Thursday, May 26, 2011

Top 5 at MIM

Since I met Greg, he has talked about doing the Memphis in May Triathlon. Last year my sister, Karly, got married the weekend of the race so I was unable to make it.  This year I finally got my chance to race there, although the race was held at a new venue in Tunica, MS.  Lucky for the athletes, the race took place on the other side of the Mississippi River levee.  The race was very flat and very fast.  The area would have been great, but a lot of the restaurants and casinos were closed due to the Mississippi flooding.  As long as Mother Nature cooperates in the future, this race will become a must!  Even with all the weather related problems this year, it was a great experience and I am glad I got to race.  A big thanks goes out to the race organizers at start2finish for allowing the race to go on!

Pre-race – Kyle Lee, who is now part of Team IE, was here so I was excited to have a teammate in the race.  Our race was supposed to start at 10:30 so I woke up at 7 and ate my normal prerace breakfast.  It was pouring down rain, so I did not venture out early to watch Greg, Lisa, John, and Enrick race.  I felt bad, but at the rate it was raining I wanted to avoid getting soaked as long as I could.  At about 9 I headed to transition to set up my area.  After I finished setting up transition I headed out to get a jog warm up.  On my way out Greg was finishing so I stopped and talked to him.  About 5 min into my warm up, I saw Lisa on the run course so I yelled some words of encouragement to her.  After warm up I stretched in the hotel since the rain was still coming down hard.  At about 10:15 we had a meeting to see if we were going to get to race, since the lighting had started up about 9:30.  They said we were going so it was into the water for a little swim warm up.  About the time we were going to start they decided conditions were too bad to let us swim.  They were going to postpone the race up to 1 hour, after that they were going to cancel the swim and have a ride-run, not even a Duathlon.  They decided on this since they only had the police and volunteers until 1:30.  With all the waiting around I was starting to get hungry but I did not want to eat solid food so close to the race start.  I found Greg and he was able to get Hammer Gels for Kyle and I.  Greg saved me once again!!  Finally at about 11:15 it was race time!

Swim – Memphis in May is a unique race, in that the race starts in a time trail fashion.  The pros went off in alphabetical order, alternating men/women, every 10 seconds.  I went off about 6 minutes after the first person.  A time trial start for the swim was a very hard thing for me.  I am a very competitive person and I like being able to race head to head, but here I just had to swim hard and hope I could stay focused for 1500 meters.  I caught a couple people and I was happy that no one passed me!  I had a great swim and I ended up catching David Thompson at the end, he started 20 sec ahead of me.  I was feeling good and I knew I had just put together the best swim of the season!

Bike – Once out on the bike, Thompson went around me easily, and I knew there was no way I was staying close to him.  I used watts as my pacer and just settled in to my usual race pace.  I caught Michael Poole after he got a 1 min stand down penalty at about 5 miles.  I wish I was faster because putting up with him on the road was a hard task.  He swerved a lot and was very inconsistent with his speed.  This would not have been a problem, but the pro rules on the bike are very different than the age group rules.  At no point can you be directly behind the person in front of you, even if they are ½ mile up the road, and everyone has an imaginary draft box that you can only be in for 15 seconds.  This is where his swerving became a problem.  I did not want to get a stand down penalty because of someone else’s inability to hold a line.  I just road my pace and tried to stay a legal distance from him.  Coming in to T2 I had a great bike dismount and when I entered transition Greg was in there cheering me on!!

Run – Starting out on the run I could see Kyle so I figured I was doing well.  He started well ahead of me and he is a very strong swimmer, and a good cyclist.  The run was very painful!!  Greg and I have been messing with my position on the bike, to try and get more speed at a lower effort, so my back was not happy and it took a little bit for my legs to come around.  I had no idea how I was doing since everyone started at different times, so I just had to push to the finish.

Post-race – It was a tense few minutes waiting on results.  I felt like I pushed hard and had a good race, but it was so close, I was not sure where I ended up.  When the results came out, I ended up 5th!!  My highest placing as a pro in a non-draft race.  I was very happy with the result, but I later found out I missed 2nd place by about 35 seconds.  Things are getting better and I am satisfied with the fact that I am continuing to improve throughout the season.

A big thanks goes out to my mother and my grandparents for being at the race!!  And thanks to Greg and Lisa as well for cheering me on.  Greg’s booming voice and constant race updates always make it easier to compete at a high level!  I always have a great race when you guys are there!  My mother also drove Greg, Lisa and I down to Tunica, so she was a saint for putting up with us for the weekend!

Congrats to Lisa for winning the sprint on Saturday and the Olympic race on Sunday!!  By winning both she ended up winning the amateur challenge by about 3 min!  And Congrats to Greg for winning the masters title and ending up 5th overall!  Kyle had a great race as well, in his first ever pro race.  It is a big step up to the pros and he will only get faster as he gains experience.  Team IE once again had a great weekend!  Good Luck at CapTex Nicole!!  You are gonna rock!!

“Constant dripping hollows out a stone.”  ~Lucretius


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

St. Anthony’s Race Report

Kaleb and I just got back from St. Anthony’s triathlon this past
weekend in St. Petersburg.  Wow! What an amazing, world class field. I
have never been in such a deep, competitive field before.  With a
bunch of international folks and some of the fastest WCS racers on the
ITU circuit, it was certainly going to be a competitive day.  The
men’s race was even more ridiculous, with olympic medal winners and
ITU world champions in the mix- crazy!!  I guess that is what happens
with St. Anthony’s becomes double points for the Hyvee triathlon
qualifying process.

The swim was cut short to 1K because of bad wind and there was
certainly a bit of chop in the water.  The short swim was compensated
by a long 800m+ run to transition and we were off on the bike. Only
one word to describe the bike- windy!!!  Now I realize why cyclists
have tended to win this race in the past. Wow- it was a challenge!  I
am pretty sure I pushed higher watts on the bike than I have yet this
year in a race. I knew I had to push the bike more than I usually do
in this race and so I did it and tried not to even contemplate the
run.  I made a bigtime amateur mistake at the dismount and couldn’t
get my shoe off before the line- I ended up unclipping the shoe as I
practically fell over on the bike standing still on the dismount line,
running for a while in the shoe  and then stopping to take it off and
carry it- must have been hilarious for spectators to see this from a
pro- but, oh well- it is good to be humbled sometimes!! The bike ended
up as a 1:02:07 which I was very happy with considering the wind.   I
think my new profile 80 Altair wheels were the secret to keeping my
set up super aero on this bike.
 My friend Allison (hey Allison if you read this! =)) just purchased
these wheels too after I told her how great they were and we both
loooove them- I am sure Kaleb is super happy with them too, they feel
extremely fast and I am so happy that profile design is entering the
wheel market.  Anyhow, the run was HARD, I think because I had pushed
the bike a bit more that I usually do – the start was rough for
me….slooooww…but the funny thing about me is I always speed up as the
run progresses.  I am pretty sure I am always getting faster and this
is unusal because most people are slowing down as they get to the end
of the run.  My 5k splits were 18:30 and then 17:35 according to the
chip- pretty dramatic- for a 36:05 10k that was only 10 seconds off
the fastest run of the day and the $1000 run preme- bummer- but I had
the fastest run in south beach by only 2 seconds so I cant complain
too much- you win some/you loose some.  Overall I got 7th and 5th
american behind some tremendous performances from the competition. I
was very happy with the result and considering I am now second in the
hyvee point series I think I will hopefully by ok for a spot for the
big race come september after a few more 5150 events =))

Kaleb was an absolute super star, he finished 12th is a ridiculously
competitive mens field. Pretty awesome for a first year pro. Way to go
Kaleb!!!!!!! Great day (yet again!) for Team IE!!

Lisa Mueller and Jake Rhyner also deserve some huge recognition for
their 3rd and 4th place finishes at Duathlon Nationals on a super
tough course…wow!!!

I thought St. Anthony’s triathlon was really a top notch event and I
understand now why it is so popular and has such a storied history.
Althought I know everyone would have liked a 1.5k swim,  I admire the
race directors for putting the safety of the age group athletes first.
I know they will figure out a way to hold a 1.5k swim in the future
that will be safe no matter what the wind conditions.  After
paricipating in a race last year where an athlete passed away in the
water, I admire and respect those who had to make tough and unpopular
but right choices. The race personal seemed great and I know they will
have a safe and creative solution to this issue in the future.  Great
race in everyway- definitely going back next year now that I know
where the bike dismount line is =))

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stiff Competition at St. Anthony's

The best of the best showed up at St. Anthony's to gain much needed points for the 5150 series.  Nicole and Kaleb had great races on the biker friendly course.  A shortened swim, due to high winds, helped Nicole and Kaleb come out of the water closer to the front.  Nicole ended up 7th overall and Kaleb finished in 12th - securing valuable points toward Hy-Vee!  It was a great weekend for TEAM IE!! 

A big congrats goes out to Lisa Mueller, who made the podium, with 3rd place, at Duathlon Nationals!!  And Jake Rhyner had a great race as well to finish 4th overall!!  Congrats!