Five years ago this summer I met a guy named Craig Taylor in Lausanne while racing 2006 FISU games. Five years later and we were rolling into Lausanne again with CT on the #25 to Bois du Vaux.
Lausanne doubled as a WCS and the Sprint Championships. Had been a while since the legs had done a sprint and I was excited for the final stage on a Euro summer of racing.
Positioned right in the middle of the pontoon for the start I found Prochnow's (GER) feet off the start and experienced quite a smooth swim. Gaining experience in this bigger races, I have started to figure out the dynamics a bit in the swim, allowing for less contact and a more efficient ride.
Exiting the 800m swim I was right where I wanted to be; 15s down on the brownlee group and in the chase with Prochnow,Don, Silva etc.
T1 was blistering, everything went seamless yet i still found myself as the last wheel in the group heading out onto the 20k bike. I clung to the back as we screamed into the U-turn and then was gapped on the acceleration out. Here, i made a tactical error that i'll never do again. Often when we race there is the mentality 'all or nothing'. In this case I reasoned that if I did not connect back with my group, the race was going to be over. I redlined for about 800m and re-connected about 100m from the base of the first climb. Just as I reconnected another group from behind led by Ruedi Wild came up and the pace lifted up the climb. That moment was the my race, I was ridden thru and spit out. No response, no making it to the front of the race.
50s down off the bike I looked for my run legs out of T2 but found them spinning. It became a battle to see that finish line. Accross in 51st I was disappointed. Great race by Yorkie to nab 21st, well executed.
The following day were the team relays. Three weeks prior Craig and I had discussed the relay event and I made the decision to give my spot to speedy Marc-Antoine Christian. He along with Andrew Yorke, Manon and Chantell raced the 4xSuper Sprint relay with great fire. Really impressive racing hanging with Russia #1.
A long trip back yesterday and I am now settled back into Victoria. Something I sure have missed over the last 7 weeks. Long time away from such a beautiful city and country. A big thank you to Triathlon Canada and all of its staff for such a great stint in Europe.
Plans for the fall are still being considered. For now a bit of R&R.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Monday morning, coffee in hand, time to relive yesterday's madness.
Coming down from altitude 12 days prior I had felt really on and really off leading through the week of this one. Coma naps some days and then breathing every 9 on others.
On to the pontoon we had great sunny weather for the 15th rendition of Tizzy. The bouy position was a fair one and so no distinct pattern formed on spot selection. Discussing with Craig pre-start the stats pointed to the left side so I went with it. Pretty clean start and onto a Hungarian hip then feet to the first can. Felt strong and controled out at 750 and back on the second loop. Followed Jimmy Seear in the last 200m and out into T2.
On to the bikes I thought I was at the front of the race. However, when i did not see my teammate Brent McMahon I knew there must be others up the road. CT was on the highway as I rolled out yelling 35s to the russians!
This race has two seperate trannies, so we ride about 5k from the lake to town where we start the loops. I knew from racing here previously and from looking at other years that it was very important to try and real in the front group of 7 before we hit town, otherwise the gap could stick.
A half dozen of us were really working hard to pull the gap back. Jens Toft, the danish destroyer was pumping out some mad watts along with Noble and Rana as we chased. We hit town and got the update that the gap was 25s. The group was in sight on the long straights for the first lap or two. However, a bigger group from behind caught us on the 2nd loop and then another on the 3rd swelling us to 50 or so. Games ensued and the gap grew to 50s or so. Then on the last two laps that gap doubled.
Coming into this race, aspects I wanted to nail well were transitions and the first lap of the run. Into T2 I found much better position than in previous races at this level this year and got out in the train of runners set to scorch this fast but technical 10k.
I ran the first lap essentially as hard as i could. I wanted to really committ myself so that I had the opportunity run with the main group. One great aspect of ITU racing is that you hardly ever are in control of your pacing, it's always a game. After one lap the pace settled and my breathing changed from pig squealing to fire bellows pumping. I began to pick guys off and found myself running next to Irishman Noble through 5k.
In a previous post from Hamburg WCS i commented on the outstanding crowd presence and cheering. Well, Tizzy may not have quite the numbers but through transition I dont think any race compares. Along this 400m section you have fans 4 or 5 deep on both sides (2000 i would ballpark), a dancing Lizard lap counter, an announcer that cannot be rivaled for pizaz (Guy danced all day, then an hour on stage at awards, then bartended at after party), and techo beats that would jump start a 90yr olds heart on the OP table. Coming through on lap 3 there was this crazy crescendoing beat being laid down and I found the most euphoric state of running i've ever experienced. I would pass 5 high calibre guys on the last lap with one portugese coming back on me in a sprint to the line for 22nd. The goal for this race was a top 20 result so no cigar, but i'll take the 19th fastest 10k:)
Once into the recovery area i hit the cold tub and ate watermelon. While grabbing some water I saw Brent and headed over to see how he did (no idea he had just WON!). There was a drug tester with him so came up behind and said "well this must be a good sign if you've got a buddy."
He replied: "ya, and this is even better" (showing his winner accreditation).
I was over the moon. In fact I welled up and thought i was about to cry. What a comeback, a lesson for all: When others think your finished, written off, believe in yourself and your ability and prove them wrong.
'Prove Something' was my motto for this race, Brent must of seen this taped to my handle bars....
Photos courtesy of Triathlon.org
Video from last years race: