Tuesday, May 19, 2015

French Creek Triathlon: Win and a CR

In the professional side of triathlon, 'times are a changin'. While a few years ago, olympic distance and half distance racing had prize purses in many series (REV 3, 5150, etc.) but as of this year, the number of races with prize purses has dwindled further to some Challenge half distances, ITU events (where one must be doing well in a world cup to break even), the full distance ironman events, and then some local races. My friend, and fellow professional triathlete/race director John Kenny, put his money where his passion is and put up a decent prize purse for a local triathlon. Because of this, I decided to race here at French Creek (1 hour away) versus Challenge Knoxville (9 hours). In the end, I ended up winning, setting a course record, and volunteering at the kids race the day before. It was a great event and I would love to see more local races putting up small purses and using local pros to their advantage (volunteering, clinics, etc.)

Here is a little recap of the race.

Swim: 18:17, 2nd behind Pierre, a solid triathlete with a swimming background from University of Pittsburgh. I tried to hold his feet to the best of my ability, and we ended up putting a solid gap into the rest of the field in the two loop swim. He exited the water 6 seconds in front of me.

T1: 35 seconds and got out on the bike course first.

Bike:1:11:50, fastest split. The bike is a hard and hilly ride. About 2400 ft climbing during the 24.6 mile leg. My race file is here: https://www.strava.com/activities/306585561

The course is two times out and back with two significant climbs/descents each direction. I saw a speed >50 mph on my garmin on one of the downs and was happy with that. My plan was to go very hard up the hills and recover a bit down but keep spinning my legs and stay very aero. I saw by the first turn around, I had about 2 minutes on second and then 4 minutes at the half way mark. I felt like I eased up the second lap a little but was only 10 seconds slower. I came into T2 with ~9 minute lead

Run: 36:20, fastest split by 3 mins. To try an elucidate how hard of a course this run is might be a job better suited for a dramatic poet. You climb and climb and climb for 4 miles. When you think you will turn around, you continue on a fire road path to the top of a small "peak" at French Creek around 1100 feet (Transition is 300 feet). I saw that Philly Pro Tri teammates Zach Smith and Luke Davis were in 2nd and 5th, respectively and was pretty pumped to share the podium with friends.

The other positive of these local races is representing local sponsors that help support triathlon. Kevin  McCauley from Square One Investments (not only spectated, but took all of these pictures!) and all of Team Philly Pro Tri were at the race, which is fantastic as I am supremely thankful for their support.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spring 2015

I have not updated this in awhile, and I attribute that to racing not going very well and a general lack of time to get training and triathlon related things done in the winter, which caused a lack luster spring.

This winter and early spring, I had some great life related things happen: I defended my masters thesis, got accepted into a PhD program at CU Boulder in the Neurophysiology of movement lab (along with my girlfriend) and have submitted two papers for peer reviewed publication. This has however, left my triathlon and running times a bit behind. But, it is turning around!

I started with a very early season race, February 1st, in Punta Guilarte, Puerto Rico where I placed 13th, but I was really out of the race after a poor swim in big chop. I believed I was in good shape coming off a strong January but the swim was decisive and the race went down hill from there. I opted to not race Clermont/Sarasota continental cups due to a general lack of fitness as they were right around when my thesis defense was. Instead, I raced a road 5k (15:12) and two track races that did not go so well. It is interesting how a poor race can have two results: either motivate you or depress you. My first race of the year in Puerto Rico was the latter, and I was down on racing and traveling far to compete. I even took a week off riding and had very low numbers otherwise during February. After getting many academic obligations accomplished, my last track race at Penn Relays did the opposite. I was disappointed with my time, but the next day I was motivated. I put in two really solid weeks (and had been training pretty well for the 4- weeks prior). I had a fresher perspective on training and wanted to race with the goal of mentally and physically putting myself on the line. That is what I always have enjoyed most about racing, the sheer pain that brings the satisfaction of a job well done.

I raced Delaware Half marathon on Sunday, 5/10. I had a bit of pressure as defending champion, but there was a stellar field with Mo Trafeh's former training partner, Ryan Lee, Darryl Brown, Daniel Hoyne, Dave Berdan (1:05 half guy from Baltimore), and a couple of younger guys that were running well. I had been mostly displeased as a result of not really putting myself out there in races and was determined to change that trend today. I wanted to rattle the cages, stick my nose into the race, and get a lot out of myself. On a hot and (99%) humidity day, we went out in 5:04 with two africans, 15:25 at 3 miles and 26:10 at 5 miles before the hills really kick up. While I couldn't hold pace with Youffif, Dan Hoyne and I ran together until mile 10, where he put in a solid move that I could not counter. The difference today was that I put myself in that position to be up there, where in previous races I have not. I am excited to keep this trend up.

I race next weekend at French Creek tri followed by Challenge Williamsburg, Philly Tri, and Challenge St. Andrews. That brings the season to July, where I will be moving to Boulder and will reevaluate what races to do once I get settled in.

I want to thank my mom for cheering at a 7 am start on mother's day! and Melissa for coming by. Also, I am so thankful for sponsors for 2015: Square One Investments, Philly Pro Tri, PowerBar.