Saturday, March 16, 2013

Florida double to start 2013

Hey all!

Been a few weeks since my last update as I've been busy training, working at the motor control/biomechanics lab at Univ of Delaware, and TA'ing a few undergraduate classes! It's been a busy time, but I was excited to go down to Clermont and Sarasota, Fl to start the 2013 race season. I flew down Thursday, March 7th before Clermont continental cup.  I had a fantastic "home stay" at the AAA triathlon camp run by John and Jodi Hoovis. This place located just 20 minutes from the national training center in Clermont is a triathlon haven! They have all the facilities you could wish for as a triathlete, and a bunch of us were staying there between the races. After Clermont, I went to a home stay for one night, then stayed in a very shady $40/night hotel for one night as I went back to Delaware to speak at the Salesianum Sports Banquet. That was a really fun experience, and they flew me home for one day to speak there; what an honor! After that, I flew back down to Florida on Wednesday, stayed at the AAA tri camp that night, then down to Sarasota on Thursday. This trip was quite the whirlwind.

I also must say I've met some great friends over this trip. Others with me at the AAA tri camp were Connor Murphy, Lawrence Fanous, Andrew McCartney, Jonathan Rodriguez, and Graham Leitch, as well as the Portuguese National Team, and a few others for a day or two. So many nationalities staying under one roof made for a really fun time. 


I landed feeling fairly sick and honestly lacking the competitive edge to race my best. I had a headache and just felt drained in the two days leading up to the race. Once the gun went off for the swim, I was immediately behind Sam Holmes, who had a great start.  I tried to keep composure and swim my heart out! This year, the swim was an actual swim and felt on the long side (as if the swim legs aren't already long enough!). I exited the swim in okay position, but it was only my third swim in a wetsuit in the previous 9 months, so I was not as prepared as I should have been (my fault!).
10:20 was my official split and I was a few seconds down to the chase pack, but still ahead of the third pack.
The bike went well. My group caught Andrew Starkowytz and I was certainly hoping being an uber biker, he could TT us up to the front. He was not feeling well, so we were eventually caught by the third pack.  I can say there was some shady riding by one person in our pack who almost caused a crash, but thankfully the rubber stayed down!
The run was very "meh." I was happy to finish the slightly long 5.3k in 17:13 (or about 5:14 pace). I was just happy to have the first race out of the way.  A few people that I know I am better than beat me, but I can only use it as motivation for the future.

After a few days, I flew home to speak at my high school (Salesianum) for their senior sports banquet.  I was super honored they wanted to hear my story and it was great to be home for one night.
I wore a different kind of "suit" for this! No lycra.

The next day, I was back in Florida and rejuvenated and ready to race Sarasota.

The swim was a pontoon start with some fast swimmers including my fellow home stayer Andrew McCartney, Tommy Z, Joe Maloy, and Lucas F.  In essence, they broke off the front, a solid pack of swimmers was about 20 seconds behind them, and then about 40 seconds back to a pack of runners.  I came out of the water just in front of Nicholas S and Kaleb VanOrt, who I knew were strong cyclists and good runners as well.  I figured we could work together nicely
We had begun to suck packs up in front of us and we were really flying. We caught three or four small packs and eventually became the main chase pack about 1:45 down on the leaders! Looking at my garmin, we were averaging over 26 mph for the first 15 miles.
I am the one with the green lid in second position.  I found I was able to hit the tangents really well and keep my speed up, which definitely made others hurt a bit if they tapped the breaks coming into the turns as they needed to sprint to get out. Thanks to my mom for getting the vid!

Then disaster struck, as I was coming through transition, just past the wheel station, I pinch flatted my rear tire. After not causing a crash, I had to figure out what to do. 2 laps to go, and I figured I'd ride as hard as I could go. Riding a clincher with 19mm tires that are flat doesn't work well.  All the hard work and awesome positioning I had done came to nothing.  It's super frustrating for something like this to happen, but it is part of this sport, and I can take a few things away from it.  I am biking strong, and I was right in the mix to put together a top 15 finish.  I definitely could have secured a spot for U23 worlds but I was not able to run after a long 10K with no air in the tires. I should have done a few things in retrospect such as putting caffelatex in the tires or putting training wheels in the wheel stop (although I had passed it and would still have ridden 5k before being able to access it).

Onward and upward! After this dissapointment, I want to show that I am in shape and am a world class athlete.  I head to Barbados next month for the Bridgetown continental cup to make up for lost chances here- and I will remember this to fuel the fire.  That's all for now!

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