Two weeks ago at Trizou in Columbia, MO, I kicked off 3 straight weekends, and ultimately, 4 out of 5 weekends of racing. I woke up race morning at 3:30 a.m. and was on the road by 3:40 for the 1:45 drive to Columbia. After getting my packet, setting up my bike and gear, I headed inside to the 50-meter indoor pool to get in a nice warm up. With 15 minutes to go before the race, we all had to get out of the water. I, unfortunately, stood on the deck shivering for close to 15 minutes. Not an ideal situation for a sprint distance triathlon where you go full gas from the start.
As expected, I felt flat and sluggish on the swim, likely due to being cold. I basically swam the exact same time as I did in 2016 (technically 2 seconds slower), which was a little disappointing because I thought I’d be about 10-15 seconds faster than the previous year. I quickly got on my bike and set off to catch the leader (Evan) who is a very fast swimmer. The course is pretty much either uphill or downhill with just a few flat sections. I hammered the 13-mile bike course as hard as I could. Unfortunately, I couldn’t close much time on Evan and started the run about 20-25 seconds down. Just like in 2016, I ran hard and caught Evan just after the 1 mile marker. I kept the pressure on and tried to open the gap as much as I could. I was very pleased with my run and ended up running 30 seconds faster (over 2.9 miles) than I did in 2016. My overall time was 4 seconds slower than 2016, but I was definitely happy to start my season off with a win.
I recovered really well after Trizou and was extremely excited for Kansas City Triathlon the following weekend. With the addition of prize money in 2017, the race enticed 2 pros to make the trip to KC for the race. It’s also my “home town” course as the bike course is where I do all my key intervals and only about 5 miles from my house. Sleeping in my own bed, waking up at my normal time and no long commute race morning is really nice.
The excitement race morning was electric. This race always brings out all the local triathletes, so it was a lot of fun seeing everyone before and after the race. The swim was a two-lap swim course. I started off well and felt I had a good line. Some of the faster swimmers started pulling away just a few hundred yards into the swim. I tried to pick up the pace but couldn’t, so I just settled into my own rhythm. At the end of lap 1, you have to get out, do a short beach run, and get back in the water to start lap two. Just like last year, I had a hard time getting back into my rhythm after the beach run as my HR went through the roof. I eventually settled back in and started weaving my way around the other swimmers who were on lap 1. I got out of the water and knew I had lost a decent amount of time to the top group, but was determined to make the most of it.
T1 was quick and smooth. I got my Roka wetsuit off quickly, put on my helmet and took off to start the bike.
I started off strong and knew I’d have some work to do to catch the two pros as well as Evan (fast swimmer I raced at Trizou). I was able to get two time checks on u-turns within the first 12 minutes of the first lap. I was already starting to close in on the two in front of me, but was losing a little time to the leader. The headwind definitely made for a tough 5-mile stretch with no protection, but I felt good into the wind and was gaining more time. I caught the first pro about 22 minutes into lap one right before a big hill we climb. I also noticed I had gained about 30 seconds on Evan who was in 2nd place at that point. The 5-mile tailwind section was quite nice to finish lap 1 and start lap 2. Similar to lap 1, I just kept the pressure on and noticed I made up a lot of ground on second place during the tailwind section. I caught second before one of the u-turns and as we were all (2nd – 4th overall) going around the u-turn, I heard a noise. I looked to see that the pro right behind me snapped his chain as I saw it on the ground; terrible luck for him. The rest of the second lap was uneventful. I kept on top of nutrition and hydration to help me for the run. I was hoping to put down a fast run time based on recent run workouts and my improved time from the previous year at Trizou.
T2 went really smoothly, just like T1. I slipped on my Sock Guy socks as I didn’t want to get blisters since I am racing a 70.3 in 1 week.
The run started off well. I felt smooth and good early on and set off to make up some time to the leader and put down a fast run split. I knew there was no way I’d catch 1st, but I just wanted to run well for myself and to finish off a good day of racing. I was holding around my goal pace (5:20) for most of the first mile before the short, but quite steep, uphill before mile 1 (and mile 4). The hill slowed my split down to 5:34, but I wasn’t worried. I knew there’d be a nice downhill and flat section for the next few miles. I rolled through mile 2 in 5:26 and still felt really good and smooth. For whatever reason, right after this mile, I started feeling awful. It was really weird to go from feeling smooth and good to riding the struggle bus in such a short period of time. I basically struggled to hold 6 minute pace the last 4 miles, which is really confusing to me. Every time I tried to pick up the pace and settle into a faster rhythm, I would last for just a few seconds and went back to 6 minute pace. Miles 3 through 6 were, in order: 5:49, 6:03, 5:57, 6:07. I’d like to think and say that I just cruised it in since there was no way I was catching first, I wasn’t going to get caught from behind, and I race a 70.3 in 1 week, but that just simply wasn’t the case. I just didn’t have it on the run like I thought I would.
Overall, I’m definitely happy to finish 2nd overall and take home some money. Ultramax Sports did a phenomenal job putting on this race and getting the elite wave and prize money set up for this year. I expect this race to only continue to grow and bring in even better competition in future years.
Next up for me is the last of my 3 straight weekends of racing when I head to Chattanooga for the half Ironman with about 15 of my Every Man Jack teammates.
I have to give a huge shout out to my mother. Not only did she take some fantastic pictures (see below) but she also spent her mother’s day morning out at Longview Lake to watch me race. Forever grateful and truly the best mother ever! Thank you also to my dad, sister, uncle, Cameron and all the athletes and spectators that cheered for me during the race. The support is greatly appreciated. Also have to thank trisports.com for getting my online order to me so quickly. Cleaning my Felt IA10 with the tools I bought was much needed heading into a big race. And as always, Every Man Jack (use KDENNY17 for 25% off online orders) and all our tremendous sponsors that make training and racing much easier and desirable.
Pictures courtesy of my mother: