Monday, April 11, 2016

Galveston 70.3 Race Report

My 2016 race season started this weekend at 70.3 Texas on Galveston Island. The first race of the year is always a bit of an unknown and a litmus test on fitness.  I came away with a pretty good indication of where I’m at with a solid heat training session as an added bonus.  My 10th place finish of 3:52 told me that while my speed was nowhere to be found, my endurance and strength are right on target for a good day at IMTX. 
The week started out with a flight to Dallas and a few days enjoying the hospitality of the Duane-Tessier household.  I needed a few days to adjust to the heat and get my mind right for the season opener.  The trip was a definite success and a perfect way to prepare.  Our whole group drove down to Galveston on Friday and checked in to The Lost Bayou Guesthouse for the weekend.  Final preparations for the race included helping out with the Ironkids race on Saturday and getting a bit of Dimond love from Chris and the Dimond Van.  By Sunday morning, all systems were go! 

The large, deep field of 55+ men started the wetsuit swim and a group of about 10 of us formed a lead pack pretty quickly.  I knew that the combination of wetsuits and large groups would make it difficult to make a serious break, so I tucked in 2nd or 3rd position for most of the swim. I came out of the water in 3rd position feeling fresh from letting the blueseventy wetsuit float me through the 23 minute swim. I peeled off my wetsuit and slipped into the sleeves of my fancy new Wattie Ink kit while heading into transition. 
My first transition wasn’t exactly quick and I found myself toward the back of the lead group at the start of the bike.  My plan was to be patient for the first half of the ride, but I am not a fan of the group dynamics that come with that strategy.  When Starky and a few of the other uber-bikers came through, I wasn’t in a position to go with them so I rode as steady as possible given the group until the turn around.  Once we were on the way back, I put in a surge to separate myself from the group (of very good runners) and try to gain an advantage heading into T2.  I ran a 1x system on the Dimond with a new ICE Friction chain and C-Bear bearings so the drivetrain was as smooth as silk.  In my first race on the Alto wheels and I was pleased with the predictability and stiffness as the wind had the potential to make things a bit interesting.  By the end of the bike, I was able to put 90 seconds into the group but still was quite a bit back from the strong bikers up the road. 

I felt pretty good coming off the bike and clicked off the first few miles under 6 minute pace.  My constant intake of First Endurance EFS Pro on the bike and Liquid Shot early on the run was as reliable as ever and my energy level were good.  I kept trying to pick it up around the many turns, but my top end speed just didn’t want to show up.  I settled into IM pacing and got into a solid groove by the 1/2 point.  Sadly, I was passed by a few runners and fell out of the money positions but I came away pleased with my ability to lock and relax at what felt like a very sustainable 6:10 pace.  I crossed the line in 10th place feeling strong and already thinking ahead to IMTX. 

Over the past few years, it’s become evident that my body much prefers the longer Ironman races and my training has been more and more focused on excelling at that distance.  As I commit to the distance, I definitely have given up a bit of ‘pop’ in my speed.  This race was a frustrating example of that, but I am willing to take a bit of a hit to excel in 5 weeks.  Here’s hoping the focus pays off!  Stay tuned to find out.

Thank you to Jeff, Therese, Maria, Dave, Ed, and Chris for making the weekend an enjoyable one.  As always, my supporting sponsors have been great and I encourage you to check them out if you’re looking for the best in their respective businesses.  I am lucky to have great people around me and a supportive family to come home to after the trip.  Here’s the gratuitous Sidney pic to drive readership. 

Thank you for reading.

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