Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Madrid WTS

Last and final race of Olympic qualifying, the race with the most races
within the race of the whole qualifying period. All the calculations were
done, every athlete new what they needed to do or their competition needed
not to do. There was only one race to change the outcome of your chances of
competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

My race was simple, beat Joao Pereira of Portugal by one spot to hold on to
Canada's three spot country selection on the Olympic Rankings, simple,
nothing more nothing less.

Having put in a very long stretch of racing since my return only 14 months
ago, with no break through the winter, my racing through the 2012 season has
been up and down.

I started strong with a second at our Regional Championships and hoped to
build from there. A strong training block through February a bought of
sickness and antibiotics frustratingly resulted in a couple of lackluster
performances in Australia. However, I rallied back after the second
Australian race with a strong run and all round performance in Japan but was
left sore and fatigued. The build to the next event being in recovery mode
meant for a "lets see what we get" type of race, could be good, could be
tough. The result was another sub par performance from where I had been so
consistent the previous season. This brought us to this final race in
Madrid.

My body had started to come around for San Diego so tuning up for Madrid was
better and I felt confident in my abilities to execute the race I needed to
achieve the goal in Madrid. I had a worthy adversary in Pereira but new I
had more experience as have been this exact spot with one performance on the
day to secure a spot in Vancouver for Beijing. I was successful that day
and was confident I would be again.

The swim was fast with the Russian's blowing apart the opening 300m and only
a small group of 15 swimmers being able to keep up. I had a solid start and
was in the thick of the main group but near the front. Exiting the water
there was a string of guys ahead that I worked past during the minute long
run to transition.

Once onto the bike I pushed hard up the first climb which was only 400m into
the ride. We formed a group of 15-20 guys initially and slowly caught the
shrapnel straggling off from the dwindling front group. Our main group
swelled to 40 men with 9 up the road two minutes by the end of the ride.
During most of the ride Pereira was in the group behind me but during the
last two laps they managed to close the initial minute gap that separated
us. In the final kilometers of the ride Pereira came along side me and I
new he was there and positioning for a good start to the run.

I stayed strong and steady at the front of the group into transition as I
always do and got in and out of transition safely. Pereira however also had
a good transition and was five meters up the road. I quickly worked my way
to his shoulder and then started to apply some pressure. I ran strong and
comfortable to the first turn around at 1.25k and he was still hanging on
just a little back. I then applied some more throttle and pushed through
the 5km mark and then by the turn around at 6.25km I had a comfortable 20-25
seconds on him. I finished out the third lap strong and then focused on
maintaining for the last lap now that I new I had the spot wrapped and my
ticket set for London.

I normally would push everything I had right to the finish but after long
travel there and focusing on being healthy and strong once home, it made
sense to feel good coming down the finish chute and get on the plane home in
good shape.
Brent McMahon

Brent@BrentMcMahon.com
www.brentmcmahon.blogspot.com
@tribrentmcmahon on Twitter

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