On Sunday I finished 19th in HyVee. Not a result to be desired, nor one to be proud of. The reality is I'm getting slower at Olympic Distance, and the excitement is no longer there. Partly due to the priority of half-distance racing in my schedule, and partly due to the serious lack of apathy on courses and formats in the Olympic Distance circuit.
HyVee is a race you want to do because the money is so good. It's a 100k win. This was my 4th year of running in the race, & I've always gone by the philosophy that you can't not enter the race if you have the opportunity. I think I will now bury this mantra unless they actually bring the romance back to this race. It's a reality that I'll never win this race, I've always known this. I'm just simply not a fast enough runner, nor do I want to put in the work to get my 10km run fast enough. If I wanted to do this I would still be doing ITU racing. The unfortunate thing is non-drafting racing is no longer a true swim/bike/run test with terrible courses like the one we were dealt with on the weekend. This race has nothing left but money. No excitement, not even a Twitter feed of updates during the race. I don't do triathlon because it pays well, I do triathlon for the fun and the competition.
So without the litany of excuses and negativity above, here's what happened. I have to mention the swim start because it was really really botched. They have fireworks just before start during the US national anthem. After they had placed us 'in the starters hands', someone lit some more fireworks. Whether it was a mistake or intention is hard to say. I was one of the few ran in the water thinking that was the starting gun, and there was a split second of awkward flailing into the water realising I had false started. It was at that point the real starters gun went off. I was lucky I had an unintentional advantageous position heading into the swim because I felt like absolute balls. I was in the lead from the start but was hoping for someone to swim around me which unfortunately never happened.
Out of the water, we had a longish run to transition. I was on the bike in 3rd position I think, with the feet quickly in the shoes trying to peek through the open nose piece of my fogged helmet visor. Two things were certain, Cam Dye was riding away quick and the bunch behind me was forming. The flat nature of the course immediately bunched everyone up, only someone the ability of Cam was able to stay away. Many times attempts were made by athletes to fly off the front, but all were checked. Nothing more to report here that hasn't been said.
I was off the bike in second position, hoping the run legs would come. I've been training great on the run, but have done very little work at Olympic pace. I don't like to make excuses when I'm racing though and always expect myself to be competitive. I was pretty shattered when I was swarmed by more than a dozen athletes out of T2 as a top 10 was hard to imagine from this point on. I battled on hoping to feel a second wind that never came, crossing the line with heavy legs in 19th.
The goal was always more set on Tremblant as the sun continues to set on my Olympic Distance ability. Which each race like this I do I looked forward to a half and full distance career. My average on the bike ended up being 297w, wit,yh last 70.3 at 303w. It's like the bump in intensity takes me down a notch from my threshold. Eyes are on the prize in Mont Tremblant, but with no expectation other than to put myself in a position for a good result. With this kind of field, it's hard to know what a good result will be, top 5 or 10 sounds nice, but we'll see what happens. If I end up doing a flier off the front again, just know I'm in a much better shape than last year, and I've actually been training to race like I did in Vegas. Allez...