7th – Mallorca 70.3
As my toes curled in the white sand beach of Alcudia waiting for the start pistol I had my doubts of what the day would bring after the debacle at St George 6 1/2 days earlier. For the fourth time in four races this year the field contained the whose who of triathlon. Raelert, Aeronuts, Llanos, Unger, Lowe, Helriegel, Sibberson, and on and on. Narly sixty men toeing the line and half of them had resumes with big wins proving they are contenders.
The swim start was narrow and hectic and the pace started off blistering. For the first 600 metres or so there was a lot of jockeying for position. Suddenly some pro horse collared me by my wetsuit and tried to pull me back or under. He is lucky that our numbers were not on the caps, because I would’ve found him after the race and he’d be missing teeth today. I settled in at my favorite spot the mid back of the lead pack. The swim was not redline start to finish like St George and San Juan, it was 200 metres blast then an easy 100 over and over.
I exited the water and the spanish were cheering especially loud…for the man on hot on my heels, Eneko Llanos. The transition was set up like an Ironman with your gear hung in bags. There was some pro panicing, knocking around the bags looking for his bag…what he did not realize was he was tangling up the drawstrings. Moments later I was on my way charging through transition strapping on my race belt and putting on my helmet.
This bike course consisted of five very different parts:
Part I – 15k flats
I grabbed the Ordu, making a debut in its home country, it was a rocket sled on rails. These were the legs I remember. Within a few kilometres I charged to the front. I was setting a blistering pace trying to break up this 15 man draft party. I glanced over my shoulder and it was 20 metres to the 5th guy in line. As we charged through a small town at 10k we approached a round about that I took notice of on my pre race ride. It appeared to be 90 degrees but it was closer to a switchback. I carried a ton of speed in and swung wide last second, hammered the brakes and apexed it perfectly. Bart Bertrand, runner up at San Juan, made the turn as well. The third pro in line locked up his brakes because his line was off, as did a few people behind him and the gap was opened.
Part II – The climb to 515m, 1600′
At the 15k mark the course transitioned from flat to climbing. The first few k were just false flats and then came the climb. At th base I had a 20 second gap on Bart and the pack had fallen out of sight. 7k of varying pitches, very reminisent of NC…after just 2k of climbing Bart passed me. Him being 20 kilos lighter was definitely helping him. At the summit he had grown a 30 second lead, with the chasers still out of sight.
Part III – The rollers
After most climbs you expect to descend, not here. The road rolled up and down for nearly 10k, nothing big, just quick 0.5-2k descents and 1-2k climbs. I slowly cut back into Barts lead, it was truly unfair though, he had the same awesome Mavic shoes and Mavic CXR80s that I had which were a perfect for this course.
Part IV -Descent
Moms don’t read this. It was like what you see in the Tour, high speed straights into a set of switchback, back into another straight, twisting through small towns. My body was recovering, but my heart was pounding as I dipped and dove through the bends. At the base of the descent was the 50k marker and Bart was metres ahead.
Part V – Flats
40k flat time trial, legs feeling fresh from a 10 minute descent, the hammer came down hard. Winding through farm fields and small towns I was truly drilling the pace. I would look down at my legs and demand more, each time they responded. With 5k left in the bike my legs were ready to be done. Finally we got into town, the fans were packed into the streets so tight that the lead vehicle nearly stopped blocking the road. I lost 10-15 seconds yelling and trying to get through as the lead vehicle inched through the crowd.
That long run through transition let me know that the legs were trashed but not destroyed. Another subpar transition…looks like I know what I need to work on and it was off to the run.
The run was made up of 3 6.75km laps.
Find your pace…3:40/km (5:52/mi) a tick fast but good each of the first 3km. Then came the turnaround how big is my lead…not big enough…the hounds were coming and there were at least 8 of them, from 3-4.5 minutes adrift. I finished the first lap in 24:37, 5:51/mi
Cramps are being buffered. I grab a gel and tuck it in my suit to take before the next aid station, I did not know it was open and it squeezed down my chest and slowly into my crotch and down my legs. Sticky mess and a lot of chafing. At the end of the 2nd lap Aeronuts, A.Raelert, and Llanos passed me. Are you kidding? I just ran the second loop in 24:43, 5:52/mi and they put 4 minutes into me in 13k!
Cramps were starting to set in. I slipped to 3:45/km and was digging it all out because there was another pack of 3 coming. I focused hard but the body was screaming. The 18 km mark, 11 minutes left, push baby you got this…then I lost 1-2-3 spots in the matter of 1km. The third loop was a 25:25, 6:03/mi.
I watched the battle for 4-5-6 unfold I ran strong hoping one would cramp, but it didn’t happen. I closed out a 1:17:1? and got my butt handed to me on the run by some rediculously fast times.
I loved the course and the scenery. I was thrilled with my performance but disappointed with the result. Just shows that when you are picking your races it is better to be lucky than good!
Thanks for all those who stayed up all night to follow me!
A very sore,
…for those counting the course was ~100m short according to the technologically savvy age group crowd.