Since early December I have been putting in a lot a training to get ready for the racing ahead this season. After a good 8 week block I was feeling the training load in the legs but decided to give a sprint race a good crack just to see where I was at. Admittedly I knew I was fatigued going into the race but after winning the event in the past I thought that I would have a good shot at getting a solid result. The race is only around an hour by car from home and so I choose to drive down that morning. After setting up in transition and doing a short warm up I headed to the finish line to hand out the finisher medals to all the kids racing the KoolKids event. It is always good to see the kids racing hard as well as the smiles on everyone’s faces once they cross the line. It is a good reminder that we were all once first timers and the positive effects the sport of triathlon has on the kids.
With the temperature reaching the high 30s this was certainly going to challenge the competitors. Lining up on the start line for the deep water start I positioned myself towards the far right hoping for a clean line to the first turning buoy. Once the gun went off I had the clean start I was after and after a solid 400 meters or so prepared to hit the first turn buoy. Rounding the turn I managed to get tangled up in carnage and dropped back a few spots. The water was very warm and so I tried to keep my heart rate as low as possible and tucked myself in just behind the lead swimmers. Rounding the next turn I felt someone grab my feet and then pull me back in an attempt to move ahead. The swim was pretty intense and rough and I was happy enough to emerge from the water in 6th just 7 seconds off the lead swimmer.
Hitting the bike I was motivated to ride hard and establish a solo break which was a tactic that helped me to win the race last year. I had a small gap to make up in the first few kilometers of the ride, which I did without too much trouble apart from having one keen athlete decide he wanted to sit right on my wheel and use me to motor pace him back to the front group. Once I caught the leaders I proceeded to put the hammer down and move past the group with my goal being to put enough time into the other competitors as I could by the time we hit the bike to run transition. My efforts to do so were unfortunately not enough to get away as the group were all riding very close together and every time I tried to ride away I had the group sitting right on a wheel.
For what is suppose to be a non drafting race it is disappointing to see athletes disregard/ignore the drafting rules altogether making it next to impossible for a clean race. After putting in so much effort to break the group apart I was really feeling the burn in the legs and knew that it wasn’t going to be my day. Rounding the final corner I narrowly avoided one competitor who was riding right on my wheel, so close in fact that he rode right into me and almost caused me and him to crash.
I hit the run totally depleted and struggled just to get to the finish line. After such a big block of training and some decent fatigue in the legs the race went as expected however crossing the line in 7th wasn’t something I was too pleased about. However, that's racing and sometimes that is just the way it goes.
Looking at my power meter data I know that the body is in a good place and after 2 more weeks of training leading into my first half iron distance race of the season I can look forward to having what I hope will be a good performance.