Going into the race, I did not want to taper too much as I have U23 Nationals in Dallas the first weekend in June. Tapering too often will just lead to multiple poor performances. It's a catch- 22 because you never want to perform below standards, but you also cannot always be at the top of your game.
The race was pretty stacked with the likes of Cam Dye, Andrew Yoder, Bevan Docherty, Brett McMahn, and many of the guys who were top 5 in Knoxville. I was happy to get a really hard race in two weeks out from Dallas.
|I am not gawking at Olympic medalist, I am just excited to race|
The swim was non- wetsuit for the pros (wetsuit for AG'ers) and I got a chance to try wearing a swim skin. Seemed to work pretty well except for the overwhelming compression on the "family jewels." Anyway, the swim went out pretty hard from the gun as a new pro with a killer swim gapped the field. I found myself behind the lead pack of 8 or so with only one person on my feet. As the lead pack moved forward, I could not get up to them. The rest of the swim was just me on my own with Chris Foster on my hip. Got out in 19:28 about 80 seconds back of Cam Dye, etc. Not a bad swim- much better than Knoxville, but still have a ways to go.
The bike was the best part of this race for me. While I still have not been able to swap my crank for a standard 53 tooth, I was limited heavily on downhills by my 50 in the front. I averaged 23.5 mph for the race- a good bit faster than Knoxville on an arguably easier course. I made every effort to not immediately let Chris Foster get away or Kalb VanOrt when he came past I stuck with him in sight for as long as possible. The only other person I saw was Jason Pederson, who dropped his chain twice while he would pass me- then chain drop. That was unfortunate but we eventually finished the bike leg together. 1:04:20 for 25.2 miles
The run was okay. I immediately got a side stitch that was not enjoying the downhills. The stitch was a killer until about mile 4, when I finally dropped feeling sorry for myself and caught Hunter (who had a monster swim) and closed in on, but didn't catch James Seear. 35:20 was not a good split, but many of the other runners in the field had off run days too on such a hilly course.
Overall it was an okay day. In such a stacked field, I was happy to be 13th at age 22, but I need to continue improving. I loved the course and will certainly be back next year.
Lastly, my "home stay" was really my family! I got to visit my Uncle and his wife and two kids, which was an awesome way to stay. My Mom and girlfriend came too, which made me feel pretty comfortable before the race, regardless of the outcome.