Clermont Sprint Season Opener

Posted on March 8, 2011

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My 2011 triathlon season is officially underway. I had an okay-at-best season opener at USAT Sprint Nationals. I ended up in 20th place (8th American). It was a full start list with 75 athletes mostly from the U.S., but South America and Europe were also represented well. In fact, the winner of the race was Greg Rouault from France and there were several Hungarians, Brits, and Mexicans in the top-20.

Me lined up next to some fellow Americans at the start

The swim was pretty peculiar. Because the water in Lake Louisa is so shallow we were all able to run for the first and last 100-200 meters of the 750 meter swim, virtually making the swim irrelevant. The guys that are typically poor swimmers were able to stay with the main group. We exited the water in one massive bunch and became one giant pack on the bike.

We might as well have just started out together on the bike -- that swim was pointless!

Coming out of the water I was in a string of guys about 30 seconds down from the lead. I got out on the bike and worked with a few other guys to bridge up to the front pack. The bike was four 5k laps, flat and fast. There was one technical section going through transition. The only crash I know of was on the first lap when some Canadian went down going around a 180. Once in the lead pack I recovered for a little bit and then tried to work my way towards the front. I was in the lead briefly and was 5th wheel coming through transition on the 2nd lap. However, towards the end of the bike I began to lose my position in the pack. It was getting sketchy as guys were crossing the center line in the road to try to move closer to the front. I had to tap the brakes a couple times to avoid crashing in the last few k’s. At any rate, I was much further back coming off the bike than I wanted to be.

I was somewhere in the middle of this bunch

I had an average t2 and started out the 5k run in about 30th place. The run was two laps, dead flat. I moved up about eight spots on the first lap and got one more place on the 2nd lap. Brian Fleischman was right on my heels coming into the finish but I was able to hold him off and take 20th place. In continental cups ITU points are awarded to the top 20 places, so I luckily snagged the last points spot (moving me up to 123rd in the world points ranking).

Me just passing Chilean athlete Filepe Vande Wyngard towards the end of the first lap

I expected to do a little better at this race, but it wasn’t a terrible result. With the top 20 guys finishing within 80 seconds of each other, I was still “in the mix”. I should continue to see big improvements over the next couple months considering that I’ve just started my speed work. Up next is a big 28 hour week this week, then it’s time to get some serious recovery before flying down to Chile on March 17 for my 2nd race.

Here is a quick video that Doug took. It shows the size of the massive bike pack I was in, and then a brief clip of me in the final stages of the run trying to hold off Brian Fleischman and 70.3 guy Maxim Kriat:

Posted in: Race Reports, Video