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!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TX70.3 Race Recap

19 May 2015-

Few weeks behind on this one, so my apologies.  I was fortunate enough to be back in the states quite a bit the first part of the year, and that helped keep the training consistent and focused.  I headed to San Diego for January to train under the guidance of my coach Scott DeFilippis.  After 4 solid weeks in California I headed back to the UK for 4 weeks, but was lucky enough to spend 10 of those days in Lanzarote training at Tri Sports Lanzarote  After the time back in the UK, I packed up for a 2 month trip back to the US.  The trip started off with 10 days in Tucson for US Military Endurance Sports Cycling Camp, followed by 15 days in San Diego training under my coach again.  I then left California for Colorado Springs and spent 10 days with Hila and her family, along with getting some solid training in.  After Colorado it was off to Texas, for the Team Red, White, and Blue Triathlon Camp.

Team RWB Triathlon Camp is one of the highlights of my year.  I am part of the team that plans the camp for the athletes and then helps coach alongside Derick Williamson of Durata Training and a few other coaches.  The camp focuses on bringing in 30-40 Veterans and equipping them with everything they need to leave the camp as a triathlete.  If they didn't come with a bike, they leave with a bike, same for everything else, from wetsuits to running shoes.  You can find out more about the camp here:

After the camp I spent the week hanging out in Austin and getting ready for the race.  I stayed with Derick and his wife Kelly, and was lucky enough to get some training in with one of Dericks athletes Chad Holderbaum.  I also did the Austin Pure Quarry Fitness Splash N Dash by Jack & Adams, it was a great time, other than getting beat by Julie Stupp and Michael Lori.  It was a great way to get in a hard open water effort and remember what it feels like to swim "fast and hard".

I headed down to Galveston on Friday and stayed with fellow pros Lauren and Barrett Brandon who I trained with when I lived in Ft Worth.  Always good to catch up with them.  Saturday ended up being an interesting day with a huge storm hitting Galveston.  We procrastinated and avoided the storm as much as we could.  We ended up not riding until close to 6pm, but it all worked out.

Race Day:

Swim- 29:27

I wasn't really sure where I was going to be with the swim, since this was the first "big" pro race.  It ended up being non-wetsuit, which didn't play into my favor.  I got a decent warmup in and found myself lined up next to Lionel Sanders in the second row.  The horn sounded and off we went.  I made it to the first buoy, about 200m out still in the "pack", which in reality was already the second pack.  I hung onto that pack and felt really comfortable through the second buoy.  I fell off of that pack half way through the swim, still not really sure what happened or caused it, but I think I just lost the feet of the person in front of me, and since I was on the back, off I went.  I swam on my own for the second half of the swim and was a bit worried about 200m out from the finish.  A kayaker ended up next to me and I thought I was the last swimmer.  Then a few moments later Lauren came swimming by me, they had started 3 or 4 mins back from us.  I tried to hop on her feet and that lasted all of about 15secs, if that.

Bike- 2:03:59

I came out of T1 and had Reilly Smith just ahead of me.  He out biked me at Galveston last year and took the overall amateur win.  I paced off of him at 12m back for the first 20-30mins.  We started to pass a few people and then I got around him and just focused on the road ahead.  I slowly kept passing guys and just after the turn around I caught the second pack.  I was really surprised to catch them that early, but I had only lost 1 minute to them on the swim, so I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised.  I sat at the tail end of that group for a few minutes before getting frustrated and pulling to the front.  I knew there were guys chasing from behind and I wanted to keep the pace high to prevent them from catching back on and hopefully catching a few more guys up the road.

I ended up staying up front pulling the group along for a majority of the way back.  Rookie mistake on my part, but the bike is my strength and I wanted to push the pace.  We caught a few more guys before T2 and rolled in as a big pack.  I made sure to stay to the front to ensure a clean entry into T2 and not to get tangled up with anyone.

Run- 1:23:14

I came out of T2 in the front of the group and was told we were 2:30 down to 6th place.  There was one guy (David G.) that had a huge lead and then 2nd-6th, then our group of probably 10 guys.  I felt pretty good coming off the bike, ran through the first mile sub 6.  However, the group just went out of T2 flying and I got left behind.  Around mile 1 that group ended up running off course and myself and Barrett Brandon ended up going the right way.  I tried to stay with Barrett but he didn't want to run with me and he left me in his dust as well.  

I just settled into what I thought was a comfortable pace and just kept clicking off the miles.  I started to fade just past half way but tried to just keep getting the calories in and putting one foot in front of another.  There were a few out and back sections so I knew when people were closing in on me, or when I was gaining on people.  There was a guy gaining quickly on me on the last lap, and luckily I was able to push hard to the end and was able to hang onto 10th place.

Swim (1.2 miles)- 29:27

Bike (112 miles)- 2:03:59 (3rd Fastest Bike Split) /Strava / TrainingPeaks File

Run (13.1 miles)- 1:23:14 / Strava

Total-3:59:24 / 10th Pro


Overall I am really happy with how the day went.  Realistically I should have been 13th-16th, but hey, I got lucky and I will take it.  I am excited to see how Challenge Rimini Half goes on the 24th of May.  Been putting in a bit of work with my run and swim, so looking forward to see what progress has been made.

Thanks to all of my sponsors and supporters for the support this season.  Without them and the support of my family chasing this dream would not be possible.  You can view all of my sponsors HERE and get special discounts from a few of them as well!

 Focused and chasing

 The new triathlon media coverage, on course interviews!
 Struggling through the final miles of the run course.
Thanks to Zo Mendosa for this finishing shot