Monday, September 19, 2005

Pacific Grove Triathlon

The Lone Breakaway
Pacific Grove Triathlon
September 10, 2005

Meet the Pros Diner

I usually do well here at my hometown race; I think it’s a combination of having my friends and family as well as the community cheering for me around every corner.

“This is MY course and I’m going to prove it” about sums it up!
My team mate from Team Aegis, Patrice, is in town to do the race and the day before we talked about implementing some sort of strategy during the bike to hopefully put some time on Carol Montgomery who would also be racing. She’s a phenomenal runner and we knew the only way we could get some time on her is during the bike. Patrice is a faster swimmer than me, but she said she wouldn’t work until I caught her. But, it seems as though I’m getting ahead of myself here, I haven’t even begun at the beginning. Let me start then…

Pro Women's Swim Start

The pro wave wasn’t scheduled to begin until noon, so I had plenty of time in the morning to relax and get anxious. I wanted to get down to the race site though early enough to at least see my dad finish and my mom head out onto the run. I rode my bike there as to get a nice warm up while Jay drove down with my gear. I was able to do that and have a bite to eat with Cami (another friend competing in the pro division) at Latitudes, the restaurant sponsor of the race. My transition area is now a snap to set up even though I look at it numerous times hoping that I haven’t forgot anything. By mid-morning it was still cool and the wind was picking up. You would definitely want to be in a pack during this race.

With twenty minutes to race start I went down to the water to get a short warm up swim and test the coolness of the water. Yep, it was probably about 58 degrees and no doubt my toes would be numb after the swim. This is one of the few Olympic distance races were I am very confident in the swim. I think it’s because we have to deal with the kelp and I know how to get through it where as my competitors might have a difficult time. I need to learn how to transfer this confidence in any swim situation that I encounter.
The pro men started at exactly noon while we had to wait until they had completed their first loop and were about half way into their second. I lined up to the far right and actually changed my position a couple of times while Brent Allen of Tri-Cal rolled his eyes at me. I wasn’t the only one to do so either as Carol Montgomery moved also and her final position was to my right. The gun sounded and I was off, one of the first to hit the water and start swimming. I took the lead only briefly as the faster swimmers eventually swam by me. I was able to grab onto someone draft and stayed with two other women. Round the Rock (I'm the 3rd one)

The three of us completed our first loop, ran around the rock in the sand and then re-entered the water for our final loop. I saw a few girls just ahead and tried to pick up the pace but then decided that I would stay with these women and hope that they could ride. I finished the swim in 23:17, ran up the ramp into transition and ended up running out with Katja Schumacher and Candy Angle. I struggled a bit on the flying mount and my bike went everywhere, but I managed to keep the rubber side down and eventually get the bike straight! Needless to say I still need to practice this technique! I wanted to catch whoever was in front of us so I got the three of us organized into a pace line. About 2 miles into the bike I surged on a small uphill and we lost Candy. A short while later we caught Malaika Homo and she was able to hang on. Once we completed one loop I heard some spectators yelling that my pack (chase pack) was only about 30 seconds down from Carol and Patrice the lead group. I got my pack organized because I knew that we could catch the two women ahead of us. Just prior to going around the far turn around we did catch them and now there were 5 of us in the lead pack. Katja and I were the only ones to try and attack the pack; whenever she attacked I went with her and whenever I attacked she went with me.

I know both of us wanted to gain some time on Carol, but each time we attacked the pack caught us again. Patrice and I were scheming quietly trying to figure out how we were going to drop Carol or at least make her work hard. Patrice said she’d get in front of Carol and block if I wanted to try and break away again.

On our final loop with about 2 ½ miles to go Patrice was leading the pace line with Katja next, then Carol, myself and finally Malaika. I saw my chance and attacked. I knew Patrice wouldn’t follow as she said she would block the others, Katja didn’t follow as maybe she thought the pack would catch me. I took off as hard as I could; I looked back shortly after to see if they had caught me and there was no one there. I had made a gap so I continued to push the 28mph I was riding. I had a flashback at this point about my circuit race earlier in the year at Sea Otter Classic when I broke away from the pack with 3 miles to go and soloed into the line to take first. I was going to do it again here at the PG Tri! As I got closer to the dismount line I heard Julie Moss on the announcing stand “We see a rider coming in, not sure who it is yet…” And that was it, I dismounted, had some trouble racking my bike, put my shoes on, heard the crowd yelling and then I was off on the run. My bike split was 1:09:08, the fastest bike split of the day! I wasn’t sure how much of a lead I had on the chase pack, but I knew that I had to run hard. I could feel the liquid sloshing around in my stomach and the start of a side ache. I tried to get it out of my mind and keep running. I rounded the turn around at the Aquarium and saw Carol right behind me. It took her about 600m after that and she caught me. I tried to stay with her, but on the slight uphill heading back to Lover’s Point, I just didn’t have it. I kept her in sight for as long as I could. Just as I was finishing the second loop and heading onto the third and final loop Patrice caught me. She was breathing heavy, so I knew she was working hard. I stayed behind her for a short bit and then told myself it was 2nd or nothing. I picked up the pace and surged forward eventually creating a small gap between us. I kept pushing and found another gear. I heard people yelling that I was gaining on Carol, but I ran out of time as the finish line came into view. I looked back once to be sure I was clear and then high-fived the spectators as I came running down the finish chute and across the line. My run split was 38:05 and total time was 2:12:44 and 2nd place! I was 45 seconds behind 1st place and 10 seconds in front of 3rd! Talk about a close call.

Shortly after I crossed the line, Carol came up to me and said, “You really made me work for that,” and I was thinking, “that was the plan!”

I had some people ask if I was disappointed in finishing second and I said “No.” I am very proud of my second place finish; and as Phil Darst said, I was the first American!


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Robert Booth said...

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Robert (Your Cousin)