Longhorn Austin 70.3

Last weekend I raced one of my favorite races, Austin Longhorn 70.3. The race is close to home, therefore neither Carley or I had to take a day off work which is beneficial. We left after work on Friday and were followed there by another triathlete and friend Eric. We stopped for dinner along the way and still arrived in Austin by 7:30 pm. We checked into our hotel which is one of the closest hotels to the race site and somehow we scored the Longhorn suite. Our entire room was decorated in Longhorn paraphernalia from toilet seat covers, posters on the wall to a leather orange and white desk chair and orange and white sheets. I felt like I was sleeping in a dorm room again! Check out the sweet pictures below.

Saturday morning we woke up early and met a few friends at the race course for race prep. Of course Carley wants to go outlet shopping in Round Rock so she heads off leaving me to catch a ride back to the Longhorn Suite with Eric. Race prep went great,  my bike was racked and my shoes were in T2. I was all set. Eric of course forgets his shoes so on our way back to his hotel as we are stopped at a light on the highway (no idea why there are so many highways with lights in Austin) chatting away we get rear ended. Riding in the ambulance with the women who hit us I learned that she “shut her eyes for a few seconds and got lost in her thoughts.” She didn’t even attempt to brake, we hit the car in front of us who was actually another Canadian in Austin racing the following day.  After seeing a few doctors and getting some tests done the doctor informed me that it was my decision whether or not I was going to race the following day stating that I may be so stiff that I will not be able to get out of bed, but I also may be good to go. I focused on the positive and never second doubted whether or not I was going to race, I simply thought to myself I’ve raced and trained many times through pain, and although it may not be pretty but I will be racing tomorrow. 
Needless to say after sleeping in my Longhorn dorm room I awoke at 3am Sunday morning to a extremely stiff neck, and back. I took six of Carley’s Ibuprofen’s and put on my race suit. It was probably because of the effects of the Ibuprofen’s but usually I’m edgy and nervous on race morning however this morning I was numb and calm. I lost my timing chip and didn’t even panic just continued with my warm up run and figured it would sort itself out somehow. Luckily Carley was still edgy and retraced all my steps and found it. 
The swim felt super easy thanks to my new Xterra Vendetta wetsuit. I was easily in the main group with one athlete off the front (Marko Albert). In the group we had Richie Cunningham (AUS), Paul Amey (GBR), Bryan Rhodes  (NZL), Jeff Symonds (CAN), Allesandro Degasperi (ITA). After a quick transition I found myself riding in the same group that was formed early on in the swim. 
Out on the bike things still were very easy and calm. We had a draft marshal on the bike who was giving out many penalties. Rhodes and Clode received penalties and then everyone really seemed to slow down and not do anything. We were riding easy and I was worried that we were going to get caught by other athlete’s and that we were going to give Marko Albert too much time as he was still off the front.  At 50 miles into the ride we were caught by Lewis Elliot (USA) and James Cunnama (RSA) and our pack was very large going into T2. 

I quickly got into a good rhythm on the run with Paul Amey and Jeff Symonds and we chased Richie, Allesandro and Cunnama. The first lap I ran strong being in 5th and then 6th place running behind Jeff Symonds. I ran the second lap in 6th place and held my position into the finish. I experienced a lot of neck and back pain on the run, as i’m pretty sure the Ibuprofen’s were wearing off, but overall I am happy with the way the day played out considering the amount of stress I went through on Saturday. I would have really like to be in the top 5 but with how I felt I  was just super happy to finish in one piece. 

A big thanks to Xterra, HTFU, K-SWISS, Powerbar, Colonels Bikes and my Coach Cliff English for your support, knowledge and help. Also always a thanks to my wife, Carley, for her support and help on race morning when I was just too calm. Congrats to all of the people that finished the race in Austin.  After staying in that hotel suite all weekend I must confess that I am now an Longhorn fan! Go Longhorns!!
Professional Men’s Results
1 James Cunnama 3:53:57
2 Marko Albert 3:55:06
3 Richie Cunningham 3:57:04
4 Alessandro Degasperi 3:57:29
5 Jeff Symonds 3:57:57
6 Brent Poulsen 4:00:02
7 Brad Seng 4:04:45
8 Trevor Wurtele 4:04:54
9 Lewis Elliot 4:05:48
10 Ian Mikelson 4:06:41

Next up will be World Triathlon 70.3 Championships in Clearwater, Florida.