|Desert International Triathlon
La Quinta, California
Klein | Clark Sports
70F / 21C
Triathlon – Olympic
Total Time = 1h 17m 42s
Overall Rank = 0/763
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 0/74
Ashley and I made the drive up to Palm Desert on Saturday afternoon in time to make the swim practice. This was going to be Ashley’s first International distance race and first real mass start open water swim. I definitely wanted to get her in the lake the day before. As for me…same old same old at Desert Tri. Running injury is forcing me out of the run for the second year in a row. I will do the swim and bike and garner the valuable experience and information from those two legs and then gracefully bow out in T2.
We woke up early to make sure we could get a parking space in the main lot and have plenty of time to set up our transitions. Mine was super simple with no run gear. So I spent the rest of the morning helping Ashley get set up and talking with a few of the billions of friends that were at this race. Got to meet my main sponsor Sean Wattie of Wattie Ink and also his SO Heather Jackson. Great, great people and I’m super excited to be on the Wattie Ink Elite team this year. I also met up with some of my teammates as well. Almost the entire Fortius crew was out there..Ashley’s team..who we are great friends with. I want to also give a shout out to Jeffery Ku and Scott Chaney’s new Volt Multisport team. Jeff and Scott are good friends and they are trying their hand at coaching and have assembled a spectacular team in just about a years time. Awesome to see them and see that their team is doing well.
We were allowed to get in and swim for a bit before the start. Ashley and I headed down to the water to get in and get acclimated. There were people everywhere and Ashley’s anxiety went through the roof. She could not get in and get her face wet. The cold, unfamiliar, super crowded lake proved to be too much for her and she decided to pull the plug. I think it was the best decision. I think more people could learn a lesson that when you are not ready, you are not ready and rather than force yourself into a potentially VERY dangerous situation, it’s better to just call it quits and come back another day. Ashley is a fantastic swimmer but she has been swimming for less than a year and has almost zero open water experience. We will continue to work on her swimming, open water swimming and confidence and get her back out there when she’s ready.
After making sure Ashley was ok, I headed back out to get a few hundred yards in. Arms felt great and energy was good….all set.
|00:17:32 | 1320 yards | 01m 20s / 100yards|
|Course:||Very Calm Lake with a triangle like swim course.|
As usual, the sun was coming up directly over the first buoy. You absolutely could not see anything all the way to the first turn. I started off quick but not sprinting. I wanted to try and hold the feet of the lead pack for as long as I could. I knew who the top three guys would be and lined up right beside them. I also knew that I probably could not hold their pace for the entirety of the swim. That’s ok. I swam this leg exactly how I would have swam it had I been doing the whole race. I lost contact with the lead pack after a few hundred yards. I was still swimming straight into the sun…so I knew I was on course…lol. Literally, as long as you can’t see anything, you’re going in the right direction.
After I lost contact, I was pretty much on my own for the rest of the swim. I just concentrated on keeping my turnover up and maintaining a good taut body position. I was also sighting well and swimming pretty straight. Came out of the water two minutes faster than last year and, looking at results, made some good progress against my competition. That’s really the standard that matters. Courses can be different year to year…
Nothing…great swim. Over the next year or two, I want to be connnected with that lead pack.
Good transition…I didn’t rush and actually moved kind of slow because I knew I wasn’t contending for position. It was a little painful running through transition bare foot. My ankle needs support and running barefoot really hurts.
|00:58:44 | 24 miles | 24.52 mile/hr|
This was basically a TT for me preceded by a swim. I set out to ride as fast as I could and leave it all on the course. This is actually a very difficult thing to do when you are so hardwired to save energy for your run.
I wanted to start off a little easier than normal and use this opportunity to practice proper pacing. I was talking to Ashley’s coach the day before and we were discussing how it’s very hard to get power up in a sprint tri because it is so short. IMO, you need about 10-15 minutes for the legs to start working before you can comfortably start putting down some good power. This is precisely what I did. I didn’t even look at my power for about 15 minutes. I just road comfortably hard for that time until I could feel my legs and glutes start to get comfy. At that point, that’s when I started to go. I picked up the pace steadily until about halfway and then just tried to maintain.
I felt great and power numbers were fantastic. I was ~26 seconds faster than last year. Which doesn’t sound like much but with the course being so flat, small gains are very hard to come by. For example, I estimate that had I paced this to be able to run, probably ~15-20 watts lower, I would only have given up about 30 seconds. This comes from my time last year which was ~20 watts less…yet only 26 seconds slower. Again, wind conditions may vary and course conditions can change, but it gives you an idea of what my time might have been had I paced it differently.
Came into T2 and I was done. FWIW, I came into T2 in 3rd place.
Obviously I would have paced different if I had to run…but I wouldn’t have done anything different given the situation.
Nothing…sat there for a second
Thanks are in order to all my sponsors. First off to Wattie Ink. I’m so proud to be a part of the Wattie Ink Elite Team. It is a fantastic opportunity to represent some great team sponsors and have that team camaraderie at races. For a list of team sponsors head over to wattieink.com. Also, my personal sponsors, 101 Pipe & Casing, Kurt Orban Partners, Third Pillar Racing and Wins Wheels.
Special thanks to Ashley. Even though she had a hard weekend, she kept her head up and supported everyone around her like nothing happened. I told her in the water before she decided to pull out, “I’ll love you just the same, no matter your decision” and I meant it. She has an unbelievable support structure built around her and I have no doubt will overcome this obstacle…like she does with everything else in her life.