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