Thursday, July 14, 2011

Edmonton World Cup

Coming into the weekend I felt strong and confident in the hard work I had
put in over the last couple of weeks despite fighting a chest and sinus
cold/infection. I had still managed some strong fast sets and put the
mileage and effort in.

With the three races in a row my World Cup start place went from 71 in
Monterrey to 11 here in Edmonton, so the racing was well worth it as start
position in Edmonton is a big advantage. The first turn in the swim is only
160m away and the left side of the start platform is closer. My swimming
has been so strong after working with Ron I new that if I had a strong start
I could stay in good position the rest of the swim. I had a good start and
was in third place in the middle of the two ahead of me. However, this is
where I started to feel that things might not feel so good for the day. In
the previous four races this season I was able to have a good start like
this but then turn the throttle back and stay comfortably in this position
but yesterday I started to breath harder and harder and couldn't settle into
my smooth stroke. I ended up gasping for air as my chest congestion wasn't
allowing me to get full breaths. I had to manage as best I could and back
off a bit and then build back. I did this several times and managed to get
through the swim near the front and with a quick run to transition was in
the front bunch. I then had a horrible transition as a result of not being
able to get my wetsuit over these huge ankle chips they gave us and I lost
the time that I made up in the run and then some. I quickly hopped on the
bike and rode on top of my shoes to bridge up to the group of guys chasing
the front pack. I worked hard up the first hill and closed the gap more and
then finally bridged across during the flat at the top of the hill.

The rest of the bike was pretty cruisy with only one hill per lap and not
having to go too hard at it for the final five laps. On laps two and five
there were primes so the group would accelerate through transition and the
tight corners which were fun but important to stay near the front to avoid
crashes. Similarly as we came in at the end of the bike I stayed near the
front to avoid situations like the one teammate Simon got stuck in with a
guy falling in front of him sending him to the carpet in a heap. Thankfully
Simon hopped right back up but unfortunately he ended up loosing time and
exited near the back.

I was somewhere in the top ten exiting onto the run and went out hard to get
up near the front. However, as soon as I started breath hard I started
feeling the pressure in my lungs and the inability to breath deeply without
having to cough. As I got up to the first hill on the run things just got
worse as now the fact that I couldn't breathe meant my legs couldn't get
enough oxygen and I was completely blowing by the top of the hill. On the
way down I tried to focus on relaxing my breathing, turning my legs over
smoothly and getting back into the race as a stream of guys rolled by me.
At the end of the first lap of three, I was running tempo pace and still
unable breath smoothly and put down the run speed I knew I could. Half way
through the second lap about 5k in I had cleared enough mucous out of my
chest I could breath a little easier and I started to pick up my pace. By
the third lap l had passed a half dozen guys and focused on the half dozen
ahead of me 300m up the road. I dug in for the third lap as my legs felt
strong having not been able to challenge them for the first 5k and I turned
up the pace to race effort the last 2k and got my way into 16th place. An
ok finish but a disappointing one knowing how fit I was and that I could
have run much faster without the breathing problems.

So the positives of the race were that I could get to the front of the race
even with a sub par swim and horrible transition and stay out of trouble and
position well going into the second transition. The third lap of the run
was solid and my stride felt good so I know I have the run legs when I get
the oxygen too them.

I am resting now and trying to get as much sleep as possible to try and get
the last of this congestion out before my first World Championship Series
event of the year in Hamburg, Germany.

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