Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pac Grove

After a rough August and an especially sad effort at Chicago it would have been easy to get down on myself.  But within hours of the finish I had decided that Pacific Grove would go well.  I knew the course.  Tri-California races are practically “home” races for me.  I knew I was fit even if I couldn’t show it in races.  Then I saw that only 16 guys were registered.  They pay 10.  I decided that I would finish in the money.  Somewhere in my heart and mind I had some doubts but I just tried to push them away and say, “PG will go well.”

It did.

I had a great start and made the early swim break with Brian Fleischmann, Kyle Leto, John Dahlz and Barrett Brandon.  I took a knock in the head about 200m in and almost lost my goggles.  I didn’t stop to adjust them at all and the kelp kept grabbing at them.  So eventually I skipped a stroke or two to make sure that I wouldn’t lose my goggles altogether and then lose a minute or more while swimming blind.  I was in no-man’s land for a bit but just kept my stroke long and relaxed, and figured some guys would catch me.  I actually stopped and secured my goggles once I saw that I would get caught.  Good call #1.

Jeff Piland and Jamie Stephenson caught me and I swam comfortably with them for the rest of the first lap and almost half of the second.  Then I went into some kelp that Jamie missed and Brett Brown (who had been right behind me) passed me like I was sitting still.  Don’t mess with the kelp.  It means business.  I lost Brett a bit on the way back in as we took different lines through the kelp, but we came back together just before the swim exit.

I got my wetsuit off quickly and got out of transition cleanly.  I passed Brett in transition and almost caught back up to Jeff and Jamie and Manny Huerta.  I quickly bridged up to them on the bike and we started a rotation.  Things were a bit jumpy and I kept having to close gaps and catch back on … another rider let a small gap open up and I couldn’t quite close it down. 

So rather than kill myself to bridge back up, I tried to relax a little and catch my breath.  In my past few draft-legal events (San Francisco and Kelowna) I’ve buried myself early on, trying to catch onto a group, and then a group would catch me from behind and I wouldn’t be able to keep up.  So I kept looking over my shoulder and hoping to see the third group, but never saw anybody.  My former group caught Barrett Brandon and I was still alone.  Oops.  But when I hit the turnaround I could see a that a hard-charging Matt Balzer was the next guy on the road.  Woohoo!  Matt is very strong on the bike.

I sat up and waited for Matt, pedaling a bit easier and trying to ensure that I would recoever enough to be able to go with him.  Good call #2.  I got on Matt’s wheel and we worked together for the rest of the bike ride.  I was diligent about getting through 1.5 bottles of CeraSport but I didn’t get into my gels.  Matt is definitely stronger than me on the bike but I was able to contribute a bit here and there.

Matt “attacked” a bit coming out of the turnaround at 25km and I had to work hard to get back on his while.  I “retaliated” by refusing to pull through when it was my turn.  My explanation at the time was a bit more colorful, but all in good fun.  I resumed trading off once he had served his time.  We caught and passed Jeff with about 10km to go, putting us in 7th and 8th place in the race.

My T2 was quite efficient, too.  I got out ahead of Matt and tried to find my legs while expecting him to come flying by.  I was happy to find that my legs were right where I’d left them – securely attached to my hips – and I felt really good for the first mile.  I was in seventh place on the road.  I would almost certainly finish in the money.  I thought that I had some chance of catching 6th or 5th, too.

The rest of the run wasn’t terribly eventful for me.  I continued to feel good for almost the whole run and kept pushing the pace while trying to stay light on my feet.  I was sad to see my friend Andrew Lockton disappear on the final lap after charging hard for the first 5km.  Apparently his hamstring cramped and he had to stop to loosen it up.  He would have made the top ten.

I will post splits, pictures and video once all are available.

Next up – Scott Tinley’s Adventures and Longhorn 70.3.  Keep your eyes peeled for a big announcement from me on Monday or Tuesday.

I will write down and back-date a Chicago report one of these days, too.

1 comment:

  1. Cool, didn't realize you were going to be down at Austin. I'll be down there as well...though spectating and not racing.