I’m not usually one for moral victories, but I feel good about this one! A week before the race I started to feel a “tickle” in my throat. But I did my race sim that weekend and did just fine. Fast forward to Tuesday before the race, and I had a mega cold, which mostly passed through by the time I left on Thursday, but I was left with full blown bronchitis. I wasn’t even sure if I would start. But after speaking with my inner circle, I decided to race as hard as I could, for as long as I could, and let my body decide when the race was over. Turns out that was the finish line – in a pretty decent time!
The Swim – 1.2mi: (00:32:22) Considering I’d only been swimming for about a month with two arms (see: January bike wreck) and the whole bronchitis thing, I didn’t know what to expect. I was pretty concerned when I saw that there was no swim warm-up allowed. I ran and got the core temp up as much as I could. The gun went and I immediately began hacking up while trying to pace breaths between labored strokes. After the first 600 or so yards, my arms really became tired and heavy and it was a struggle until about 500 left. I refocused myself on form and smooth effort and came in more comfortably than when I started.
The Bike – 56mi: (02:27:40) With the first pedal strokes, I realized my power meter wasn’t working as my computer displayed zeroes. All of my training and racing has been based on power as my primary performance metric. Usually, this would be very concerning. However, on a day where every other breath was interrupted by piece of lung projectiles, I was immediately calmed by the idea of not sweating coming in low to my expected numbers. I just rode my bike as hard as I could and responded to the race. I was caught by my teammate, Julian Sunn, much earlier than expected and instead of getting down, I used it as motivation and we rode together (legally) for the rest of the bike. Side note: it’s a beautiful thing to ride with guys you are competing with! The pro race is an infinitely different race than amateur wave starts in this regard. I finished through the beautiful red rocks and cruised into transition wondering just how the run would go.
The Run – 13.1mi: (01:22:12) This run course was no joke. It started immediately uphill through the neighborhoods and gained 1,440 ft. of elevation gain through the red rocks. Within the first mile, the guy who’d been with me most of the bike hopped onto my pace and we ran side by side. I came up to Julian who’d put a minute on me at the end of the bike on the last hill as I couldn’t go that deep – he was doubled over cramping. I was so bummed to see this because he was fit and racing very well. After giving him a holler I continued on and powered up the hill. While I didn’t have the top end, I was running steady after climbing up above the town and on top of the red rocks I set a CR on Park Loop. I was humming along, trying to close on my teammate Jake McDonald and I felt the pace slipping away from me a bit. Thank God I hit the point of the last 5km of screaming downhill – especially the last two miles, where I was running as low as 5:10/mi. I can truthfully say that if this 13.1mi race was 13.6 miles, I would have not have finished. I left it all out there to be sure!
Result – 70.3 (04:27:06): Overall – 38th, Division – 3rd
Thanks – A BIG thank you to my cousin Gina who housed Julian Sunn, Bruno Fritsch and me in Vegas before we headed to Utah. She continues to be THE BEST race host!! Mark Graham for being a great teammate and driving the four of us to the race from Vegas and being the local knowledge base. Meredith Kessler who, as the defending St. George champ, helped me prep the entire week prior with training and course tips, AND for hooking me up with an X-Lab Torpedo hydration system and coordinating the drop during a busy race prep day. The Team EMJ guys for being great race weekend-mates and Bruno for not tossing and turning too much in our motel bed 😉 Family and friends for the support, it was really special this time! And of course, to all of our sponsors – see the Mike Like’s page to see the amazing brands/products that I used to get me to, through and recovered from the race!
Here are some closing photos. Thanks for the support and keep on keepin on, all!