Race Report: Rev3 Wisconsin Dells – 1st

Driving into Wisconsin Dells I was blown away by how many water parks there were. I think I should have come for a holiday instead of a race. I think there were more watermarks in a 5 mile stretch than in the entire country of Australia. Every hotel seemed to have a water theme park coming out of it. For any age grouper who has kids, I think this would be the most awesome race you could do for a race/holiday trip.

A couple of days leading int o the race I was a little bit nervous – after Portland I decided to do Vegas, so I’ve really been training hard the last 5 weeks. Even though I tapered properly for this race, I felt like I still hadn’t recovered 100%. It showed in my fantastic swim. I’m sure someone put a hill in  the swim course. That was one of the toughest and slowest swims I’ve ever done. I think I was over 2 minutes down from Leto, Marsh, and Hadley.

Before the race I was a little stressed it was going to be really cold. The cold sometimes can kick me in the ass and I don’t race very well. However, after the first 5 miles of the bike, it wasn’t really a factor at all.  Much like the swim, I didn’t feel that great on the bike. Luckily I had Pellow and Palmer with me who were riding hard. After about 20 miles we were able to catch Brandon and James. We could see Leto in the distance so I wasn’t too worried about him getting too far ahead with some of the big climbs coming up. Once we caught Leto, the pace steadied out and everyone rode solid to transition.

I decided to hit the first 2 miles of the run really hard as I didn’t know the form of some of the guys who were with me. Luckily, my run legs were there and it didn’t feel anything like the bike or the swim. Strange how that tends to happen. Going through the 3-4th mile, I don’t think I’ve ever felt better running, so I decided to really push the rest of the run and hopefully get a good hit-out for Vegas.  The run course was tough and challenging but a really cool course. Secretly, I was trying to get the 1:11 run time, just because my training partner Joe ran that a few weeks ago in Vineman and if he does it then I have to do it too. The last two miles bit me in the ass. They were a little hillier than I expected..so I ended up with a 1:13.

Congrats to Kyle and Brandon for 2nd and 3rd. Also congrats to the Rev3 girls – Jess Meyers and Mailaka Homo for finishing 2nd and 4th.

Next stop is Rev3 Maine. Back to the olympic distance. Hopefully I can find a little speed in the old legs.

Thanks again to my sponsors. The Kestrel 4000 once again came through for me on a day when I was hurting on the bike. Riding a bike that really suits me helped carry me through the tough course. I couldn’t wait to get in the Recovery Pump when I got home as my legs were killing me. Rev3 puts on my favorite kind of race courses. Also thanks to TYR, Powerbar,  Rudy Project, Shimano and Pearl iZumi.

Race Report: Rev3 Portland – 1st

After getting home late Sunday night, I was looking forward to a couple easy days. However, my slave-driving wife made me finishing digging the entrance to my basement. So I spent 3 days digging holes and moving bricks. I think this smashed me more than the race did.

But anyways, the race. I was excited to get back to Portland this year. I knew Rev3 had changed the bike course – they added 2,500 ft of climbing and I love hilly courses.

I flew in Thursday night with my wife. Lucky for us we have some house guests who were willing to take care of the dog and chickens while we were both gone. Thanks Terra, Pat and Megan! Friday morning I drove the course with Barny. At first it didn’t seem so bad, but half way through we got into the serious hills. I knew this race was going to hurt, but was excited for the hills. They are a lot like the hills I train in in Boulder. It was definitely going to be one of the hardest bike courses I’ve raced on.

Race morning was a little chilly but not enough for a wetsuit swim. I felt pretty crappy the first half of the swim. I was fighting off the breathing problems I’ve been having, but managed to avoid a full blown attack. I felt better the second half of the swim but came out of the water 40 seconds down on the front pack. Coming out of the water, I tripped on the step and banged my knee. What a gumby move. However this made me super angry and I plowed through transition and started hammering the bike. Tripping probably ended up helping me catch back up to the pack.

Barny, who came out in the front of the swim took off on the bike. He had a good 45 seconds on the group in front of me, which included: Brian Fleischmann, Terenzo, Kyle Leto, Andrew Russell, and O’Grady. I managed to catch the group at the start of the hills. Instead of settling in with the group, I decided to bridge up to Barny. I knew if he was able to open up a big lead he’d be extremely hard to catch.  We then held our lead of about 45 seconds through the hills. At the turnaround, with about 6 miles to go, I saw that Jesse and Jordan – two of the big threats in the race were gaining on us. I hadn’t put nearly as much time into them as I thought. That made me angry again. I really didn’t want to start the run with Jesse as he’s one of the best runners in the sport, so I put my head down and smashed the last 6 miles of the bike. It paid off as I managed to get about a minute into them. I have to thank Kestrel that I was able to pull that off.

Going on to the run, I heard that I had about 1:50 on Jesse and about 1:30 on the rest of the guys. After about 4 miles, my wife told me she thought Jesse was at about 1:30, so I knew he was gaining on me. People kept telling me he was there after that but I never got any splits, so I didn’t know how close.  At the turnaround at about 8 miles, Jesse had pulled back a big chunk of time. With about 4 miles to go, I realized he was getting really close, so I put in a hard mile around mile 10. Then I went back to maintaining my pace. Jesse put up a hell of a fight. It was one of the hardest battles I’ve fought in a while, but I managed to hold on for the win. Congrats to Jesse for a great race. It seems to be every time I race him this year it hurts a little bit more.

I’m super excited to get another win in a Rev3 race. The field of athletes is always amazing and I had to fight hard. I couldn’t have done it without my sponsors – Rev3 of course. RecoveryPump is always a huge factor in my training. Also thanks to Kestrel, TYR, PowerBar, Rudy Project, Pearl iZumi and Shimano Pro DI2 for the support and awesome products. And finally, thanks to the Boulder Track club for all the run sessions.

If Lance is successful with his lawsuit against USADA…

If Lance is successful with his lawsuit against USADA, what power will they have left to keep the sport clean? Can they still come to your house and take your blood or will that be classed as harassment in the future? Stay strong USADA.

***After reading some of your responses, I wanted to add this to clarify what I am trying to say:

Let me make it clear – I am not accusing Lance of anything. It’s not what this issue is about. What I am trying to say it is USADA’s sole job to enforce a 100% no drug policy in sport. If that means going back in the past to INVESTIGATE athletes who may have doped based on the information they have, then so be it. He may be a nice guy or a former champion or a legend in the sport, but that is totally irrelevant. Cheating is cheating. And just for the record – he is a current athlete. He is racing as a professional triathlete. Also, the guys who allegedly got deals, all admitted guilt. It’s not ideal, but the concept of a “plea bargain” is pretty common in the US law system. So what many of you are trying to say is that because it’s in the past it shouldn’t matter. Does that mean I don’t have to pay any tax for this year and once I hit next year I’m in the clear and it’s all forgiven? 1. It’s in the past. 2. I’m not hurting anyone. Does that make it ok? USADA is just doing their job. Don’t forget, he’s only under an investigation. No one has proven him guilty. Maybe this investigation comes back clean, but it’s USADA’s right and duty to investigate.

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.

Race Report: Rev3 Knoxville – 8th

Although I’ve been training hard for the 70.3 distance the last few months, it’s always fun to come back for the Olympic distance Rev3 Knoxville race as it’s one of my favorite courses. We got extremely lucky with the weather. The Saturday was very wet, but race morning turned out to be perfect.

The swim was a little on the chilly side, which allowed us to wear wetsuits. I positioned myself next to the good swimmers at the start with Brian Fleischmann and Cam Dye.  I started the swim hard and found myself in a good position next to Brian after the first 100 meters. Then all of a sudden it felt like someone hit me in the chest with a sledge hammer. I don’t know what caused it but the next couple of minutes were probably the worst feeling I’ve ever had in a race. I had a massive anxiety attack or something. I don’t really know what it was. I just found myself unable to breathe and panicking that I was going to drown even though no one was touching me and I was in a great spot. It was a feeling I’ve never had before. I tried to concentrate and work my way through it, which seemed to make things worse. I managed to get through another 100 meters and then I just completely freaked out and I had to get out of the pack. I made a b-line for where I thought the safety boats were as I was sure I was going to drown. When I got out into the open water, luckily I didn’t find any safety boats there because I would have DNF’ed the race. That’s how bad I was freaking out. I let a bit of water down my chest and in my wetsuit. By the time all this happened we were coming up to the first turn can. I put my head down and started swimming again. By this stage, things were starting to calm down and I was able to breathe again, which unfortunately didn’t help that much, because the adrenaline rush caused me to go lactic and bonk. I managed to drag myself through the rest of the swim. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to get out of the water.

Starting out on the bike, I still wasn’t in that bad of a position, however I was still having trouble getting going again. David Thompson and Matias Hecht went bombing by me in the first 5k. Normally I’m able to hold these guys but I was feeling so shitty that I got dropped. After about 15-20k, things started to come good. I started to get a bit of energy back and feel good. I managed to work really hard the last 20k on the bike and catch back to the main group a few miles before transition.

Heading out onto the run, I didn’t feel bad at all. There was a small group of guys to run with.  I found myself in a good run battle again with David Thompson. It was a little bit of deja vu as we had the same battle last year. I managed to run down a couple of guys. I had to dig deep in the last 1k to get rid of Matty Reed and Thompson. In the end I ended up 8th, which was better than the drowning I was sure I was going to have earlier in the day.

Congrats to Greg Bennett and Kelly Williamson for their wins. I’m looking forward to the next stop in the Rev3 series: Quassy.