Sarasota ITU Pan Am Cup Sprint Triathlon – Back in the Mix!

March 10th, 2014

At the finish with my friend Frosty and Nick

Finishing this race felt much better than last weekend’s Clermont ITU Sprint Pan Am Cup. Well, it felt as good as you can feel after going full-throttle for about an hour. I even got the chance to see how I compared against the top guys in the field by putting myself in the fight. Aside from a few simple errors, my race went smoothly and I stacked up pretty well. I was well hydrated and nourished by good foods and liquids leading up to the race that day. My meals consisted of: Coffee, Plant-Based Energy bars, green juice w/ beets, sweet potato and butternut squash mash (w/ almond butter, coconut oil, walnuts, and cinnamon), coconut water, bananas, and green tea. The weather was perfect at 2:30 in the afternoon, in the low 70’s with some slight wind: excellent racing conditions.

Taking our positions on the pontoon

I warmed up in my wetsuit to keep myself from getting cold like last weekend while we stood in the athlete holding area waiting to be called for starting positions. On the pontoon, I found a great position next John Rasmussen who is a very talented all-a-rounder, but a notably great swimmer. I wanted to give myself a better chance to get out front during the mad dash after the start and not have to fight as many people. My plan worked, but John quickly pulled away after the first 100 meters and I did not see him for the rest of the race. My swimming felt much smoother and more powerful than in Clermont and warming up with the wetsuit definitely helped. It was like a warm-up up with a weighted bat. For the most part, I stayed with the pack except for letting a 10 second gap open up at the 500 meter mark. I was slowly able close that gap near the 700 meter mark when we turned at the last buoy to exit the water.

On your mark....Go!

My first transition was only held up by the trouble I had snapping my helmet, but I dashed out of there like I was a man on fire since there was a big group of people about thirty seconds ahead. I was determined to catch them this time and not have to solo bike ride again. Five other athletes and I worked for one and half laps to bridge the gap and catch the second bike pack. I probably could have held in there for another half a lap but not much more. With the side-wind, I was getting exhausted. Once in the pack, I took a good half lap to catch my breath and drink my Osmo Nutrition. I then made my way to the front to help do some work. By the end of the third lap, I put in a good effort to pull a couple of guys about 5 seconds ahead of the pack to see if anyone wanted to try and make a breakaway. But little did I know, the bike course was only three laps and not four. I was caught a little off guard when I saw the other athletes start to take their feet out of their shoes. I even questioned if someone was making a mistake but I looked around to see everyone doing it, so I decided to join in.

There goes Rasmussen. I'll see you at the finish.

With my little surge, I came off the bike in a great position, probably about 10th overall in the race. And with my run usually being solid, I thought I might be in for a good finish. I was a little unsure as to where my bike was supposed to go since there were only a handful of bikes in transition. I usually come in to T2 and most of the athlete’s bikes are racked which makes it easy to find my spot. But, I quickly recognized my running shoes and racked my bike with no problem. However, as I shoved my foot into my shoe, I could not get it in for some reason. Oh crap, my shoe forms! In between races I always store my shoes with shoe forms to help keep their shape, but I had forgotten to take them out when I was setting up my transition. So it took me about 10 seconds to take them out and store them properly in the bin. At least I had entered transition at the front of the bike group, because it gave me a good buffer to at least be able to exit at the tail end of our group. My run was solid, much faster than last week, but not good enough to make up the places I had lost. I ran through a few competitors, but the other 15 competitors held me off which meant I finished in 25th place. For those unfamiliar with ITU style racing, the difference between 15th and 25th was on 40 seconds, that just shows how tough the competition is.

Darn those shoe forms!

I was a little disappointed at first, but I quickly changed my attitude when I analyzed the entire race. I couldn’t just focus on the few small mistakes I had made. My teammate, Nick Chase, had a much better race than last weekend too. This race was a success and at least I was back in the mix of things.

Great race as always.

I am fortunate and honored to race for the US Military Elite Triathlon Team, part of US Military Endurance Sports. Racing and training is effortless and made possible by the following USMES sponsors: BoeingSnapple,ScottSRAMPrimalAmerican ClassicOsmo NutritionHoney StingerHeadsweatsRudy ProjectsXterra Wetsuits and Schwalbe. I’m thankful to be serviced by and involved with my local bike shop, Jack and Adams Bikes. Team Sterghos also includes VasaSable Water Optics, and Total Immersion. I’m Coached and trained by Tim Crowley of TC2 coaching. Finally and most importantly, at the end of the day my heart belongs to Heather.