70.3 US Pro Champs
April 03, 2012
I used to write quite a bit in the blogsphere. I lost some of that with TeamTBB. So, I am back and blogging, race reporting, etc. We said it before, but we are staying home this year. It is good to stay home. When you travel a lot it's tough and fun, but you also tend to lose some of your audience. That's not good for sponsors, family, etc. So, the hit out this year wasn't in Singapore or China or Thailand! It was in Galveston, TX. Truth be told, it was right down the road from true 'home'. A lot of pros would do well to have more of a local presence, especially for their bike, clothing, etc. sponsors. That is the approach that we have taken this year, but this blog isn't about that. We will expand on sponsorships later in the month.
70.3 Texas was the US Pro Championships as stated before. A very deep and very international field was assembled. There were some top US guys, but more suprising was the fact that a number of very top international guys came over as well. Not top international guys who live and train in the states, but top international guys coming over for just this race. Sebastian Kienle, Michael Raelert, Ronnie Schildknect, Stephane Poulat, and Marino Vanhoenacker were the ones expected to do the most damage...so to speak. Well, the most damage except for one Lance Armstrong who was expected to take a commanding lead on the bike! On the US side there was also Tim O'Donnell and TJ Tollakson. No disrespect meant for those I didn't name...myself included...but these were those that were thought to be the overall contenders. Honestly, for a US Pro Championships I kind of expected more to show, but with 70.3 California the day before I suspect some chose history over the championship. Either way you slice it, the men's field was very solid.
This report could get very long, so I'll cut to the chase and do a quick summary of my first real race of the season. The swim was an in water start, which I tend to like a bit better. Who to line up with is half the battle, but since we didn't have a turn for over 600 meters, there was plenty of time for the selection to happen. I had a good swim and settled firmly in the middle of the front pack. On the way to T1, I slipped and fell on one of the first turns, would have been a great photo op or slide into 1st if i were a baseball player. I hopped up and had lost a few places. On the bike, and I knew there would be challenges as there was no shortage of good riders, and my 10 second blunder already cost me a few spots. I rode solid, but rode within myself as I had a pretty well laid out race plan. Maybe it was a bit limiting, but the goal was to have a good race. A race that could be built on in New Orleans and then at IM Texas in May. So, with that in mind, I made a tactical choice, which in hind sight may have been a bit of a tactical error in not trying to latch on to the tail end of the front bunch. Their group was moving quicker than I was alone, and when Lance passed me it was decisive. That is when things got interesting as I could still see up the road...the coast tends to let you do that...see for miles, especially when there are NO TURNS after the first 1.5 or so miles of the course. As Lance passed the front group and appeared to move to the front, the 3-wheel moto with the camera was stuck out in the traffic lane and held up a line of cars. With a quartering headwind, the guys after about 2nd or 3rd wheel were probably getting a massive draft. I say probably as I was not receiving any draft at all, but was riding very solidly, even above what I figured I might. Apparently, once the road went down to 2 lanes and was closed, the front pack broke up with Lance predictably taking the lead. I was passed a few times, passed a couple of guys and came in to T2 after 57 miles in about 16th or 17th I would think. The main goal as stated was to have a solid race, and for me this meant a solid run. After 2 years of running barely even mediocre, that meant sub 1:20...which I knew was selling myself short. I wore a GPS for the first time. I was hitting all of my miles just a touch under 6 minute pace, which was right where I wanted to be. I kept on the gas so to speak and picked off a few guys here and there. With 1 mile to go Trevor and Josef were just ahead but I ran out of real estate. Under 1:18 and sub-4 for the first time in a long time. As mentioned before 14th place, official time 3:59:23. On the right track.
Racing the US Pro Champs was great. The course was less than spectacular, especially the run. Galveston is a cool city especially the SeaWall and Strand areas, running around the airport is not cool. But, it was spectator friendly. Racing in the same race as Lance was cool. He is a fierce competitor, but we all knew that. The 'Lance factor' as people call it does not change the racing strategy 'that' much. But, what it does change are some of the exterior influences as mentioned above with the motorcade. It highlights the need for more stringent officiating...not so much with the pro men as we do a good job...but for cars, press, and follow vehicles. It highlights the need, if possible, for a closed course, especially if it is a championship course. Overall though, WTC did not disappoint with the way the pro race was handled. From the pro perspective, things seem to be moving in the right direction. I was able to chat with Andrew Messick after the race about some of the challenges and responsibilities of professionals. It was a good chat. Just as we (professionals) like to highlight the 'need' for us to be treated as professionals by WTC, we also have a responsibility to act like professionals as well when it comes to race sign ups, withdrawls, press conferences, interviews, sponsor dealings, etc.
Thanks to the folks at VitaCost for the sponsorship this year. It is a sponsorship and partnership that we will highlight a bit more in the coming weeks. Thanks to our local team of AustinTriCyclist and PerformanceWellness. FirstEndurance, Soleus Running, CobbCycling, RudyProject, and RocketScienceSports are all providing us with product this year that will help us get to the finishline quicker. Highlights there to come as well. Lastly, as someone who coaches athletes, I found the need to find someone to coach me so that I could just turn my brain off and get the the work done. It's been a bit of an adjustment in trusting the program after a couple of seasons of mediocre results, but this first race was a step in the right direction. That's a wrap, and we'll be headed to NOLa in a couple of weeks for the next one. Some of the same suspects I bet will be there. Another windy, humid, hot coastal race.
Posted by Brandon at 2:10PM 2 comments