JP checks in with two final race reports closing out his 2013 season. Well done, JP!
Race #1: Lake Havasu HITS Olympic distance
Swim: Got off to an amazing start with some dolphin diving and fleetingly thought I would lead the whole swim. Marc Rinzler came around me and promptly ended that delusion as he proceeded to embarrass me. I swam strong and long through the two loop course with heaps of dolphin diving that helped break up the monotony. Overall felt good but the time was [not good]; 23:19 or thereabouts which is not up to snuff. Marc was well up the road and I was sitting in second.
Bike: Got down to business quickly and once my glutes had settled down, I was motoring. The road was absolute crap. Loads of cracks, sand, and chip seal. Lots of hairpin turns that I tried to take at speed, channeling my inner Tony Martin. Sadly the speed was hard to come by. I also have a confession...I drafted a jeep for about a mile. I couldn't come around and didn't want to hit the breaks... so I just sat there at 37 mph shamelessly drafting. Nothing really to say but, "Sorry." Once the Jeep left, I settled into a rhythm trying to pull back time on Marc. I saw him at the half and he was 3/4-mile up the road. I took 2 minutes out of him but to get within a minute. 59:30 - 2nd bike course record in as many races. To be fair, only two races on this course but I'm claiming it as Paul Amey raced here last year. Looks like he soft pedaled but I don't care.
Run: No run training had me nervous for this. I got into it and tried to find a nice stride. It wasn't pretty but I was moving alright. Still couldn't see Marc as I desperately tried to turn it over. The cadence is pretty bogged down right now. Coming out to the turnaround I spotted him not too far up. We both started doing the math and the numbers weren't looking good for me but maybe. I put in a huge surge through mile 4 to see if I could close but it wasn't to be. I dug but the effort caused me to pop. My pace slowed as my hair started standing on end- not a good sign. I headed around the course and gritted it to the line. 37:47 I think.
Overall time: 2:02:4x for 2nd overall
Post-race: Overall pretty satisfied. Very unhappy with the swim time. I guess it's time to address that in training. The bike was very good compared to the field but the road and course made it slower than I was looking for. Either way, the bike is right on the money now. The run was a surprise. I would have thought something around 39 but to duck under 38 was nice given my run mileage is probably less than 30 miles for the last two months just due to niggles. My weight is low though so it's allowing me to fake it a bit. Anyways- onward and upwards. HITS also put on a good show. Great transition areas, low key feel, excellent prizes (I got a bunch of swag including 2 pairs of sunglasses) and a solid venue. Loved it.
Race #2: Palm Springs HITS Olympic distance
Swim: The day started out a bit brisk shall we say. Temp was around 40°F with water temp around 56-57°F. Needless to say, I was hesitant to do a swim warm up. I decided to skip it and wait for the gun. The swim was two loops and looked to be a little long. I sized up my strategy as we waited for the gun. We were off! I ran along the shore, did several dolphin dives, and realized I was in the front by about 50m... unreal. I held the lead for another 300-400m before I started getting passed by everyone and their mother. The theme of the swim was noodle arms and loose core. It was probably the worst I have ever felt in a swim but somehow I managed to come out in second.
Bike: I relaxed as I hopped on my Quintana Roo CD0.1. I knew my trusty bike wouldn't let me down. After I got on the road, I realized my legs had showed up to the party despite nearly every other body part being numb. My goal was to push VERY hard on the bike for the first half and then take stock on the out on back. I jammed through the flat roads and tried to juice every ounce of speed I could. The roads were rough and they sapped the speed by about 1-2mph in contrast with the smoother roads. I hit the turn and headed back looking for second place. I checked my watch and had 2 minutes on the next guy. I decided to turn the screws and see if I could balloon my lead. My go-for-broke biking hasn't let me down this year so I rolled the dice again. Headed into transition, I felt alright and was confident I had boosted my lead.
Run: Again, very little run training had me a little nervous for this portion. The one saving grace is that I have lost a lot of weight with my increased cycling so the decrease in weight has helped me keep my run speed up and offset the lack of training. I set out running 6 [min/mi] flat pace and tried to keep my foot on the gas. Each mile felt agonizingly long as my breathing was bordering on out of control. I couldn't believe I was still leading!
I hit the turn around and finally looked back. NO ONE. I ran back and took stock. I had a 4 minute lead over the next guy...but he was literally flying. I recognized him as an ex-collegiate runner and knew my lead wasn't safe. I ran scared shitless towards the finish. I kept asking people if anyone was coming and the answer kept being no but I didn't trust them. I only relaxed 200m before the line when I saw Caitlin who told me that I was well and truly clear. I finished off with a 37 mid 10k.
Post-race: Overall I was stoked with the win. It was probably my best win to date as I took it to a couple ex collegiate runners and spanked them handily. My swim was absolutely horrible. I didn't take a single good stroke. It was a bit too cold. The bike was dialed in as it has been all season. I put 4-5 minutes into everyone and blew the race wide open. The run was a slight improvement and polished it off. It wasn't anything to write home about but not a surprise and did the job.
Huge thanks to Evotri's sponsors for another great year and wonderful support. The biggest thanks to Caitlin who is a legend in her own time. She is an unbelievable spectator on race day. I love sharing these races with her and hanging out during the race weekend. One of the main reasons I like racing now is because it's a good excuse to hang out with my best friend and love of my life.