Friday, June 3, 2011

You can heat train, but 37C and 80% is never easy

After doing seven heat sessions before Monterrey World Cup and three more before heading to Ixtapa I felt pretty comfortable with my prep. However, 37C and 80% humidity for some reason never gets easier. Even drinking 1.5 liters on the bike even having a frozen visor and wristbands waiting for me in transition didn’t alleviate the stress for long.

All that said the race started with another great swim exiting the water in third and after the 500m run to transition (this was a swim/run/bike/run type triathlon) I got in and out in second.

My goal was to push hard at the beginning of the bike to try and separate a group in the hopes of gaining a minute or two with a group of ten or less ideally. I lead the group for the first 5km pushing 350-400watts with no one coming around to help. We did get a separation but with motivated teammate Kyle Jones and several other strong cyclists (Croes, Serrano etc) in the group behind I couldn’t hold off the chase group all by myself. The remainder of the ride consisted of several breakaway attempts by myself and a few others, some under 100watt spinning and a crash on flat straight stretch. This was quite disappointing as two of our developing Canadians (John Bird and Cole Stewart) were taken out of the race as a result. Heal up quick boys!

The end of the bike was typical wit a big glob forming with 2-3km to go and I decided I would be the one to stretch it out heading into transition to avoid the mayhem. This was extra important as we dismounted and then immediately made 90degree turn and crossed a grassy median that had palm trees, bike racks and divots. Again I got in to transition in second and then fifth out onto the run.

Strategy for the run and these three weeks of racing in a row is to be consistent and still be a bit conservative. The goal here is to have solid finishes in order to accrue a solid number of points so I can get back to top race form and back on the World Championship Circuit.

So I began the run similar to Monterrey which was steady hard with the plan to build. I slid back a few positions in the first 500m but by the first turnaround at 1.25k I had moved up into third with two Mexicans breathing hard on each shoulder and Kyle Jones and Mannie Huerta 20m up the road. Judging by how hard the Mexicans were breathing and how relaxed I was I thought I would be able to shake them by 5km or so. Well…I guess there is an advantage to growing up in Mexico, they hung on bumping my elbows and clipping my heals all the way to 1.25km to go. One was yo yo’ing every aid station so I knew I could stress him going out of the last turnaround when I started a push for the finish. That worked for one Mexican but the other proved to be tougher to shake. The heat was really punishing now but I had under 1km to go. Before the race I had broken the last stretch down into 1.5min, 1.5min and 1min to go. So I took it a step at each time and once I got to 1min to go I started my kick and gapped the final Mexican and with 200m to go I sprinted in. It felt horrible and intensely hot but I got third and continued the race right through to the med tent. After about 20-25min there I felt normal again and headed to the hotel room to pack up for the flight home in 3.5hrs.

A short layover of two days in Vancouver, just enough time to get a Chinese visa before flying out Tuesday for Japan.

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