I was traveling alone from Boulder for my last race in the States before returning to Europe for the month of July. I got in on Friday in my cozy and good looking Bed&Breakfast. It was 2.5 miles from the race site and right next to Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania campus. That implied good dining opportunities!
On Saturday I went out on the bike for a little 50′ spin. The course is pretty fun, with flat parts and little loops into harder sections, hilly and technical. It was a good mix. And all of it was surrounded by tall, old, healthy green fluffy trees.
So I was excited for that course, even though Cam Dye was racing. We went out with Brooks Cowan another PRO athlete for an easy 15′ swim at the U Penn pool. Pretty relaxed day. Then in the afternoon we had the pro meeting where the girls and in particular Alicia Kaye were asking many questions about the swim because 2 years ago 17 of them (the whole field?) got disqualified because they missed a buoy on the swim. On the other hand the guys were pretty chill as usual.
Our start was at 6:30AM! Early start. I had to wake up around 4AM. I rode with all my gear to transition. I had a new strategy for my race warm-up this time to try and remedy some problems I had in previous races. At the beginning of the bike segments, my gluts and quads were usually burning abnormally, which obliged me to start too slow, and usually do the whole bike too slow. So I thought it was just a warm-up problem. This time I warmed-up mainly on the bike, 25′ of riding before eaving my bike into transition. And it really helped.
We had to take a bus to go to the point to point swim start. After a decent start I found myself in open water in between two “packs” on either side. I went to the right where Andy Potts and Cam Dye were. However they had a few seconds on me. I was pretty much onto their feet but the guy in front of me dropped and so through that I dropped. We exited the swim 25″ back.
After a swift transition I was alone chasing the 4 leaders. I caught 2 of them in the first miles and I could see Potts in the distance. Cameron Dye was unfortunately already gone but I think i was riding well. After the first loop Mark Bowstead caught me and he was riding very well. I stuck with him 95% of the second lap and we almost caught Potts. In the last few miles I slightly dropped and entered transition 20-25″ away.
I tried to start the run fast as usual. After a mile or so I didn’t feel very good and slowed down. At that point I was fourth and I thought I couldn’t catch them in front. They were 30″ away. A bit before mile 3 I started to breathe better and I felt much better. I started really pushing it. I was telling myself there is no way I am doing fourth. If I have to literally sprint to catch them ahead I’ll do it. So I pushed and around mile 4.5 I caught Mark Bowstead and Potts wasn’t too far ahead. Mark was running well and I struggled a bit to drop him but I was delighted to end up third 12″ behind Potts and another 10″ or so in front of Mark.
Cameron Dye was another 1’30 ahead (I don’t know the exact times), he really crushed that bike.
Right now I am writing from the clouds with in flight Wifi with US airways. Thank you very much for another 200$ in bike fees!! It makes me so mad!
I’ll be heading back to France next week to race some ITU conti cups. The first one will be in Holten NED beginning of July.
See you soon!