On Sunday I raced the Longhorn 70.3 triathlon in Austin, Texas. Since a rough race at Muskoka 70.3 in August, I recently had a great block of training and therefore started to gain confidence leading into this race. However, I was still unsure of how the day would unfold as I had a pretty big week leading into the race as well as some hard days earlier in the week. Also, early in the week I had a hard time moving around and felt pretty sluggish, but I wanted to use this race to get back into the mix of things and put out a hard effort as part of my World 70.3 triathlon preparations. Friday I headed up with friend/training partner Dave McManic where we stayed with some others in a house. I tried to isolate myself from distractions and just focused on resting up for the 2 days prior to the race, as I was pretty fatigued.
At the same time I was very scared and nervous. Training had been going well and I had a lot of confidence from swim splits/power numbers/data from running and my power to weight ratio was up, however I questioned the following: What if I had a bad race? What if I was too tired from the previous block of training? No matter what happened my goal for the day was to have fun and put myself in the race and remain positive and focused.
For the start of the swim I positioned myself on the right side of the line with Sean Bechtel (Can), as I knew Sean was a good swimmer and was hoping for a good clean start. I am not sure it was the best tangential line to the first buoy but I figured it was lot easier than dealing with a lot of swinging arms. After the first turn I was easily in the lead group but going around the final turn into shore I seemed to be fighting with some other swimmers for position and a few of us fell off the pack as it got stretched out approaching the shore. I exited the water and sprinted up the hill and into transition. I knew I had a solid swim as I looked up and saw Greg Bennett (Aus) and Sean Bechtel peeling off their wetsuits. I had a good fast transition and hammered up the road putting myself into position passing a few people eventually forming into a group of 3-4 athletes. I could still see the lead vehicle and things were good, there was a pack of 4 up the road including Richie Cunningham (Aus), Luke Bell (AUS), and Brian Fleishman (USA,) and Greg Bennett. We were not too far back as I could still see them.
It seemed like I rode with Sean, Graham O’grady (NZL), Allessandro Desasperi most of the ride, however Maxim Krait and Massimo Cigna rode past us and our group was not able to ride with them, however by the end of the ride they were in sight again. After the 56 miles in which I was able to average 25.26mph I was sitting in 7th place, getting off my bike well before the dismount line to make sure that there was no chance of a penalty my shoe unclipped off my bike and I was forced to go back and get it. After picking up my shoe and running into transition Sean passed me and I worked hard to get my running shoes on fast and get out on the course. I re-passed Sean and started to really be aggressive early in the run to see if I could run into a top 5 placing knowing that the 6 guys ahead of me were a lot closer than they normally are at 70.3 races. Based on splits that were given I had anywhere from 1-3minutes for positions 1-6.
After running the first loop hard I could start to see some athletes up the road and I was getting fired up but I was definitely feeling my early efforts. I was still in 7th running hard and towards the second lap of the run Jeff Symonds from Canada passed me as I was starting to tire and after 2 laps I was in 8th but keeping Jeff within striking distance but he was running super fast. On the 3rd lap it started to go down hill, I kept pushing and pushing but my legs got so heavy and tired that my mind was trying but the legs were not producing. I went from running 5:30-5:40 miles on the hilly course to running well over 6 minute pace and it was getting ugly. I was not too far from the finish line but a big chase pack was slowly coming onto me and I did my best to hold some of them off but I still managed to be passed by Kirk Nelson, Patrick Evoe, Victor Zymetsev and another athlete. I tried to pick up my pace to catch Fraser Cartmell (Scotland) who I could see just before the finish line but I ran out of time.
I ended up finishing 12th in a competitive field with a 23:22 swim, 2:12:55 bike, and a 1:17:44 for 3:57:51. Even though I had a rough last lap of the run I still feel that I have gone up to a new level in fitness and I am starting to be in the mix of the race. This is exactly what I needed for a confidence booster. It was a great field in Austin with Ironman Florida, Arizona and Cozumel as well as a lot of talented athletes in the area preparing for the 2009 World Championship in Florida.
I would like to thank Colonel’s Bikes, Lifesport, Coach Dan Smith, K-SWISS Canada, Ridglea Swimming, Frank from Powerbar and all of my friends and training partners for pushing me to new levels. Also big thanks to William Ritter for letting me borrow his new ZIPP disc wheel. I hope to be providing some photos soon.
Next on the agenda is World Championship preparation. Carley is moving down to Texas to start a job this week, and I’m pretty stoked. I will definitely have some stories and pics to post about our adventures.
Thanks for reading, Brent
Off to Austin tomorrow for Longhorn 70.3. Last year i was 19Th with a 4:09 with some bike issues and a pretty good size field. I have alot of confidence from the last few weeks of training and even though i am getting ready for Clearwater 70.3 in November i still feel the fitness is there. I could write a big blog post about the hard session's i have completed but what really matters is how the body responds and how i do on race day. Since it will be somewhat of a short drive/hard training race i have a few little goals but mostly to have fun and really put myself in the race with a hard effort.
After this race i will really be trying to sharpen up for that big day in November. Pictures and race report's to come next week. I want to wish everyone good luck who is racing on Sunday, and don't forget to stick around and get your picture taken with a Longhorn.