I wanted to try to get this report out while things were still fresh in my mind. But I didn’t want to write it so fast that I had some jaded thoughts about the race. I needed time to think about the race, my effort, and what I wish happened before I really wrote it. Before I get into the report I will give a bit of background on Racine. I decided on Racine over Steelhead because Racine is driving distance from my apartment so not hotel needed, and also because I wanted to do USAT AG Nationals which is the day before Steelhead. Some people do both back to back and if they were closer I would be very tempted. The roads on the Racine bike course are, to be nice, crappy. But the big issue with those roads are there are stretches that have expansion cracks every 10-15 meters. So you just have to deal with it and it is very easy to let it mentally break you down, which it did to me at the start.
I went into this race knowing I had very good fitness. My coach and I have been working on my bike A LOT, and it has been painful, but I really wanted to show my new bike fitness and not lose as much time to the other top age groupers. For some reason I am not overly confident going into some bigger races. I KNOW that I have the ability to execute a top 10 race and I KNOW I should be in the top 5 of my AG but I also don’t think I act like it. Maybe it’s because racing is still a “new” and I am improving every race, maybe it’s I am just not as confident in my racing, and maybe it’s because I KNOW that I am going to give up 5 minutes, at least, on the bike to the other top amateurs. Running people down is fun and I LOVE it but I need to improve my bike so I can ride within a few minutes of their time so that I can run fast but just gain more time and not worry about chasing everyone down.
Swim: 26:19 (1:16 min/100) 4th AG: My new AG is pretty big so our wave was split into two waves and I was in the second wave and we were the 3rd to last wave to go off so I had a LONG wait from setting up transition to when my wave went off. Thankfully my parents came to the race to keep me company, and get me water since I forgot I would need more than one bottle during the 3 hour wait time! The water was like 60 degrees so pretty chilly but it felt really good compared to the air temperature which was close to 80 and sunny at the start. I have been doing a good job at pushing the swim this season and results have paid off. I have seen results in the pool but riding in open water is a very different beast! Thankfully Lake Michigan was very calm, unlike Saturday when it was very choppy and had a good current going the opposite direction. I got a good start off of the line and I was off. There was one other person who left everyone after about 100 yards, he ended up swimming a 23, so I had no chance of swimming with him. I didn’t find anyone else to swim with which kind of sucked but I had an eventful time passing people from other waves. I got out of the water and heard my dad yell “26 minutes”. I looked at my watch because he had to be lying, but he wasn’t. This is my fastest swim by like 2 minutes so I was very happy with how the day started! I got to the wetsuit strippers to get my wetsuit off. I already had my sleeved Louis Garneau pulled up. I LOVE this suit because, not only is it more aerodynamic than a non sleeved suit, but it also protects my shoulders and upper arms from the sun!
Bike: 2:22:50 (23.9 MPH/232 NP) 3rd AG: I was really happy when I got on my bike because of my swim time. I wanted to really push the bike and show the bike fitness that I worked so hard on. I wanted to start off at around 235 watts then after an hour adjust and, hopefully, push it to 240. I thought that should get me a 2:15-2:20 which would put me in a great position. But that didn’t go according to plan. My right glute started to seize up at the start so I had to stop and stretch twice which cost me about 2 minutes of just stopping and probably another minute or so of soft pedaling and coasting. I wonder if that good swim ended up hurting me because I kicked a lot more and that caused my glute to lock up. I was VERY annoyed and disappointed because I did not want to struggle through this ride like I did at Ironman Wisconsin in 2012. But after about 15 minutes it relaxed and let me ride. But it still hurt and I couldn’t really push the way I wanted to.
The roads were not great but they were not horrible. The worst part of the ride was having to pass thousands of other riders. Normally that wouldn’t be so bad but some of the roads were so narrow and riders were passing others but going too wide and left no room for me to pass. It got very frustrating because some people were riding on the left all the time or riding and talking to others. I do not want to seem elitist or anything because I LOVE that so many people challenge themselves with events like this but I just wish everyone was aware of others on the course because things can get very dangerous with so many people on the course. Other than the roads and not being able to push too much I felt like I had a good ride, I got passed by two or three people but that’s about it so I figured I was going to be in good position after the bike.
Run: 1:22:15 (6:18 min/mile) 1st AG: I knew I would have some work to do after the bike but still figured I was top 5 in my wave, I wasn’t sure about the wave before me so I was a little bit nervous of what I might have to overcome. I heard my dad scream “4th place, 1 minute behind” so I knew I had some work to do but hopefully I could put out a good run and at least catch one of two of the others. The run was a bit hot and not very shady. It starts off with two short “hills” which aren’t very fun since you start off the run braking rhythm rather than working yourself into a rhythm. I was trying to look for the others in my AG. I remembered one had a red sleeved jersey and another had a white and blue kit so I was looking out for them. I got into a good feeling between severe pain and discomfort and the right amount of pain. I tried to hit every aid station to get in something but it got difficult at times because there were so many people on the road and the aid stations didn’t seem to be prepared for the mass amounts of people hitting the aid stations at the same time, it was not the fault of the amazing volunteers though you were all great!
I made my first AG pass at about mile 6 so I thought I was in 3rd at that point. What I didn’t realize is that I either passed someone without knowing or the other person was in the other wave. I finished the first lap and saw the other person in my AG about 45 seconds ahead of me. I also saw some friends which was great. It is a nice boost to see people you know on the course! I was slowly catching up and was confident I would make the pass but I wanted to make the pass with authority and leave no doubt that I was feeling good. But that was tough because I was in the hurt locker. I ended up making the pass at an aid station. He had to slow down to get coke and I moved to the end of the aid station. It was a bit of a gamble because I wanted coke but also wanted to make the pass. Thankfully it worked out! I kept the pace hot and kept pushing. Finally I hit the last mile and tried to give it one last kick to get as much time as I could. It was very painful and the way I felt at the finish was on the verge of me just falling over because of how tired I was. But I stayed on my feet and my parents told me I won my AG!
Finish: 4:15:53 1st AG, 28th Overall, and 11th Amateur: I am very happy with the end result of the day. Every race throws different curve balls at you and I am happy I kept my head during the bike when things got hard. But still disappointed because I know I have more to show! But now time to recover a bit then get back to training and get ready for the USAT AG Nationals in August! Thanks to my parents for coming to see the race, thanks to my fiancé for watching the race online and making AMAZING smores cookies for me to devour when I got home! And thanks everyone out there for following me and supporting my racing and training! And of course thanks to Snapple Triathlon and our amazing sponsors!