The Latest: Pacific Grove & National Champs

Posted on October 4, 2010

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First pro win!

I’m happy to report that on September 11th I nabbed the first professional win of my career. I’ve won plenty of races before, but this was the first in a professional-only field. The venue was TriCal’s Triathlon at Pacific Grove. An extremely beautiful part of California, it has instantly become one of my favorite races… mainly because I won. That wasn’t the story in 2008 when I became tangled up in a large patch of kelp during the swim and ended up with a disappointing 12th. Things went much better this time around. A full race report along with some photos are posted on xtri.com:

Pacific Grove Race Report on Xtri.com

Two weeks after this I headed down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for a dreadfully hot & humid Elite Nationals. I’ve struggled to race well in the heat all year, and unfortunately this race was no exception. Race day brought temperatures in the mid-90s with high humidity. Our race was slated to start at 2:15PM. Just perfect!

Several minutes before the start of the race we were called, one by one, down onto the starting pontoon. We experienced a 5 minute delay as someone spotted an enormous tree branch about 100 meters from the swim start. After they removed it we were ready to go. The gun went off and we dove into the 83 degree river water. I sprinted out hard and then got on a pair of feet as things began to string out on the long 700 meter straightaway to the first buoy. Midway through the swim I had settled in at the back of the 20+ man lead pack. I was very comfortable and getting a great draft, so I was content to sit at the back and conserve my energy for what would be a long day.

We all exited the water together and grouped up on the bike. The bike course was 8 laps with one decent-sized hill. The pace was volatile. At times we were coasting along at coffee-ride pace, but several moves were made, mostly at or around the hill, which caused our pack to string out as we chased down the breaks. On the 7th lap, as we neared the top of the hill and peoples’ legs were burning, Gavin Noble, an Irish athlete, attacked. I went with him. We hammered the flat at the top of the hill and then took the decent aggressively. We began trading pulls and building a small gap. We started the final lap with a 10-15 second advantage on the pack. I was hurting BAD. It was taking everything I had to stay on Noble’s wheel. I would pull through when he yelled at me in an Irish accent so thick I had no idea what he was saying. As we hit the hill for the final time, he dropped me. I was quickly swallowed up by the pack and so was Noble a few hundred meters later. Our break didn’t stay away, but it was a ton of fun to make a move like that in such a competitive field. Another small group that included Greg Bennett and Matt Reed built a small gap on the final straightaway going into t2. But everyone entered t2 generally at the same time.

As we got out onto the run I immediately developed an awful stitch in my stomach. It basically reduced me to a jog. I kept moving but was getting passed by way too many people who normally aren’t anywhere near me in a race. The run was a flat, 4-lap course. Towards the end of the 2nd lap I was in 18th place struggling to hang in there. I started trying different breathing techniques and actually stopped for a second to try stretch out the side stitch. It worked, and I felt like I was finally able to run. I began to re-focus on the competition and go after guys one at a time. I passed 5 guys on the 3rd lap and then another 4 on the bell lap to finish the day in 9th place overall, 7th American. It certainly wasn’t the result I wanted, but I was glad to end the day on a positive note, cracking into the top-10 and earning a paycheck.

Posted in: Race Reports