Paying Dues @ NYC Triathlon

Posted on August 10, 2011

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Finishing Strong Photo: Jason Walsh

Aug. 07th, 2011

1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run

13th out of 22 PRO Men

1:59:00

First a big thanks to:

  • Jeff and Michelle Pauker for the home stay. They took me out to eat, gave me their bed and made me laugh pretty hard, which is always a great stress reliever.
  • Kristine for driving me around for the weekend, for cheering and for making the week as stress-free as possible!
  • Mom and Dad for driving down the morning of to watch me do what I love to do. They support me no matter what and I love them so much.
  • Kathrine, Beth and Scott Kaylan at Champion System for giving me props alongside Greg Bennett!
  • Jason and Catherine from Chia Chargers for cheering, taking pictures and for supplying great food products!
  • Doug Cory and the Bikeway crew for giving me the best bikes and service possible.
  • Vic and Karen, Team Bikeway members who volunteered at the finish line and took care of me with water, towels, the works!

Since this year is my first year as an Elite Triathlete it seems that much of the year is about paying my dues.  The “Hollywood” notion of turning pro, winning big races and living the lifestyle is only a reality for a very select few (SEE: Gwen Jorgensen). Although I knew I’d be getting my ass kicked, I was really working hard and diligently heading into NYC so I could have a bit of a psychological redemption on this hard season.

The race started 25 min late due to a drunk driver flipping his truck on the bike course. This small window gave me some time to relax, collect my thoughts and get ready to race fast. It also gave me a second to realize which way the wind was blowing from the thunder storm that lurked over our heads.

Swim:

Last year I was one of the first guys up and chose to swim on the left along the shore because I didn’t want to get caught up in the heck dive start. Interestingly enough I made the photo for Triathlete Mag (I made it again this time too.).  This was a big mistake since the current is ripping on the outside and I didn’t realize this until I saw over-head footage from a helicopter post 2010 race. As they called up the big names I pushed my way up to the front so I could grab a primo spot on the outside.

2011 Dive Start Justin Harris Far left on dock. Photo: Kris Mendoza

Then I thought, “Why line up next to everyone, get pushed around and beat up in the water to only be dropped shortly there after….or why not line up behind the top guys in the best spot, jump in and be immediately on their feet?”

As you can see from the pictures it looks like I didn’t hear the horn but, I was positioned well and was swimming on feet without any issues.

The swim was super choppy and I actually saw most of the men for the first 500m. After that it was solo and I tried to hold the best form and be smooth while getting knocked around in the swells.

Transition:

It’s a 700m run on pavement to your bikes and every time I’ve used my swim skin the zipper gets stuck. This time, the string from my Champion System Kit got stuck int he zipper. I spent the first half of the run trying to yank it out. Eventually it came out and I ran as fast as I could, ripped it off my body and got on the bike.

Bike:

The course runs up the West Side Highway from 79th St into the Bronx, onto Musholu PKWY turns around, goes down to 57th St, turns back up and back to transition. I chose the wrong lens color for my Smith V90Max for the overcast and rainy ride. They were all fogged up when I got on the bike and the dark color made it impossible to see potholes so I had to take them off and stick them in my top.

Since the wind was blowing North it meant a tailwind out and a head/crosswind on the way back. I realized this and just rode a nice big gear in control out. Every guy I passed, I passed with good speed and they never came back. Except one guy around the turnaround on Musholu because I couldn’t see where the the turnaround was. I had thought I passed it.

On the way back I was able to pass a few more guys. I knew it wasn’t quite as fast as my 60 min split from last year but, I knew I had the strength and confidence on the run to catch a few more people.

Run:

When I came into transition I saw Ironman stud Jason Shortis running out, which gave me someone to chase. I did a great run workout on the course last Wed. and had the game plan to run strong and smooth the first half and then crush the second half. At around 2 miles I passed Jason and just set my sights onto the next athlete, however, I couldn’t see anyone else. Focusing on a steady turnover and deep breathing I eventually came up on Andrew Yoder walking. It looked like he was suffering from stomach cramps. I knew he had just won a race last weekend and that he might be a little tired but, he’s a mega talent and I made sure I passed him as smooth as possible hoping he might night jump on my shoulder. Luckily he didn’t and I was able to hold him off.

Overall:

I honestly was little bit frustrated because this was the first race this year that I’ve done in the past. I wanted to smash the course and my body and go faster and place higher than I did last year(1:54:XX for 10th o/a).

I didn’t.

But, at the end of the day, this is reality of where I’m at.

It was a better quality field than last year and I finished within 10% of the winners time.

As Bec said in a quick email that I’m working hard and that’s all I can control. So I will keep keeping on, work my ass off and eventually I’ll get the results I know I am capable of achieving.

Until then, though, I’ll keep paying my dues!

Lessons Learned:

  • Create test sets throughout the year so I can gauge where I’m at.
  • Start looking for a coach.
  • Keeping working hard.
  • When in doubt go with clear lenses.

Links:

Triathlete Mag (Running for home and last one on the dock)

NY Daily News (Only guy on the dock.)

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