70.3 US Pro Champs – St George
Training through a miserable Chicago April my training had gone surprisingly close to perfect. After nearly 5 straight weeks of mid-30’s & 40’s in the rain I was trimmed out to make a run at a national championship.
The trip out there started off with a 90 minute delayed flight which was a bummer because after the flight we had nearly a two hour drive to St George. By the time we got to the hotel it was midnight, 1am in Chicago…I am rarely up past 9pm! Then bright and early the phone in the room starts ringing, Jill picked it up. USADA for random drug testing.
Over the next day I would get my final workouts in and rest up for the big day. Ironically the race was 1 year to the day of getting my shoulder rebuilt from the Abu Dhabi crash…so there was a lot of motivation to crush the field…which was so loaded that a lot of top tier pros dropped out and transferred to other races around North America.
Race morning came and I felt like a wind up toy ready to unleash. My morning jog felt effortless and I was light on my feet and very strong. The weather was cool and dry. As I relaxed in transition my heart rate was hovering in the mid-40’s…I was relaxed and focused.
Finally the cannon fired at 6:55am. Greg Bennett was to my left and some how got a 3 second jump on me and the rest of the field, but his feet were a great place to be. The first 1km of the swim we were lined up single file and flying. I lost a few spots here and there because I was doing a really bad job of swimming in a straight line. The final 300 meters seemed to take a week!
Land I ran up the boat ramp and had a horrible first transition. I couldn’t get my wetsuit off or my helmet on. I maybe lost 5 seconds but in this field that is an eternity. I got on the bike and the legs were not there but I was on the tail end of the lead pack so I sat in and waited for the legs to come.
At mile 5 I gave them a strong push and they were there and I rode past the pack and I made it maybe another two or three minutes and the legs were flat. So I held a strong pace but nobody passed me. At mile 15 TJ came by chased by Bennett. I gave my legs another dig, still nothing. At mile 22 I tried them again…nothing. Everybody raced up the climb to mile 25 I stayed in contact with the tail end of the pack until mile 30. At that point it was evident that the legs were just not there AT ALL this weekend and I throttled back and road tempo the rest of the way. I enjoyed the views of the Red Hills Parkway and Snow Canyon. It truly was beautiful.
When I hit T2 I put on my run shoes knowing I was going to drop out. I have two half ironmans on the next two weekends and there was no perks in trudging 13.1 miles up and down the side of the mountain. I ran the first mile thanking volunteers and the service men lining the course and then took off my chip and did the walk of shame back to transition.
After packing up Jill & I headed to Vegas for the night. We got a room at Harrah’s and had a great burger and tried to enjoy the Vegas nightlife.
I am miffed about my bike legs this weekend. Was it the lack of humidity, over/under rested, nutritional, or anything? I look forward to racing next weekend and hope to get an idea of what was amiss. As I reflect on my target races over the last 3 years I realize that we have been very good with tapers, showing up to the start line at goal races with great legs every time. This weekend I just missed.
Thanks for the support,