Monday, September 17, 2012

USAT Elite Nationals/ Buffalo Pan American Cup 2012

My first elite national championship race!!! Needless to say, I was pretty stoked and a little bit jittery to get on the stage and race for a national title (and U23 title as it was a race within a race). Unfortunately, my day did not go as well as I hoped, but I learned a lot about myself during this race that I can take away.
Pre race strategy with Barb Lindquist, go USA!

I had an absolutely terrible swim, and my goggles were kicked off nearly immediately as I slipped on the pontoon.  I managed to make the pack to the first bouy, but then in the scrum was on the back end, but the choppy water thrashed me around, and I ended up just off the back of the fourth pack getting onto the bike. I swam 20:43, which was about 45 seconds slower than the people I swam with in Magog.  I know this isn't a good indication of my swimming ability, this was just not a great swim. I hadn't been feeling great leading up to the race in the water, then the immediate loss of goggles didn't help the matter. I know I need to continue swimming with a group this winter if I want to close that gap to the front pack.

During the bike, I rode the entire race solo, I caught 5 or 6 guys on the bike, but they weren't able to work with me, so I got some work TT'ing my way for 41.5 km (slightly long bike) with 15-20 mph winds. This was tough, but I know that even 6 months ago, I wouldn't have been strong enough on the bike to do this. I would have been lapped out most likely if I was solo on the bike, but I am a lot more confident with my biking ability (which is good as duathlon World Championships are in 1 week in France!!) Rode 66 minutes for the slightly long course with wind, on a road bike, so a very very hard effort.  In this video above, you can hear the announcer say that I was really working hard, and I really really appreciated this plus the crowd support that cheered hard for me every lap.

Getting off the bike, I knew I needed to run fast to try and make contact with some people.  I didn't bike that hard to have a completely slow run, but I also had never rode that hard for an hour, so my legs were trashed. I just tried to keep a solid cadence and pick off people.  I ran with fellow collegiate recruit, Sam Holmes for a little, then was really just picking other guys off. The run was very windy again, and my split of 36:40 is not fast by any stretch, but coming off such a hard bike, I am happy. I didn't give up today, and I pushed through a really rough situation. I finished up my first elite national championship as 15th American, 27th overall, and 5th U23 athlete. Not what I wanted, but it's a start and a motivation for the future!

I am off to France on Tuesday for World Duathlon Championships on Saturday.  I am super excited to be racing a world championship race, with the likes of Tim Don and other very notable athletes.  I'll be looking to help the USA team do as well as possible, and with many former collegiate runners on our team, we should fair pretty well!

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