My swim start was strong even though I was wedged on the end of the pontoon with a concrete wall forcing us inward at 75m. I managed to get out ahead and on good fast feet and avoid being crushed into the wall. I then hit a strong rhythm and was in the front 12 by 100m. I held that position at the turnaround at 400m and was able to relax and not build any lactic on the long 1100m stretch to the exit. In the last 400m I felt strong and moved up a few more positions and exited the water comfortably in 8th.
I then had my usual fast transition and got out onto the bike in 4th and quickly got into a smaller group of 10 or so. Unfortunately there was only a couple of us willing to work to try and increase the gap so the group behind eventually caught up followed by the rest of the race in the next lap or two. I then focused on staying at the front to stay out of trouble but also to be available for any break away opportunities. In Lance and I's more conservative then aggressive race strategy, I wasn't going to initiate an attack, but should something present itself I would attempt to get in a break.
I saw only one solid opportunity present itself when two men were away and Ivan Rana decided to break for it. I felt strong enough to let him go until he was half way across and then I made the bridge across to Ivan. We caught the front two while a line of guys chased but we pressed hard and managed a break but had over 10 guys join on as well and the main bunch chased back on after a lap. I was quite satisfied with the power in my legs to make a bridge to one of the strongest cyclists in the sport and then be able to roll through and try to make it work. I spent the remainder of the ride at the front end avoiding the multiple crashes and keeping great position for T2. I was fourth going into transition and as my rank was so low I was right at the beginning of the racks. This was nice as I didn't get snarled in the madness but meant I had to run through it on my way out and headed onto the run in 8th.
With the temperature with humidity up past 37C and having not done much speed work a conservative "my pace" run start was the plan. The typical 2:50min first Km wasn't realistic for my three interval runs done prior to the event. I had my strength and the heat acclimation protocol as my strategy and went out hard but controlled knowing the heat would bring the field back to me. I felt as though I got my run legs about 2km in and I focused on building intensity each lap and drawing guys in one at a time.
Each lap got harder and harder but I felt strong and I was bringing guys in every km. With 1500m to go I was gaining on three ahead of me and with a surge and quick cornering got one easily and then focused on the next two. I continued to gain right until the last 200m kick but couldn't close the deal and came up one second behind in 15th place. I am very pleased with this performance having not many fitness indicators to go off prior to the race. It didn't feel like I just got off a 19month break once I got back out there. Not to say I didn't struggle and doubt at times, but it felt good and man it is hard fast racing.
In the coming weeks we will be working on run intensity and finish speed as well as more bike strength and anaerobic capacity. This will leave my legs fresher after the bike and faster for the run. Swimming we will keep working the miles and sharpening the speed. The big mileage I have done really paid dividends at the end when I felt fresh and relaxed and still able to move up. It really left my legs fresh too for the run to transition. I guess averaging 35-40km a week will do that.
Thank you to all those that sent me messages of support before and congratulations afterwards. They all helped me prepare and mean a lot that you watch and support what I am doing.
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