Let me start off by saying wow what a week leading up to my debut at 70.3. It has been quite stressful and I feel like I did a great job with focusing on the task at hand and putting the other stuff behind me until after the race.
Friday Afternoon Jenny and I drove up to Morgan Hill and got all settled in at the hotel, built up my bike, and headed to packet pick up and the pre-race meeting. Unfortunately the pre-race meeting was cancelled for some unknown reason, so we decided to drive to the race venue and walk transition as well as drive some of the course. That made me relax quite a bit and I was feeling very confident about the next day. We drove into downtown Morgan Hill, which was a quaint little place filled with many restaurants and boutique shops. We decided on a small Italian restaurant called Maurizio's. It was amazing; the waiters were Italian, the setting was very small, and most importantly the food was amazing. After dinner we walked downtown for a few minutes and saw a small carnival with a ferris wheel so we chose to walk around there for a few minutes before heading back to the hotel.
|Pre Race Pro Men Swimming to start buoy Courtesy of Jenny|
|Coming into Swim finish the first time have a large gap on third place and on photo courtesy of Jenny|
Saturday morning was an early wake up to ensure that I had time to eat before the race. I had a wonderful breakfast at 5:00 and we headed to the race venue. Once at the venue I checked in with the director, helped Jenny get to her volunteer position and proceeded to prepare to race. Transition was all set so I went and did a warm up run for 20 minutes and felt great. I slipped into my suits and headed down to the water for a deep water start about 150 meters into the lake. The race started and we were off. One other pro, Brian Duffy, and I developed a large lead on the whole field putting almost two minutes on all the other pros. However, this is where things came undone. At the final turn buoy Brian and I stopped for a moment to decide what to do. There was one more yellow buoy but it was not on course and so we split; I swam to the last buoy he continued to make a b-line for the finish chute. As I was finally coming into the finish chute Brian had put on a little time on me, about 20 seconds. I was coming up onto the carpet when I was stopped by a course marshal who told me that I had not swum to the far buoy at the end where Brian and I stopped to decide which way to go. She had not seen my whole swim and thought that I had cut around the peninsula because she watched me swim to the buoy that was right next to he peninsula. After talking to her for a good three minutes I decided to dive back in and yet again swim to the far buoy and back before heading onto the bike. After my 24 minute swim turned into a 43 minute swim I knew my day was done. I was disqualified, but was allowed to proceed onto the bike course and ride the sprint course as a cool down and run for twenty minutes as well. I wasn't sure if I wanted to come back and race the international distance on Sunday, but I did want to leave that option available. After cooling down and getting a massage I headed out to watch the remainder of the race. I saw that one pro bike was back on the rack so I headed out on the run to watch Brice run. He turned out to have a pretty fast bike split, but was in his own world on the run and just had to get across the line to win. Turns out though all pro men were disqualified in the 70.3 race. After Brice finished the officials and race director held a meeting to discuss the days events and what they were planning on doing with us. The first topic of discussion was the swim. The race director apologized for not having a lead kayak on Brian and me. We also found out the buoy I had swam to was supposed to be a sight buoy for us that had not been anchored properly and had blown next to the peninsula. So I was unfortunately wrongly disqualified, but there was nothing to do about it. As for the other pro men, they along with the top 4 age group men, were all disqualified for not doing the bike course. Apparently on the bike course in the early miles a police officer who was directing athletes turned them down the wrong road where they eventually began riding into one way traffic before realizing they should not be going that way. They turned around and headed back onto the course but were all disqualified at the end of the day. Brice Winkler was the only athlete who decided to finish the whole race as the est of us thought about potentially racing Sunday. It was decided that all pro men who raced Saturday would be allowed to enter the international race on Sunday if they were inclined to. I chose to race Sunday and try to brush off the events of Saturday. Even though I was planning on racing Sunday I chose to let Saturday be like an other weekend and decided to take my race support (Jenny and Jeremiah) wine tasting and spend the afternoon relaxing and hanging out with them. Afterwards we were so kindly welcomed by Jeremiah to stay at his house instead of the hotel before the race. We made a great dinner hung out for a little bit and were off to bed to try this all again on Sunday.
|Exiting water in 4th place pro men international race photo courtesy Jenny|
Sunday morning was another early morning, but it was definitely a lot harder to wake up and I would have loved to have slept in. However, after a few minutes I was up and going. Saturday night was a very bad night of sleep. I probably only slept for 2 hours. I was not able to sleep and had to get up and walk around a one point. Once at the venue after breakfast I felt much better. I was very calm and relaxed and felt very good in warm up again. The pro field was deeper today which was also exciting and I looked forward to the challenge. The swim start today was much better. It was more organized, there was a lead kayak, and a faster swim field. I came out of the water in 4th, felt very happy about my swim split (17:46), and was in sight of the leader. After a very fast transition I was in 3rd and had 1 and 2 in my sight. I was able to move up the field for the first 5 miles finding myself in the top 3 and feeling calm and relaxed. At mile 6 things came undone. I was losing power and cadence on the bike. I took a deep breath and took on some nutrition and water hoping to feel better, but it was not helping me at all. I felt like I was riding backwards. I could not find a groove and was quickly losing ground. I tried resting and getting back into it, but it was to no avail. I just ended up putting my head down and doing whatever I could to get into transition. I hit transition and after a slow transition I was on the run course. Still not feeling well I just wanted to finish. I tried turning up the run and seeing what would happen. I ran hard for the first 2 miles but could not get a turnover going. I started slowing down from my already slow pace and just needed to get to the finish at the turn around I turned it all off and started to recover run and I ended up walking through all the aid stations and taking as much water and cytomax as I could so that I would not destroy my training for the coming week. When all was said and done I was the 6th place elite male across and not a very happy camper, but I did learn a lot.
Sunday afternoon Jenny and I chose to drive down Highway 1 and take it easy which was very very enjoyable. I have driven down the coast a few times but have never stopped along the way, which is nice. We got some amazing pictures and really got to enjoy the beauty of the California Coastline. I learned a great amount that I would like to relay onward. You cannot always control your circumstances in your race only how you treat them. And even though I was disqualified from the race Saturday I showed a great amount of maturity and sportsmanship by going out to the final buoy again and coming back in. Many spectators took that to heart and thought that was amazing after watching me do it the first time and instead of becoming more upset with the course marshal. It was talked about quite a bit throughout the weekend and many spectators were impressed with my decision to go back and do it again, even the course marshal was very impressed with my attitude during all that was going on. I also learned a great amount about mental capacity and what I need to work on. I felt the most calm and relaxed as I ever have coming into the race weekend and did a great job focusing on the task at hand.
To sign off for this blog I need to take a moment and thank a few very special people and sponsors. First and foremost, my amazing girlfriend Jenny for helping keep me calm and relaxed throughout the entirety of the weekend and being such an amazing travel partner taking care of everything she could do to limit my activity level leading up to the races. She even volunteered at the race due to lack of volunteers and did a great job at it. I felt so bad that I stressed her out on Sunday when my race was coming undone and she was unsure if I was alright. She handled it like a pro and I truly appreciate all that she has done. Next, Jeremiah for his amusing support throughout the weekend as well as putting us up at his home on Saturday night and cooking dinner and taking pictures throughout the weekend. Now onto USAP for putting on a great event and handling all the craziness that was Saturday so well: I look forward to racing more of your races. Sanpei Optics for your sunglasses and race support. Coach Tara of Pinnacle Racing for helping throughout the week leading into the race and her dietary support during race weekend. And last but not least, all my friends and family who may have not been there this weekend, but sent all there well wishes and support throughout the weekend.
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