around and noticed that other people had not put there helmets back in their bags.  Mine was on top of my bag but not in it.  I knew I probably should have just put it in the bag to avoid any weird ITU rules that were somewhat being enforced at the race.  But I instead took off out of T2 chasing the guys that I came into T2 with.  I set into a good pace and just focused on running really consistent splits.  The course was right along the sea and completely flat out and back 7K  lap.  It was 3 laps and after the completion of lap 1 I noticed my number on the penalty board.  I decided I would take the penalty on the last lap, which would leave only about 200m left to run after serving the penalty.  It ended up only being 30seconds and luckily no one passed me in that time.

Swim- 31:44 / Strava / TrainingPeaks

Bike- 2:36 / Strava / TrainingPeaks

Run- 1:19 / Strava / Trainingpeaks

Total- 4:32:34 / 18th Pro

Overall I was disappointed with how the race as a whole went, more so with my bike and swim.  I knew that the swim conditions did not suit me, but thought I would have still been a little closer to the lead group in terms of time.  Losing 15mins to the lead bike splits was really frustrating, especially since my numbers were very close to what they were in Galveston, and I had one of the faster bike splits on the day.

The good thing is that I ran a solid run, on non tapered legs (I ran 20 miles on Tuesday), and built some confidence in knowing that my run is improving.  The other good thing is, even though the placing and time were not great, I learned a lot from the race and will be back to fight another day.

Thanks again to everyone for their continued support!  You can view all of my sponsors HERE and get special discounts from a few of them as well!

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