Racine 70.3…I mean 69.1

I signed up for Racine at the start of the year because I knew this race would be a very competitive one. I wanted to really test myself with some of the best AG athletes around to see where I stood. Things did not all go to plan but the competitive field did not disappoint.

I was very excited when I heard that it would be a rolling swim start. This would mean that I could start off up front and swim with people instead of going off solo most of the swim. This would also, hopefully, allow me to find some other athletes to legally ride with for the bike. But come race weekend the water was cold. Like REALLY cold. It was 53 on Saturday and there was talk of shortening the swim if the water was too cold. Throw beach hazard warnings with high winds and riptides and I figured the swim would be short. But when we showed up on race morning the temperature was 51 and the swim was cancelled.

That meant no rolling start, no finding feet to swim with, no riding with a group to help pace the 56 mile ride, but it still meant I was starting in front! One of the benefits of the All World Athlete program is a low number. The start of the bike was a time trial start where 2 athletes started every 5 seconds. I was very happy to start early because I know how sketchy this course is when trying to pass a lot of people.

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So off I went up the hill outside of transition and on to one of the worst roads I have ridden on! But I was prepared for that so it wasn’t too bad. My goal now was to push my watts and hopefully find someone to ride with. But the TT start spread things out early and I was alone pretty much the whole ride. I was hitting my watts for the most part but the cross winds were causing me to get out of aero because I am a big baby when going fast and worrying about a cross wind blowing me over. I tried to settle and just relax but I just wasn’t comfortable staying in aero worrying about a cross wind going 30+ MPH. (I NEED to work on this!)

The roads weren’t great but for the most part the course was in good shape. I got into a rhythm for a while but then was unsettled by the winds then got into a rhythm, then the winds, rinse and repeat. I was pushing a solid 24-26 MPH so was thinking I would come in with a 2:14ish bike split which I would have been happy with. But getting back to transition I saw 2:18 and was pretty upset. I would not know how upset I should be until the end of the race when I saw that I gave up 5-10 minutes to the other top AG athletes. I am used to giving up some time on the bike but that much time is way too much since the other top athletes can also run fast. This is the time I wish we swam because I can usually get a few minutes on some people so I wouldn’t have so much time to make up on the run.

On the run I knew I had a lot of work to do. I got out of transition and Matt Hanson was starting his second loop. I started to run with him for a bit but I didn’t want to push too hard at mile 1 but I was feeling comfortable so I stayed with him for a mile before he left me. I was running 5:50 miles and feeling good so tried to keep the pressure on and see what my legs had in the tank.

Miles kept ticking off and ran lap one in around 39 minutes which meant around a 1:17-18 which would be a few minutes faster than my best time, 1:20, so I was happy. But I wasn’t happy knowing that the leader in my AG was ahead of me and the guy who I knew would win the AG was starting later. My dad told me I was gaining on him but every time I saw him he seemed a decent way ahead of me and was looking solid. But I wanted to catch him so I could at least get 2nd in the AG but wasn’t sure it was happening.

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I was starting to feel it and I started to see a few 6 minute miles but wanted to make sure I had enough left for a last push starting at mile 10. I saw the AG leader at one of the turns and had it in my mind I was not going to catch him. I still wanted to push as hard as I could since I was still trying to see where I would place overall in the amateur race so I did not want to let up. With about a mile and a half to go I caught a glimpse of the leader ahead of me and put it in my last gear to see if I could make the catch. I was able to make the pass in the last mile and I left it all out there. Crossed the finish line with a lot of pain on my face.

I ended up with a 1:17:41 run split which was a big PR for me. Finished 2nd AG, 5th amateur, and 21st Overall. Still disappointed with my bike split and how I rode it but happy with the run split so overall feel pretty good about the race. But now time to get back to training and hope that I can ride better at 70.3 Steelhead in a few weeks!

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As always a huge thanks to my wife for putting up with my crazy training! I know life will be much different next summer with a baby but I am so excited for it! Thanks to my dad for coming to the race and giving me splits and carrying around my bags.

Of course thanks to EGO for their continued support and for making the best lawn care products out there! Now that I have a house and a yard I understand the struggle of keeping a yard looking nice! SLF Motion and ICE Friction for making my drivetrain smooth and efficient and Greater Than Sports Drink for keeping me hydrated and looking cool in the nice gear they have given me!

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Race season is here!

Well my triathlon race season finally started last week at the Pleasant Prairie International Distance race. This is a race I have done a few times before. It is a great race! Close to home, good swim course, fairly fast bike course, and solid run course. My race season was supposed to start last month but the race got cancelled the day before the race because of “possible” weather issues. After the initial frustration of not racing I got back into training and things have been going smoothly.

Race morning went the same as pretty much every race; woke up too early, made myself a triple espresso, ate my pop tart and anxiously waited loading the car and driving to the race. Race morning was a bit chilly which was kind of a shocker since it had been pretty hot around the Chicago area leading up to the race but I will take it because it mean pretty much perfect race conditions!

Swim went a bit better than expected. I got off to a good start and got out to an early lead, shocking I know!, but that was short-lived when I got passed by one person about 500 yards in then another about 800 in. I tried to stay on the feet of the second person and was able to for a little while but then couldn’t hold on any longer and let them go. Got out of the water in 3rd place but right behind second. I heard my dad yell I was 90 seconds back to first so the race was on!

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I had a little trouble getting my sleeved tri suit up and that cost me a bit of time in T1 but I chalk that up to the first race of the year. Got on the bike and wanted to push it early on to see if I could catch the leader early then keep pushing and see what the legs had. Caught the leader around 5 miles in then kept on pushing. I am always trying to find the right balance between pushing hard on the bike and running well but not pushing TOO hard on the bike and blowing up on the run. I think I paced it pretty well on the day. There were a few spots on the course where I could see how far ahead I was to the rest of the field but could never get a good idea so in my mind they were right behind me!

Jumped off the bike and sprinted through transition. Legs were feeling good early on and I was trying to test the legs to see if I could gain more time so that when the other racers saw me up the road they wouldn’t try to catch me! Well thankfully that never happened and in reality I had A LOT more time than I thought but whenever I am in front I try to run a little scared so that I never let up until I can see the finish.

Ended up winning the race by about 3 minutes. So all in all it was a great start to the year! And on another note my dad raced the sprint race and also walked away with some hardware!

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This weekend I will be racing the Lake Zurich Olympic race to get another good hit out before the big one, 70.3 Racine! I am really excited to see what kind of fitness I have and how well I can race against some big guns in a very competitive midwest race.

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As always, thanks to my wife, parents, friends for putting up with all of my training and racing. Thanks to EGO for supporting me through the year and for making the most amazing lawn care products out there! Thanks to SLF Motion and ICE Friction chains for making my drivetrain silky and smooth! Thanks to Greater Than Sports Drink for keeping my hydrated and kitted out with great shirts and socks!