I am still trying to figure out the race from Puerto Rico. I had a great winter of training and have done the prep work necessary to be ready for non-draft races. This was the first non-draft of the year for me and I was hoping and expecting to start the season off well, instead I fell flat on my face, not literally but figuratively.
I was pretty anxious in the week before the race wanted to get it right. The travel to the race was simple, arriving on Friday afternoon and checking in only to realize that Alicia and I had been upgraded to a King Suite! It was nice to finally travel to a race with Alicia.
The race morning was simple, especially since the hotel was right next to transition. Alicia and I got everything together and jogged over to the swim start together and it was almost race time.
I started on the far right and got out great, right behind Ben Kanute and next to Andy Potts. Ben pulled away a bit and Andy and I both did not respond right away, so he got a small gap. I tried to close it once, but didn’t make any headway, so I fell back and sat on Andy’s feet for the remainder of the swim, exiting in 3rd place.
Transition was quick and simple and when I jumped on my bike my handlebars shifted down. I pulled them back up and looked for a mechanic, but started to ride. For the first 5 or so miles I nursed my handlebars over the bumpy roads not putting a lot of weight on them. I lost the front 4 guys during that time. Finally the mechanics drove by me and I was able to flag them down. I got them to stop and help me tighten my bars. I lost about another minute and in that time 2 more people rode by me. After I got back on the bike the next group of 6-7 people caught me 5 or so minutes later and I did what I could to pace off of them.
At this point I was going at or above my threshold and I knew that I was either going to blow up or have to slow down. However, I still felt good. I kept pushing the pace and actually rode my fastest 50 minutes I have done, but that came back to bite me as I slowed down a lot by the end.
The middle of the bike was quite annoying as the age groupers mixed in with us on lap 2, I had one age grouper #229 Cliff Drusinsky who I caught and saw him drafting off another guy, he jumped onto my wheel and proceeded to draft off me, then pass me, making me have to slow down to drop back to legal distance, I repassed him and he got back on my wheel. I turned around cussed him out to which he responded what am I supposed to do and my coach told me to do this (I know his coach did not, since his coach is a good friend of mine). It really pissed me off to see an age grouper purposefully drafting, not even one bike length behind other athletes and not knowing the rules. But hey that is our sport (call draft legal racing stupid and then draft in non-draft racing).
I finished up the bike and as I was heading out Alicia was heading in off the bike. I started to run and just felt horrible. I had blown myself up on the bike and I had nothing left on the run. I did not feel like it was nutrition, just energy. I cheered on Alicia, ran my half marathon. It was just a day that went downhill for me and I still do not know why. I am excited to be racing again on April 2 in Galveston and hoping that this one will go better.
It was however, awesome for me to be there as Alicia won the women’s race! She pushed hard on the bike and ran a very smart half marathon to bring home the win.