My last Olympic distance race of the year was at the US Open in Dallas (actually Rockwall) Texas. This was my 3rd race in a row and I was not sure exactly how my body would react because I have never raced 3 triathlons in a row but I was feeling pretty good going into the race. I was trying to balance my recovery with staying in enough shape to prepare for Clearwater.
After our pre race meeting on Friday we were treated to an amazing dinner provided by the host hotel. While we were waiting for the room to be ready for our dinner we saw a bridal party and we just assumed that the room that we thought our dinner was in was for the wedding. It was pretty amazing and I took full advantage of the fact that it was all you can eat. After that I was ready to race. I was also actually really excited to watch Kona the next day and at this point was thinking more about that race than my own. Sitting in my hotel room for hours watching that after my morning ride was a perfect way to relax. On the course ride that morning I went out with a large group of athletes and we rode the bike course and run course. The run course was a lot hillier than we all had expected and we were treated with a hill right out of transition but overall both courses looked like they would be fast. The one issue we were all concerned about was the fact that there was only one lane on the bike course. With the stagger rule for non-drafting races we were concerned that 1) it would be hard to pass and 2) that there could be some “accidental” drafting going on. (With the way my race went I did not have to worry about either of these…)
Race day morning I was excited to race against another strong field for the 3rd week in a row and I was also excited for my last Olympic distance race. I had a pretty good race in LA the weekend before (specifically a good bike) and I was hoping that a similar swim and bike could set me up in a really good position. That didn’t exactly happen. If I could have split my race into a half of each distance I think I would have had a great race. I had a good first half of the swim and was sitting right were I needed to be about 3rd or 4th in the front of the pack. Then for some reason when we turned toward the shore with about 500meters left I started falling back. Not exactly sure what happened but those last 500meters ended up putting me at the back of the front pack on the swim which with a slow transition put me behind a group of about 5 on the bike…(that was the group that I knew I needed to be in for my race to go as planned). I did all I could at the beginning of the bike to try to get on the back of that pack but just could not find my cycling legs and ended up by myself for the first 15miles of the bike until I was joined by Greg Bennett. At that point I started to get into an actual rhythm we stayed together into T2 but I was already a lot further behind going into the run than I had wanted to be from the main group. The run followed a similar pattern as the swim and bike and I had a decent second half of the run but really struggled to find my pace in the beginning of the run. This lead to me being passed by I believe 2 guys on the run and I only managed a 10th place finish.
My goal for the race was to finish in the top and by finishing 10th I achieved that goal. However, I believe that if I was able to race the way that I had in LA and also race the way I had been training leading up to the race that I would have been able to be much more competitive. I am excited to get in a strong training block and prepare for my last race of the season at Clearwater.