Race Report: 4th in Eagleman

Before Quassy, Rinny and I had decided to drive down to Eagleman the following week.  So after the race, we packed up and started driving. We stayed the first few nights with the Wassners (thanks!) and then drove the rest of the way down to Maryland.

I felt sore the whole week – Quassy really wrecks you – but I still felt like I had a good amount of energy, so I wasn’t sure how Eagleman would go. I was excited to race there again though. The race organizers always do a great job.

Early in the week, I had to change out my back tire. It was my only spare. I noticed later that my front tire had a bubble in it, so I had my wife bring another spare out with her when she came in Friday. After getting covered in tire glue, I successfully changed it out on Saturday. I had to wait for it to dry so didn’t bring it for a test ride until around 8pm. Then I noticed my back tire seemed a little flat again. I was hoping I was just being crazy, but as 9pm rolled around I noticed it was even flatter. So I had a late night panic and called around to see if I could get another wheel. Then I had to once again tweet to the world that I needed some help. Twitter works pretty good for that kind of stuff. Thanks everyone who helped out with that. Jerry Nista, the race organizer and Jason Bolles both showed up with a wheel for me, which was awesome.

I’ve been trying to figure out how not to have the breathing problems I’ve been having in races in my swim lately. My plan this time was to not wear ear plugs, only wear one swim cap, and start out conservative rather than hammer the first few hundred meters of the swim. I’m happy to say that it worked. No breathing problems in the swim. I came out of the water with Crowie and Bennett and not too far behind David Kahn, who is an excellent swimmer.

Bennett took off on the bike hard and Crowie followed. I lost them pretty quickly as I just wasn’t feeling all that good on the bike. Around 25K, TJ rocked past me. At that point I was doing the math and it didn’t look good. If he passed me there, he was going to put a lot of time into me by T2. The whole bike just felt crappy.

I got into T2 where my wife told me I was 5 minutes behind Bennett and 6 minutes behind TJ and Crowie. I knew I would have to work hard and hope for someone to bonk to catch back up. I pushed it hard for 6 miles, where I saw the leaders at the turn around. At that point I lost some hope. It looked like no one was going to bonk and I hadn’t gained enough ground on them to catch them. I ended up finishing the race in 4th, which I was satisfied with. Last year, that would have been a good placing for me. Congrats to Crowie, Bennett and TJ. They all had impressive races.

Now I’m home and had a few days off. My achilles has been bothering me for a while now so since I’m not racing for a few weeks, I’ve been having the psysios and my acupunturist Christine a.k.a “Needle Nazi” go to town on it. After this rest, I’ll be starting a new block of training focused on Rev3 Cedar Point in September.

Race Report: A Win at Rev3 Quassy

Since January I’ve really been focusing on Rev3 Quassy. Over the last 4 years I’ve really just sucked there and I wanted a good race. It’s always been one of my favorite races. It’s a hilly, challenging course and always attracts a very strong pro field. Going into this weekend I was excited to finally be there after all the hard training I’ve done.

I shared a room with Joe Gambles, which was a lot of fun as we kept everything low key and had some good laughs…especially when he puts his ballerina tights on – quite kinky.

The day before, I was stressing a little as it pissed with rain. Come race morning we got really lucky as the sun was out and it wasn’t that chilly. The lineup on the start was interesting as two of the fastest swimmers chose the far right. I chose the left hand with Barny and a few of the other strong swimmers. The first 200-300 meters of the swim felt great. I was in a great position just off Barny’s feet, which is where I wanted to be – he’s one of the most consistent front pack swimmers in the sport. However, after a couple hundred meters, I went through the same breathing difficulties as I did in Knoxville. This really kicked me in the ass as I thought the last time was just a one-off thing.  I found it really hard to breathe and I don’t know what it’s from. The only different thing I’ve done in the last 2 races is wear ear plugs, so I’m hoping it’s just that. I had to do 10-15 meters of backstroke just to get my breathe under control. I don’t know if I’m getting too much or not enough oxygen.  At this point I dropped off of Barny’s feed, which cost me about 15-20 seconds into transition :). I still managed to come out of the water 5th but a little down on where I wanted to be.

I chased hard for the first 5k on the bike and managed to catch Brian and most of the leaders. I could see that Barny had flown off the front but I also knew that Joe and James were behind me and would come flying past soon. Once Joe and James had caught up, we settled into a great pace and after 10k we found ourselves riding pretty much alone. We managed to catch Matty just before the long climb. Going into the hill, Joe put in a solid surge, which luckily I was ready for because I was planning on doing the same thing. Half way up the climb we managed to catch Barny. At that point, group consisted of me, James, Joe and Barny. I knew the rest of the ride was going to be extremely painful with those guys riding so strong. Going up the last hill into transition, James opened up a small gap of a couple hundred meters, which he held through transition.

It was great going onto the run with Joe as we’ve done a lot of training together and I know how strong he is. Even though we were chasing hard, we didn’t manage to pull back any time on James over the first 6 miles. I was feeling really good on the hills and I started to pull back James after that. I managed to bridge the gap to the front around 11 miles. I just wanted to keep running at my own pace. Knowing how strong a runner James is, I was hoping that I’d be strong enough to get rid of him. Fortunately, the last mile is uphill and I’d been doing a lot of hill work and I knew I’d be strong on the closing mile.

I can’t say enough about how excited I am to win Quassy. It’s been a huge career goal for me and really means a lot. Rev3 has been an awesome sponsor of mine for 3 years now and has put on many of my favorite races. To win their big race is a great honor. I couldn’t have done it though without my awesome sponsors. I really have been privileged to use the best gear in the industry. My Kestrel 4000 is the first bike I’ve ever felt fully comfortable on. TYR, no question makes the best swim gear out there. I’m super excited to be back with Pearl iZumi. If you haven’t tried their uniforms, training gear or shoes, you really should. It’s on another level of quality. Recovery Pump has been the reason I’ve been able to up my training to another level. I never feel as sore as I should after a hard training day and boots session. Shimano’s DI2 came in especially useful on a hill course like this, where I can shift gears while climbing. PowerBar – I’ve always loved their gels and Rudy Project – thanks for making me look cool while racing :) No bright green helmet this year though – I decided to rock the green sunglasses instead.

Congrats to James and Joe on another great race at Quassy. They are always a huge threat in every race.

And big thanks to Joe and Troopy (Lee Troop) for all the run sessions.