Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Last Race Clearwater 70.3 Worlds
After a very full season and a lot of new racing for me I was excited to do my final race of the season here in Clearwater. I had a lot of confidence coming out of my race at Xterra worlds and was rested and mentally fired up to race hard.
Being my first time doing a WTC non drafting 70.3 world championship I approached the race in a conservative way and looking to see how things would pan out. I had a solid swim considering the lack of swimming I have done over the last month or so. The large blocks of swimming earlier in the year for the world cup schedule has seemed to hold over very well. I exited in 5th and quickly moved through transition and headed out onto the bike with the main front group.
Through the first 15km of the bike I felt like I was doing a world cup again, the difference being we were all slightly spaced out but there must have been a line of 30 men in a row trying to stay 10m apart. Guys were continually moving and shuffling up and down the line. The pace would go up and down and I focused each time on not being rushed into bridging gaps but gradually accelerating. This large group stayed together for the first 30km or so and then a few started to pop off the back. I felt really strong and controlled and over the next 20km the group started to break up and it was at this point that I made a move to pass four guys to stay in touch with the front group.
It was here I learned the finer details of the WTC rules. As I got to the front of the group on the left side in the passing lane the last guy decided to put a serge in and not allow me to pass at the same pace. I pushed hard for a while but didn’t want to have to complete the pass by getting out of my saddle to sprint by. I then decided to move back into the legal draft zone 10m back. It was here that the motorbike pulled up and flashed a red card and gave me a 4min penalty to be served in transition before the run. I didn’t complete the pass so I think it is either considered blocking or not completing a pass and had I known I would have gotten a penalty I would have sprinted finish the pass I guess. Oh well, live and learn. While I was being given the penalty and number taken the gap ahead only widened more and once I refocused it was too hard to make up the gap. So I continued to ride well and came into the transition with a group of 5 or 6 about 2 minutes down.
I then stood in transition for 4min anxiously waiting to put my run shoes on and get going on the run and see how many spots up from 18th I could go. I had felt great running all week so I went out with confidence and hoping to bring back the field over the second lap of two.
The first 5km I concentrated on rhythm and being relaxed as I couldn’t see anyone ahead and Peter Robertson and Simon Thompson were both just behind me. At 5km in there was a turnaround that I was first able to see who I could reel in. The field was spaced out so I began picking them off. I tried to put in as many 5:20 miles as I could to move up and at halfway was in 13th. I continued to put in consistent miles and with 2km to go I had run somewhere into the top ten and there was one more spot up the road. I dug deep and counted off 50 strides on each foot till I caught the last guy in sight at 1km to go and I put my finishing serge in.
Coming across the finish line I was exhausted and hot but I had moved up to 8th from 18th and averaged 5:26 miles for the second fastest half marathon at 1:11.36. Had I not had the penalty I would have run onto the podium like Andreas Raelart from my bike group. And if I had been able to bridge the gap the front group I would have had challenged for the win.
Looking to next year I now know I have the ability to race for the win! And know the rules that much better!