Monday, April 20, 2009

1st Place Tri the Rim Triathlon

This weekend marked my second win in a row, but it wasn't the easy home victory I had hoped for when I decided to race the annual Tri the Rim sprint triathlon here in Durango back in February. Following my weekend in Montana, and subsequent road rally to be back in Durango for work on Monday, I felt a bit off. I pushed through a swim and run on Monday, but by the evening, I knew I was losing a battle to some kind of bug. The week of training was less than perfect with my energy mostly sapped from the cold, but I jumped in a 5k on Saturday to get some speed in and PR'ed with a 16:04. I would have liked to break 16, but given my coughing fits, I'll take it. That left only the triathlon on Sunday, so I awoke to the second beautiful day in row and headed up to the college to see how the body would hold up.

The swim was a bit chaotic, with 3 people circling in a lane, but I survived and led out with a small gap. As soon as I mounted the bike, I was pushing the lead out even further, coming into T2 after a bumpy, curvy ride with about 2:30 on the chasers. The run was a combination of trails and pavement around Fort Lewis, and I did my best to deal with the excess mucus and heavy legs. In the end, I won by a bit over 3 minutes, but the coughing spell that it brought on made me question whether the effort was in my best interest. I don't have an official time yet, but I think I came in just under 54 minutes, so I'm happy given the circumstances (we'll see if it qualifies for a new course record). The luxury of having my own bed pre-race isn't something I will experience again for quite a while, and I couldn't have asked for better spring weather. Race season is here in force!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

1st Place Grizzly Triathlon

Every year I head north to race in the Montana World Championships, which is known to outsiders as the Grizzly Triathlon. I did my first triathlon in 2004 as a sophomore in college, racing against Matt Seeley and coming 2nd by about 19 seconds. Determined to be the all-time most winning triathlete at the event, I keep going back to defend my title, see friends, and recall my life when I lived in Missoula. This year was no different, and despite having heavy legs after my first big effort of the year in New Orleans, I hit the road with my sister helping drive. We were only able to spend a couple days in Big Sky country, but it was good to return. I spent the weekend at my coach's house, met with friends, ate good food, and raced to my 4th straight win in a time that beat last year's effort by a mere 2 seconds. Improvement is improvement, I say, and given the way my legs felt on the run, I was happy with the punchy effort. Almost immediately after collecting my 5th rock, I packed up the car and rallied back to Colorado. Thanks again to everyone for putting on a great race, sporting hilarious costumes, and to my sister for taking time off school and helping log a rediculous number of miles on my trusty car for the sake of racing for less than an hour.

Missoulian article:

5th Place Ironman New Orleans 70.3

Alright, y'all, here's the report from my trip down to the bayou. Sorry about the delay, but I've been on the road for a couple weeks now.
It started off with a quick drive back home to meet my parents and fly out of Grand Junction. Since they were doing their fist half, we planned on getting down there with plenty of time to adjust and get things set. We didn't plan on winds that essentially shut down the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, so we got in around midnight despite our best intentions. Friday was typical pre-race packet pick-up, course preview, and some sightseeing around the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area. We stayed with a good family friend who works as an ER doc in Baton Rouge, and he joined the crew as a participant in the triathlon. As always, having a local give the tour (especially with regard to Katrina related fallout) was far better than piecing a short vacation together by myself. After dropping bikes off on Saturday, we finished putting gear together and got to bed for an early morning.
Race day morning saw light rains, but temperatures in the low 70's. The water was cool enough to allow wetsuits, but close enough to the cutoff that I anticipated a toasty swim. The wind started to pick up right around our start, but the water remained calm. The course allowed for some strategy, with the option of following the shoreline or buoy line. I stayed closer to the center and chased feet, holding onto the lead pack through about 400m, but I lost contact shortly after. There wasn't much excuse, as the rest of the swim was pretty easy sitting on Chris McDonald, but swimming in triathlon at the highest level is about extending the amount of time you can hold on in the beginning until the pace comes down some, and I just lost contact after the initial effort. Up ahead, a group of three had established a little gap on the first chase group, and we ended up about two minutes down. The swim felt a touch long (as evidenced by times), but I took to chasing immediately and felt good finding my rhythm almost straight away out of T1. I passed Justin Park, gapped McDonald, and went around a few others before making contact with the main chase group at about mile 22. I could see that TJ Tollakson, Chris Lieto, Chris McCormack, and Brent Macmahon were all riding hard in front of the main pack, so after riding with the group, I decided that we needed to pick up the pace and minimize losses to the leaders before the run. I went around my group with about 16 or 17 miles left, and although the wind was mostly straight at us at that point, I looked back and saw that nobody had followed. As it turns out, Brandon Marsh was the only other person to make a move, so I was about a minute up on him and two minutes up on the other 7 guys into T2.
Normally I put socks on for a half-marathon, but I had a feeling that this race could end up being close between several athletes, so I opted for the fastest transition I could manage and hit the run course to extend the lead I had over the pursuers. I felt pretty good into the first 3 miles given the effort on the bike and the first half-iron of the year, catching TJ Tollakson without much trouble about 1.5 miles in. I only held 4th for a short time before Tim O'Donnell cruised past on his way to the fastest run of the day, but I got it back around mile 5.5 when I passed Chris Lieto. As usual, Chris was supportive, and he cheered me on to go catch McCormack, who was apparently fading. I kept on the gas through mile 9, seeing nobody on the long straights, and finally my legs began to refuse to continue at the same level. Combined with the aid stations being at 1.5 mile intervals instead of every mile and the rising temps, I started to melt a little. I fought hard down the last long straightaway, but didn't have the gas to match Luc Van Lierde when he came around me with about a mile left. I turned the corner into the heart of the French Quarter and a large crowd, taking a moment to enjoy my effort and the atmosphere.
Of course I would have liked to hold on to the 4th position, but I'm happy with the result for this early in the year, and it supports my decision to take a month and train in Tucson this winter. My time was good, breaking 4 hours with a 3:57:42, especially considering a long swim and possibly long run. Post-race was great, with a big seafood meal in the traditional Louisiana fashion, including alligator, various types of boudin, crawfish, shrimp, potatoes, and corn. We planned to get out on the water in our host's boat, but winds and cooler temperatures made it unappetizing. Maybe next year...

Saturday, April 4, 2009


The new TT rig, ready just in time for New Orleans.