Monday, April 30, 2012

Race Report: Try Charleston Half

I figured I had better write this up now since I have another half iron-distance, 70.3, 4:xx hours of pain, or whatever you want to call it race coming up in a few days. I know if I get behind on writing the report, it will never get done. So here it is short and sweet.

I did not taper for this race. The Thursday and Friday before I took it a bit easier mostly due to a nagging sore throat and not great sleep before. On the way down, I was doing my best to ignore the scratch in my throat and be positive. I woke up race morning feeling pretty normal. My allergies have been murder this year so I was hopeful that was all it was.

A very special mention goes out to Andre Bennatan at Kiwami USA. I had been scrambling getting graphics and sponsors lined up and sent him everything on Monday before the race. By Thursday my suit (the best in the world Amphibian Prima!!!) was printed and waiting for me at the hotel. I can't speak highly enough for the customer service and the quality of products. Thanks again Andre!
Swim: 34:00

So disappointed with that. I've really emphasized swimming in my training and from about November through the end of February I was swimming 4-5 days a week. I've lopped off a good 10 seconds per hundred and finally I'm not wondering around like a drunk person looking for my locker after every workout. 

The start was normal enough and swimming in the open category I knew everyone would be much faster than I was used to. I  felt like I was ready for that. The first lap was good and I was holding feet fine and then for some reason I lost the feet of the person in front of me. I then swam the next lap pretty much on my own. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to get into a rhythm on my own that is too slow to be competitive. That's it really. Let's just say I swam below my potential.

Bike: 2:10:30

Immediately onto the bike I was not super comfortable. It wasn't my position, but it felt like someone had punched me in the right inside quad just above my knee. The legs were turning over but didn't feel super powerful. At this point I wasn't super confident about how things were going to go on the run so I just tried to hold between 270-300 watts and see what happened.

Apparently, on a not great day for me, the fastest bike split of the day happened. The next person was around 3:00 back and then third fastest split was around 5:00 back. One thing I noticed on the bike, was there were a couple of "packs". One I passed and the other one was the group of leaders who had come out of the water together. The winner, Patrick Farwell, was a bit off the front of this group. To me drafting is no different than cutting the run or swim course. Obviously that is not the case for everyone.

In the end I had an average wattage of 270 which was about 20 watts under goal. I think my position is dialed in since almost 26mph for a 6'4" guy on that wattage is pretty darned fast. Super fast wheels courtesy of  Industry Nine didn't hurt either. On bike nutrition was handled by CarboRocket Half Evil Endurance Fuel along with some salt stick caps added to the mix for extra electrolytes.

Run: 1:38
My plan was to try to run a 1:30. That obviously didn't happen. The rough feeling legs on the bike continued on the run and despite a few fast early miles I went into survival mode. It is funny to me now that last year I would have been happy with 1:38, and this year it is a survival run. 

I started the run in 5th or 6th position and then got run down by 8 or 9 people. That's not much fun. In the end I still PR'd with a 4:25:58. I was shooting for 4:20 or better. 

Final: 14th Overall and 1st Open Master Male 

Post Race:

Jenn and I spent the next few days relaxing in Charleston. We stayed in small neighborhood right off of King Street. The nice part, besides being away from home and relaxing in a nice place was the $14 pitchers of margaritas and $1.50 tacos at Juanita Greenbergs. We also discovered a bunch of new restaurants and perhaps the best burger I've ever eaten. If you get a chance try the burger at HOM, you won't be disappointed.

Next White Lake. Or as it is affectionately known, White Bake. It looks like it is going live up to it's name. After and unseasonably cool last couple of weeks, White Lake is turning up the heat to a forecasted 92 degrees, just in time for the race. Wish me luck, hopefully I won't be seeing dead relatives like I did last time I was there...

Thanks to my supporters: Jenn (aka the wife), Kiwami, Industry Nine, Jus' Running, Motion Makers Bike Shop, Carbo Rocket, iDaph Events, EarthFare

Friday, April 6, 2012

Together We Will: Be Part of Something Bigger

Last weekend, I was reminded that success has many forms, and it isn't just about personal success. One of the best things is to be part of a winning team and contribute to that success.  I've been writing this in my head for the last four or five days during every one of my workouts. It is pretty much the only thing I've been thinking about.

I've been away from real bike racing for almost nine years. I've raced some in the last two years, but on Sunday I felt like a bike racer again. I rode well and smooth and avoided falling down. The entire race was on feel and the power was there when I needed it.

The course is one that I've done many times. I've won there, been in breaks, been the last guy in a successful lead out train there. In short it was kind of like going home again.

None of that really excited me though. If I had been racing solo, I probably would have gone home and simply chalked it up to a nice training day. What excited me was to be a part of team performance that exceeded expectations and sent a shot across the bow of all the other teams in attendance.

Our Earth Fare/ Industry Nine team, one that I have had a stake in building, came together and raced like a well drilled machine, not one that had only really done a hand full of races together. It was just simply amazing to be part of a success like that again. I would say that we rivaled the team work of the last team I managed.

One Step To Go.
Our team captain Evan Fader led by example and initiated the break and our young South African rider Tim Jenkinson rode like a seasoned pro (not someone riding his first Pro 1/2 crit)  by taking a free ride across and then slaying himself for Evan in the break.

The rest of the team was then able to sit in the field and let other teams do all the work. In the end we didn't win just barely being beaten to the line by a Bissell pro rider. But two podiums in one weekend shows that we have a team to be respected. I know much more success is to come.

I think that is the essence of a team. When someone on your team wins, you win with them. It doesn't matter who it is crossing the line as long as the jersey is ours. That is so often lost with so many other so called "teams". You can't fight each other for leadership as there are different leaders on different days. I know that  any of these guys will turn themselves inside out for a TEAM victory. They also know that one day their time will come as well.

Earth Fare has a slogan "Together We Will", I think this weekend the team lived up to that slogan.

Coming soon to a race near you!