Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Challenge Quassy

I had raced the inaugural REV 3 half Ironman distance event in 2009 at Lake Quassapaug. That course was very challenging but fair. The race course design has changed many times over the years, but the topography of the area will always lend itself to a very challenging course. The 2015 edition did not disappoint. Swim: 27:54 (11th) I was looking forward to starting in the elite wave. I enjoy the competition and it's always nice to get clean roads. I was able to get a good start and I noticed a group of 3 swimmers to my left. I worked hard to bridge up to them, then tried to stay in their draft. It was almost an ideal draft. I was working hard to hold my position throughout the entire swim. At the final turn buoy, the swimmer right in front of me seemed to slow a bit and a gap opened up. I was able to bridge up to the top 2 swimmers and followed them into the beach. I was really happy to come out of my wave in 3rd place. Bike: 2:35:11 (4th)
I was able to come out of T1 in 2nd place overall. I knew the bike course was going to be challenging, so I tried to settle in. My coach, Paul Regensberg, asked me to hit the first half steady and try to build my effort on the 2nd half. I seemed to be sticking to the game plan for the first 40k of the bike. My power and heart rate numbers were decent. I knew I was not going to set any personal bests this day as I just did not have the necessary outdoor riding sessions in the bank. This course never lets you settle in. It consists of a lot of short steep hills with lots of technical sections. I was able to enjoy the lead car until the aid station around mile 25. At that point, an athlete (Pierre-Ives Gigou), went by me like I was riding training wheels. He was so smooth and steady. I knew right away I was not going with him. I hit the 30 mile point after the longest climb of the course and tried to hit the gas as coach prescribed. It was at this point that I realized there was not anything in the tank. So I focused on trying to stay as steady as I could the remainder of the bike. Gigou, a first year pro, put almost 13 minutes into me the remainder of the bike. While I would not have held Pierre on my best day, I know I could have made it a bit more interesting if my fitness was a bit more in line (typical triathlete excuse :-)). My normalized power results came in at 236 watts, which was 36 watts lower than I had produced back in 2009. It was one of those days. Run: 1:23:40 (3rd)
As I came off the bike, I received the information that I was about 12 minutes down. That was a bit disheartening. Coach Paul had asked me to do the run section as a good training day. I focused on my rhythm and tried to find a pace I could settle into. The run course was so undulating that I was all over the map. By the time I hit the hills during the last 5 miles, I was pretty fried and ready to get the race finished. However, even though I was really fatigued, I ended up running better than I had planned. Overall Time: 4:29:12 (2nd Overall) Summary: I entered this race season with the game plan of a late season peak. Usually I need to be at the top of my game this time of year in order to qualify for the Ironman World Championship. With that realization, I was happy with my results on the day. I gave what I had on the day.