Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Top 10 at Giant Eagle Tri

I arrived in O-hi-o heat-seeking some crucial 5i50 series points. I shared a home stay for the second weekend in a row with my Kiwi-mate, Tommy aka ‘Sheep Shagga’ Francis. Apologies to fellow Kiwis for my random meaningless words –a direct result of Tommy’s lingual lessons..!

Back to business—an interesting triathlon because it was a point to point race. The swim was 2-laps up at Alum Creek State Park – I’ll get back to that in a sec – and we rode from there to T2, which was a straight-shot, 40km away in downtown Columbus. This made pre-race logistics a little tricky as we had to check-in at the mandatory race briefing up at T1 and then drop our T2 belongings off at T2 after… Happily, our home stay was AWESOME and willing to drive us to and from. Thanks Rick!

I said I’d get back to the swim—2 laps in a rectangular fashion. Water temp was a balmy 78 and the sun was just starting to peak over the tree-line as the horn sounded. Literally 30 meters to the first left turn buoy (pronounced “boy” according to Tommy), ugh. Someone on my right was CLOBBERING me so I instinctively took two strokes with my right hand balled up in a fist hoping I would connect to send a message but didn’t – he was lucky!

Long straight-away to the next left turn buoy, another 30 meters to another left turn buoy and we were headed back to where we started. Here’s where it got interesting. The race directors wouldn’t allow for the buoys to be placed outside of the lake’s swimming zone, SOOO on the way back, I rounded the buoy and all of a sudden, I saw several swimmers standing waste deep in front of me!? TIME TO DOLPHIN DIVE! Thanks to my weekly ocean practices with Team Sirius, I was a whiz and started passing folks left and right! I kid you not, I dolphin dove the entire 400 yards back to the start of lap 2! By that time, my positioning was awesome and I was able to maintain that position, thanks to my Xterra Velocity speedsuit (4th on the right in the race start pic). Sure enough, we rounded that last buoy and started dolphin diving again! I passed another handful of swimmers and exited the water in 8th, a mere 36 seconds back from the leaders!!

I had a fast T1 and was out on the bike mashing down on the pedals in my new John Cobb-bike fit. One thing we adjusted was the position of my arm pads. We shifted them forward which in turn shifted my weight distribution off of my elbows and onto my forearms. This way, I could better utilize the bigger muscles in my back to help propel me forward. NOT USED TO THAT. Within several miles, my forearms/shoulders were on fire! Got some work to do there! Also by that time, the gents I had dolphin-dove past caught up to me. Happily though, I was better able to hang with that group – clearly a testament to my new bike position, despite my pissed-off forearms!

I came into T2 in 15th and shot out onto the run. At the only turn-around point of the course (roughly 2 ½ miles in), I could see I was sitting 12th. I attempted to press on the gas but found I was ‘running on fumes’ after my efforts on the bike to stay in contact with that pack. I didn’t have my usual sting on the run but was able to overtake 3 more racers and cross the tape, 9th in 1:49:50. Funnily enough, prior to the race I had said to myself, “based on last year’s results, if I break 1:50:00, then I should hit top 6.” Well, I broke 1:50:00 but not quite 6th! No worries though – 3 consecutive finishes, 2 top-10's and 1 top-5 ain’t too shabby!

A long, fun and successful July finds me coming home for a good month, ready to hit some hard training! Good timing also, as I’m severely rooted (Tommy)! Pics and results will come in due time so check back later for updates. Thanks for all the support!

As usual, have to give it up to the sponsors: Skechers, Xterra Wetsuits, Zico, Champion Systems, Gu, and Kask Helmets. You all rock! Thanks for everything! Race results can be found HERE.

Let’s get into it, Ketcha, to the line!!


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