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  • Mid Season Update: Making up for lost blogs

    Posted on August 6th, 2014

    I began writing this blog over five years ago to share my experiences training, competing and living as a student-athlete at Northern Arizona University. I had always been a deligent recorder of all aspects running in my personal running log, so I thought I might as well put this stuff on a blog to allow friends and family (mostly Mom, Dad and teammates looking for a shoutout, originally) to see what I was up to. After a couple years had passed, I realized that I had created this great resource for myself to remember what I had done in the past, mistakes I’d made, decisions that had worked out, and perhaps most importantly, things that had previously motivated me to be my best.

    I had great expectations for myself for the 2014 season. With the exception of a couple bright spots (New Plymouth WC and Yokohama WTS), results have been fairly disappointing this year. This, in addition to the time committed to training, travel, life, etc., has created an excuse for me not to continue documenting my experiences along the way. It’s August now, and looking at my blogging for the year, I see that I have left a few holes, which kinda upsets me.

    There are some great views on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

    There are some great views on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

    I am now sitting on a train travelling south along the coast from Simi Valley back down to San Diego. I went on a short trip to Tucson (via plane) to help my girlfriend move out of her place in Tucson and over to Simi Valley (via truck/car). I have learned taking the train is quite relaxing, but can be very slow — my departure from Simi was delayed over an hour, and then I sat at LA’s Union Station for about an hour and a half until continuing on. Anyway, all that to say that I had some time + Wifi on my hands, and thus: this blog!

    My last good race update was from my first three ITU races of the season back in March. Those races were highlighted by my 18th place finish at the New Plymouth World Cup against some very good competition. Shortly after returning from that trip, I had a bit of a cycling accident, crashing into a fairly large commercial truck. I was lucky in that I came away with just some bruised ribs and my bike only suffered a few scratches. My front wheel took the brunt of the impact and was totalled. Turns out carbon fiber makes for a pretty good one-time-use bumper, though not a very cost effective one. ENVE took care of me and sent me a new SES 3, and I was back  on my bike in a couple of days. Swimming and running took a bit longer to come along, but after a few weeks, I put all that behind me.

    IMG_2161In April I went to Barbados for a Sprint Pan American Cup race. I swam well enough to get into a group of some strong cyclists that were willing to work together, and we caught the lead pack about halfway through the race. I struggled on the run and finished up 8th. Disappointed that I missed a good opportunity to get on the podium, but happy to collect some ITU points. Results

    In May I jetted off to China with training partner Joe Maloy for the Chengdu World Cup. This was my first time to China. I was happy to be travelling with Joe; it helps to have a bit of familiarity when in such a new place. I missed a very large pack on the swim and ended up time trialing the whole race on my own. My 57th place finish in Chengdu is probably one of my worst races of my career. Results Facebook Photo Album (Chengdu & Yokohama)

    Best swim of my life! (Photo by: Delly Carr/ITU Media)

    Best swim of my life! (Photo by: Delly Carr/ITU Media)

    I had a second chance the next weekend in racing my very first World Triathlon Series race in Yokohama, Japan. This race was wetsuit legal, and I took complete advantage of that. I swam in the middle of the field the whole way, coming out ahead of some very accomplished athletes. I hopped on the Davison-Murray-Sissons train and we made our way up to the front of the race. This race was without a doubt the most fun I have ever had racing triathlons! I was riding right next to guys that I’ve been watching on TV since I started the sport — Brownlee, Gomez, Brownlee, etc. It was a small affirmation that my career is moving in the direction. I held on with a decent run off the bike and came in just behind Joe in 20th. A top-20 result in my first WTS race had me very excited for what was ahead. Results

    My next race was the Pan American Championships held in Dallas. I finished 5th in this event last year when it was held in Vila Vehla, Brazil. I ended up in the second chase pack on the bike, and the gaps were just too big for me to mix it up in the front end of the race. I was 33rd. Results

    We made it out to Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Arizona a couple of times each week.

    We made it out to Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Arizona a couple of times each week.

    Right after Dallas, The Triathlon Squad packed their bags and headed to one of my favorite places in the World, Flagstaff! We were there for about four weeks getting in an altitude training block. I saw a few friends that I went to school with and put in a lot of training hours.

    From Flagstaff I went to Chicago for my second WTS race. We were looking forward to another wetsuit swim, as the water in Lake Michigan had been quite chilly. The weather leading up to the race was pretty warm, raising the lake temperature to just under the wetsuit cutoff. The ITU and medical staff decided to ignore the temperature cutoff, and went with a nonwetsuit swim. I was well off the back on the swim, but fought like Hell on the bike. I bridged up to several guys, rode with them for a couple laps, and then ultimately broke away to see if I could cut the gap a bit more. A lot of friends commended me for my effort on the bike, which was nice to hear, but it didn’t make up for the hole I had dug myself on the swim. I finished up with a 44th place finish. Results

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    My most recent race was a week ago in Jiayuguan, China. Yep, two trips to China in one year. Like Chengdu this was another World Cup, but this time at about 5,500 feet of elevation. The lake that we swam in can be quite chilly, as it is fed from the local mountains (with some peaks reaching an impressive 18,000 ft!), so my hopes were that we would have a wetsuit swim. Jiayuguan is right on the border of the Gobi desert, and the days before the race were very warm. Temperatures in the lake shot up to 23C by race morning, making it a nonwetsuit swim. I hate that swimming with a wetsuit gives me such an advantage, as I want to be an athlete that can perform in all conditions, but the reality is that, at this point, it makes a difference for me. I ended up with a very similar swim to the one I had in Chicago. Again, I rode well, this time actually pulling back some time to the front pack with a 4th best bike split. I picked off a few guys on the run, but still only finished 45th. Results

    (Photo by: Darryl Carey / ITU Media)

    (Photo by: Darryl Carey / ITU Media)

    Up next for me is a Sprint Pan American Cup race in Kelowna. I raced there two years ago, and fell in love with the area. I’m very excited to head back, this time with good friends Heather and Trevor Wurtele (they live there part of the year) and Eric Lagerstrom (also plans on racing).

    I will most likely be racing the Super Sprint event in Las Vegas on September 11th. This is not an ITU event, so no points up for grabs, but it is fun, fast racing with good prize money available.

    I will finish up my season with a couple World Cups in October, most likely Cozumel, Mexico and Tongyeong, South Korea.

    Thanks for everyone’s support and words of encouragement this season. The highs and lows of 2014 have been very polarizing, and the phone calls, emails, and little messages I have received from many of you help me keep a level head and remind me to enjoy the pursuit.

  • One for three

    Posted on March 27th, 2014

    On Monday I returned back to Poway from my first block of racing of the season. To be honest, it was (mostly) a rough start to the year for me. I was very unsatisfied with my first two races in Florida and Australia, but found a little redemption in my final race in New Zealand. Here are some recaps:

    1974277_658855540823908_2068188299_oMy first ITU race of the year was at the Clermont Pan American Cup. I went into the race ranked 10th, and came away with 21st. I struggled to find the intensity required in the beginning of the swim and came out of the water near the back of the field. On the run into transition, I dropped my race cap, and earned myself a 10″ penalty, to be served on the run. I was in the second chase pack with about 10 guys. Coming into T2, I completely blew threw the dismount line and earned myself penalty number 2. After a mediocre first lap, I served my 2×10″ penalties, and was back running. I managed to catch a couple guys that past me while I waited in the penalty box, but it wasn’t enough to salvage any ITU points. I left Florida empty handed. Results

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    Photo by: ITU Media

    After a few days back in Poway, I was off to Australia to race the Mooloolaba World Cup. Mooloolaba is a very popular race and has been running for many years. The start list was pretty stacked, with guys like Mario Mola, Richard Murray, Sven Riederer,  Laurent Vidal, and many other Olympians. My trip over went great; I adjusted very well to the time and weather. I felt like I was very well prepared for this race, both physically and mentally. So when I came out of the water in last place, with a visible gap to the next guy, I was disappointed. I continued to press on, but upon reflection of the race, I admit that I thought I had already blown my chances at a great result, and that likely had a negative effect on the rest of my race. I ended up with just a 54th place finish. Results. Photo gallery. ITU Race recap video.

    Photo by: ITU Media

    Photo by: ITU Media

    From Australia I jetted off to New Zealand for another World Cup. The start list was perhaps more competitive than the previous week’s, looking more like a WTS race at the top than a World Cup. Coach Paulo and I discussed how to overcome the challenges I had in Mooloolaba and how to take advantage of my opportunity to race here. I had a better swim, and perhaps more significantly, a better transition and first few kilometers on the bike. I was in a good group with strong cyclists willing to work hard to catch the lead bunch. After a couple laps, we caught the lead pack and I rode in the ~ 50-man pack until the finish. There was a pretty dramatic crash towards the end of the final lap, but I was in a safe enough location to avoid it. Out on the run, my legs felt pretty strong and I worked my way into the top-20 guys. At the end I was able to shake a couple guys I had been battling the whole 5k, finishing in 18th place. This is my 2nd best World Cup result in terms of place (I was 15th in Cozumel in October), but my best in relationship to the level of competition on the day. After a couple poor performances to start the season, this is just what I needed. Results. Photo gallery. ITU Race recap video.

    I came away with some decent points, moving me up to 120th in the World on the ITU Points List and back up to 8th American. On this trip I have already begun to see just how important these rankings are in terms of getting race starts. It’s important that I take advantage of every opportunity to race so that I can control my own racing destiny in the future.

    DSC02468

    Post-race. Everything looks neat and tidy = NO PENALTIES! (Those DEEP wheels are ENVE SES 8.9’s, in case you were wondering.)

    I posted a few more photos over on Facebook.

  • Off to the races!

    Posted on February 28th, 2014
    jason joe eric Tritonman

    Like 2013, I will continue living, training and racing with Eric Lagerstrom and Joe Maloy in 2014.

    Welcome to 2014

    I believe this is where I’m supposed to tell about all the changes I have made over this off-season, and how that is going to translate into newfound success. While I have made a few changes in equipment (thanks to USA Triathlon and ENVE Composites… more on that below), by and large, much is the same as last year. You may recall that last year I joined Paulo Sousa’s The Triathlon Squad, began working with them in November of 2012 and then moved to Poway to train full-time in January. Similarly, this season’s training began in November and I continue to live in Poway, training full-time with the same guys under the same coach. The reason for my success in 2014 won’t be due to changes, but consistency.

    Winter training was good. We put in a lot of hard hours, enjoying most of them, surviving some, and staying engaged always. It’s always great for a few months to pass and realize you haven’t missed any training due to injury. Kudos to Paulo for training smart. 🙂 I’m excited to translate this fitness into results.

    IMG_0857

    Preseason

    I actually had a bit of a false start to the race season already. On February 16, I ran a local road race, the Coronado 10k. Some pretty quick guys in Scott Bauhs and Ben Bruce came out and led the race up front. I was in a pack of a few guys most of the race and ended up finishing 5th in 31:32. It was a fun event and a good way to stir the dormant pre-race butterflies a bit. As Paulo put it, it was a “good tempo run.” Results Strava

    Last weekend I was down near Fiesta Island for the UCSD Tritonman Triathlon. This was a collegiate draft legal race that let some of us from The Squad jump in. It was a sprint distance race, and a great opportunity to have a test run before races start to count. I made a few mistakes, highlighting some things to focus on and fix this past week in training. I ended up 5th (6th if you count Greg Billington, but officially he was disqualified for not serving multiple penalties!). Thanks to the race organizers for giving us the opportunity to race locally. Results Photo album

    Clermont

    Back in the day. I miss those shoes...

    Back in the day. I miss those shoes…

    This weekend I am in Clermont, Florida for a sprint distance ITU Pan American Cup. This race was my second ITU race of my career back in 2012, where I finished 17th. I remember my excitement after the race, knowing I’d earned my first ITU points. Goals are a bit higher this time around. Here is the start list. (I’m ranked 10th)

    Australia

    A few days after returning from Florida I will be heading off to Australia with training partner Joe Maloy. USAT will have a small camp where we will stay and train before racing the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup on March 15. There is a possibility for me to race in the New Plymouth ITU World Cup a week later, but as of now, I am not on the start list. There is a chance I will roll on to the start list, so I will be keeping an eye on that. This will my first time to Australia and I’m obviously looking forward to it very much.

    New bike

    Bike build

    Bike build

    Thanks to Litespeed’s support of USAT, I will be racing on a new Litespeed L3 this year. I was on my previous bike, a Blue RC6, for nearly three years and it was time to upgrade. This was the first time I have had to opportunity to build a bike up from just the frame myself. With two mechanical engineering degrees (I finally finished my Master’s of Engineering degree in December!), I thought that if I can’t figure this out, I might want to ask NAU for a refund! Thanks to a bit of help from training partner Eric Lagerstrom and Paulo, I finished the build in a couple of days. The bike rides and looks great, thanks in large part to ENVE. They sent me a fresh seat post, 40cm road bar and 100mm stem to go with the SES 3.4 Clinchers that I train on and SES 8.9 Tubulars that I race on.

    Race Schedule

    I have a tentative race schedule posted. There are a lot of World Cups on there, and with Olympic points qualification beginning in May, these races will be more and more difficult to get into. It’s likely I won’t know whether I am racing until a couple of weeks before the event. The only way to really guarantee the races I’d like to do is to BE BETTER!

  • San Juan Pan Am Cup & F1 Super Sprint

    Posted on November 4th, 2013

    A couple short race recaps from my last two races of the season:

    Coming off of a big race at Cozumel World Cup, I was looking forward to returning to the Caribbean for some more warm-weather racing, this time in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I stayed with some friends from high school, Chris Baird and Brianna Blanchard, in a great condo that was just a few kilometers from the race site. This was only my third Continental Cup race of the year, but with a 5th place finish in Brazil back in June, I felt that finishing on the podium was a realistic goal.

    San Juan ITU Pan American Cup swim start. Photo by: Allan Torres.

    San Juan ITU Pan American Cup swim start. Photo by: Allan Torres.

    I probably swam at a similar level here that I did a week prior in Cozumel, but with twice the distance and less quality swimmers to fill in the gaps between me and the leaders, I came out of the water with a lot more work to do. Early in the bike, Travis Johnston from South Africa and Graham Leitch from Great Britain rode strong and we were gaining some time on the leaders. The course was flat, but really rough road conditions with lots of potholes and cobblestone. Though this was my first experience racing on these types of roads, I know this isn’t uncommon in ITU racing, and I think the experience I gained here on the bike was worthwhile. My trio was unable to bring the group back in, and eventually began losing time to the larger lead pack.

    Always looking ahead after the swim to see who I am going to work with on the bike. Photo by: Allan Torres.

    Always looking ahead after the swim to see who I am going to work with on the bike. Photo by: Allan Torres.

    Some of the cobbles we hit twice per lap.

    Some of the cobbles we hit twice per lap.

    Heading out on the run I could really feel the heat. We got a few minutes of rain, which felt great until the sun returned and turned the puddles on the road to steam. I knew people up ahead would enjoy these conditions even less than I was, and I was able to pass a few guys to at least salvage some ITU points out of the race.

    Once I had stopped gaining time on the lead group on the bike, this became more about surviving better than the rest than really racing. Which sucks. I don’t do triathlons because they are difficult — I want to race for the top of the podium and on this day I wasn’t able to do that. I ended up finishing 14th in the race of attrition.

    Brianna Blanchard and Chris Baird

    Brianna Blanchard and Chris Baird

    Quick congrats to Brianna on probably her best race yet, finishing 3rd here. I also want to say thanks to her and Chris for helping me find a bike shop to repair my tubular flat the day before the race. I got to the start line with no excuses and nothing on my mind but the race in front of me.

    As I said I grabbed a few more ITU points, putting me at 146th now in the world. This ranking will become more and more important as we creep closer to 2016 and the Rio Olympics.

    Results

    After the race I went to Simi Valley to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday. I had a great time visiting with family and friends. It’s fun sharing my adventures racing around the world with them. They are all very supportive, especially my parents. This makes it so much easier to pursue this crazy life knowing that the ones I care about want me to succeed.

    After the birthday celebrations I headed back to Poway to finish up the season. My last race was the F1 Super Sprint race at South Shores Park in San Diego. The race was 300m swim/8* km bike/2.5 km run/300m swim/8* km bike/2.5 km run. With eight laps on the bike and five on the run, the race was great for spectators and it was great to see some familiar faces comes out to watch. (*I measured the bike to be 6.4 km)

    F1 Triathlon race start. Photo by: Erik Pedersen

    F1 Triathlon race start. Photo by: Erik Pedersen

    Before the race we were told lapped athletes would be disqualified. With such short loops I knew that falling more than a minute behind would probably mean getting lapped out. I had a great swim, right on the feet of the lead bunch. I flopped my swim exit a bit, tripping on the carpet laid down to the water’s edge, and missed the very front group out on the bike. Ben Kanute, Tommy Zaferes and teammate Eric Lagerstrom were too strong on the bike to bring back in. With the lapped rule in mind, I went to the front of my group and did most of the work knowing there was no time to sit up and play it tactically. Heading out for the first run, my other teammate from The Triathlon Squad, Joe Maloy, flew by me and I just couldn’t respond to his move. I dropped the other guys behind me, and got to the second swim with Derek Oskutis.

    Tommy leading Eric and the rest out of the water. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    Tommy leading Eric and the rest out of the water. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

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    Chasing close behind. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    Leading the chase pack, trying to limit losses to the front trio. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    Leading the chase pack, trying to limit losses to the front trio. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    Joe flying out of T2. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    Joe flying out of T2. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    I was able to run down Derek Oskutis before heading into the 2nd swim. Photo by: Dan Frost.

    I was able to run down Derek Oskutis before heading into the 2nd swim. Photo by: Dan Frost.

    On Derek's heels. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    On Derek’s heels. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    Diving back into the water I was right behind Derek. I knew what I had to do — stick to his feet — but I just couldn’t do it. After a short, fast and hard swim-bike-run, getting your face back in the water is tough. Eventually John Dahlz came by me, and I was able to ride his draft through the rest of the swim. We rode the second bike mostly together. We were holding the gap to the leaders at around 1:00, so we were close to being lapped out, but I knew with no mistakes we should make it to the finish line. John got a gap on me heading out for the final run leg, but I was able to run him down before the finish, leaving me with 6th place.

    1. Ben Kanute
    2. Tommy Zaferes
    3. Eric Lagerstrom
    4. Joe Maloy
    5. Derek Oskutis
    6. Jason Pedersen
    7. John Dahlz
    Keeping the pressure on during the 2nd bike. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    Keeping the pressure on during the 2nd bike. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    Moving past John Dahlz on the second run. Photo by: Erik Pedersen

    Moving past John Dahlz on the second run. Photo by: Erik Pedersen.

    After the race there was a little relay action. I was partnered with Dan Feeney. Most people didn’t have much left in the tank by now. The two 1st losers however, Sara McLarty and Tommy Zaferes, found some extra energy and pretty much dominated.

    Overall it was a very tough race and a lot of fun. Thanks to Lars Finanger, F1 and Fearless Races for putting on this great event. Looking forward to more super sprint races in 2014. Also thank you to sponsors ENVE and Hypster.com. More blogs to come on 2013 thoughts, offseason plans and adventures, and the upcoming 2014 season.

    Joe Maloy, Jason Pedersen and Eric Lagerstrom (l-to-r). I owe a lot of my success to these two. Photo by: Dan Frost.

    Joe Maloy, Jason Pedersen and Eric Lagerstrom (l-to-r). I owe a lot of my success to these two. Photo by: Dan Frost.

    EDIT:

    Alan Webb watching the F1 Super Sprint triathlon in San Diego.

    Alan Webb watching the F1 Super Sprint triathlon in San Diego.

    I forgot to add that Alan Webb was in attendance! With runner-turned-triathlete Lukas Verzbicas also there, exactly 40% of all US high schoolers that ran under 4:00 for the mile were spectators at the race. Of course I went up to him and reminded him that I met him in 2004 at Nike Team Nationals… and got his autograph… which is hanging on my wall at home… Did I mention I was a fan?

  • Vila Velha Pan American Championships

    Posted on July 18th, 2013

    Would love to visit Brazil someday..

    My twitter profile has said that since I began racing as a professional triathlete a couple years ago. What it is alluding to, of course, is the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. It’s my way of putting it out there that I am training to be an Olympian.

    DSC01349

     

    Almost two weeks ago now, I checked off half of that dream – I travelled to Brazil, for a professional triathlon even! The obvious missing piece here is the Olympics part. Oh well, that will have to wait I suppose. Still, I had a great trip down to Vila Velha for this year’s ITU Pan American Triathlon Championships, kicking off my first ITU race of the year.

    USAT sent a group of four elite males down to Brazil in hopes of getting a medal. There were three of us with a running background – Sean Jefferson and John O’Neill – and a great swim-bike specialist in Luke Farkas. The plan was to work together on the bike to put us in a position to run with the leaders and compete for the win. The plan worked, for a bit, before it came crashing to an end, literally.

    Swim

    20th in 17:21, :30 behind the fastest

    (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    After a very poor swim at my last race, I was anxious for some redemption and to show all the work I have done in the pool is paying off. I lined up towards the right side and watched the surf crashing down on the sand in front of me. The starting horn sounded, and we sprinted into the white water.

    Before the race, I spoke with my coach Paulo Sousa about staying positive, doing everything I can to stay on feet in front of me, and to remember that any time not lost in the water, is time gained. The first few hundred meters to the first buoy were typical, pretty physical and lots of splashing around. There was some decent chop/swells which made it difficult for me to sight well, but I was just concerned with the person right in front of me. As we rounded the first buoy, the pace slowed and it all got very bunched up. This is normally where things start to go wrong for me, but on this day, I accelerated away from the buoy with the pack.

    DSC01395It was a two lap swim. After the first lap I could see the leaders weren’t too far off, and there were still a number of guys behind me. It was important to not let any gaps open up while exiting the water and diving back into the surf, or I would be swimming the second lap alone and much slower. The bunch was much more thinned out now, but I was still able to find feet to draft off of. I have a huge sense of satisfaction from this swim as it is the first time I have swam the whole way drafting and holding my position within the pack. That’s the way it should be done, and will try to make this not the exception but the rule.

    Transition 1

    9th in :37, :05 behind the fastest

    I struggled a bit to get up and out of the surf, allowing USA teammate Sean Jefferson to open up a small gap on me. I knew Luke Farkas would be waiting up ahead to help at least one of us, so I wanted to be sure to be with Sean and not be left behind once the connection was made. There was a big sense of urgency getting through the rest of transition, which went well, until I mounted the bike and struggled to get my feet on top of my shoes.

    Bike

    8th in 1:00:22, :53 behind the fastest

    Once I got on the shoes, I jammed basically all out until I caught up with Sean a couple minutes later. Looking at my power file for the race, my 1 minute maximum came at 15 seconds in, going 442W while stomping on top of my shoes. I caught onto Sean’s wheel, hit a quick 180 degree turn, and we soon caught up with Luke.

    Me and Sean riding in the chase pack. (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    Me and Sean riding in the chase pack. (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    From there Luke went to work, towing Sean and I up to the chase pack. The three of us went straight to the front of that group, and continued to close the gap to the leaders. Luke would take a long, strong pull at the front (maybe 30-40 seconds), then Sean and I would pull through giving him a short break before going back to the front. A couple guys from the chase group tried to help out occasionally, but most of the work was being done by Luke… until he got a nail in his tire only a couple laps in!

    Prior to the race, Paulo spoke to me about being resilient in races even when things aren’t going well. We were only about 20 or 25 seconds from the front pack at this point, so Sean and I pressed on and welcomed the help now being offered by some of the others. The pace line was much less organized now, however, and within half a lap there was a nasty crash by a U23 athlete from Uruguay. He was pulling through to the front, and only a couple spots back when he hit a bump and began to swerve, taking out several riders including Sean. I made it through OK, but now was left with just a couple other guys. I lowered my head and began to try to bridge the gap solo.

    This left me with almost two laps trying to hold steady power around 350W. There were a couple of USAT coaches and staff throughout the course yelling time gaps. The gap was opening to the leaders now, from 30 to 35 to 45 seconds. Finally I noticed there was an organized chase group of about seven or eight guys, so I sat up, had a drink and a Gu, and began working with them.

    With roughly three laps riding solo, I was happy to be on my ENVE SES 8.9 tubular's. (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    With roughly three laps riding solo, I was happy to be on my ENVE SES 8.9 tubular’s. (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    There were three Brazilians in this group (Carvalho, Sclebin, and Moreira) that were sharing the work with me. The gap to the leaders was now hovering around one minute and holding there. On the last lap, however, it seemed the pace was beginning to slow again, and I opted to sprint out of a 180 degree turn and try to open a gap. It worked, and I was able to come into T2 with about a 15 second advantage over the chase pack, and about 1:10 behind the leaders.

    (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    Some final stats (according to Garmin+Quarq – link):

    • 25.7 miles
    • 1:00:41
    • 25.4 mph
    • 328W Average
    • 339W Normalized

    Run

    3rd in 34:20, :56 behind the fastest

    With all the work I had done on the bike, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned with how my legs would feel. Like always, coming out of T2 I felt pretty trashed. There was a big gap on either side of me, so I took my time to try to build into a good pace. At the first turnaround, I could see some of the guys up ahead were already hurting, and I knew I could pick some of them off. USAT Coach Steve Kelley told me I was in 11th place. I looked ahead and focused on one guy at a time. Things were going pretty well and at half way I had moved up into 8th, but that’s when Sclebin passed me (he was in the chase pack that left T2 15 seconds behind me). I tried to go with him, but my left hamstring said, “nope.” The pace didn’t feel too bad, but I was limited by the fear of cramping up, which could reduce me to a walk within moments. I decided to take the 3rd lap a bit more conservative and then go for it on the final lap.

    My "please don't cramp" face. (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    My “please don’t cramp” face. (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    As I rounded the penultimate 180 degree turn, I tried to lean forward a bit more and really push it. My hamstring seemed to be cooperating, but Sclebin was really moving up ahead and I wasn’t able to bring him in. With maybe 800m to go, our bike mechanic Brian Hughes yelled that the athlete ahead of me was in 5th place. Top-5 is in the money. I thought for a moment how much more rewarding this race would be if I was able to dig a little deeper at the end to pass him. I flew by him with about 300m left, and to my relief, he didn’t put up a fight. I crossed the finish line, looked back, and then saw the athlete I had been chasing turnaround the cone and set out for another lap — he wasn’t in 5th place! After getting some fluids down, Luke came to congratulate me and confirmed that I was indeed 5th place.

    Overall

    5th in 1:53:10, 2:12 behind 1st Results

    I am very happy with this race. Early in the year, when I wanted to travel to Florida for some ITU racing, Paulo said, “When you race, you will be ready to swim with the pack. We aren’t going to rush it.” I was patient and focused on improving everyday I got in the water with him on deck, and together we made that happen. Still, this race is more of a step in the right direction than an I-have-arrived performance. ITU swims are going to continue to be a struggle, for quite a while I think, but I now have the confidence knowing that I have done it before.

    Carried this trophy on two buses and four flights over the course of 33 hours! (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    Carried this trophy on two buses and four flights over the course of 33 hours! (Photo by: MundoTRI)

    I would like to thank USAT, Andy Schmitz and the rest of the High Performance crew for sending me down to Brazil for this experience. PATCO is a double points race, and I shot up the rankings now to 11th American and well inside the top-200 in the world. Luke Farkas also deserves a shout out for letting the lead pack go and dropping back to help Sean and I. Without his early flat, I have no doubts we would have caught the front group, and with the 3rd fastest run on the day, I think a chance at a medal would have been strong. Also thank you to ENVE and Hypster.com for supporting me.

    Now I am staying in Spain for a month. I will be racing in Geneva this weekend at a European Cup race and in a few more weeks at the Tiszjauvaros World Cup in Hungary.

  • Buffalo ITU Pan American Cup – USAT Elite Nationals

    Posted on September 25th, 2012

    I am currently in Terminal 5 of London’s Heathrow airport as I sit down to finally write this race report. As there is no free wifi available here, by the time this is posted I will be safely back home in California. This trip began on Thursday the 13th, and has taken me through three states and five different countries on two continents, completing the first half of my season-ending racing extravaganza, known as the “PD World Tour.”

    Before I go into the details of my trip to Europe for Duathlon World Championships, I need to wrap up my thoughts on USA Elite Nationals at the Buffalo ITU Pan American Cup from a week ago. Duathlon Worlds had some of the very best multisport athletes competing, but Buffalo was a much bigger race for me for a few reasons.

    My parents and I took off for Buffallo, NY on Thursday and got into town late that night after a quick stop in Baltimore. Once we got to our hotel room I went straight to bed and decided to worry about setting up the bike in the morning.

    Apple cinnamon pancakes were an excellent choice.

    After a delicious breakfast at the hotel restaurant, I got my things together and headed to the course. It was fairly windy and not fairly cool. Nearly every race I have done this season, with the exception of the Desert Classic Duathlon in March and Escape from Alcatraz in June, has been quite warm. In the warmer conditions it seems like a lot of the guys without a running background really blow up on the run, which is helpful when you are chasing from behind. Still, I wasn’t too worried about any lost advantage and welcomed the different conditions.

    I rode a few laps of the bike course first and then got in a short swim. The bike course was very flat with about 90% on very smooth roads and the remaining 10% was still not too bad. The water was quite choppy and appeared to be too warm for wetsuits. One of these days I will get a wetsuit legal ITU swim, and I will be ready for it!

    Shortly after the course recon I went to the athlete briefing. Pour on the nerves. The athlete briefing is always when I first start to feel pre-race butterflies. Seeing all your competition for the first time and going through all the race maps and procedures suddenly makes it seem so real. Yes, you really are racing tomorrow.

    Brianna and I at Niagara Falls (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    For dinner we decided to head just 20 miles north to Canada to see Niagara Falls with Brianna Blanchard and her dad. What an amazing site! A storm had rolled into the area, bringing rain and some more wind with it, but it cleared up shortly after we got to the falls. I found the water, and the good company, to be both soothing and distracting, and felt ready to go for the big race.

    Like most ITU races, the start time was in the afternoon at 2:00. I had the best night of sleep I had had all week, snoozing 10+ hours. After an omelet and gathering all my things together, it was approaching noon and time to head over to the course. The sky was dark grey, and the wind persisted, but the rain had held off all morning and wouldn’t be an issue the rest of the day.

    Because of the cooler temperatures, I chose to warm up a little more than I usually do. Before most triathlons my warm up on land is limited to a light jog and a few drills. This time I hopped on my bike for 10 minutes or so before checking in and then jogged around with Dan Feeney and Justin Roeder before we were allowed to get in the water for swim warm ups. Justin was making his elite debut, and coming from a D1 running background like myself, I felt compelled to give him a few pointers. I am still no expert – I certainly don’t have all the answers – but I was in his shoes less than a year ago and I could relate to the feelings and emotions he was feeling.

    Trying to keep warm before being called to the start line. (photo: Laura Pedersen)

    The wind was holding steady around 20 mph, bringing goosebumps to my wet skin after the “warm up.” I dried off with a towel and put a jacket on, but was still shivering as I waited for my start number to be called. Some of the athletes warmed up in a wetsuit, despite the race being above the 20°C threshold, just to be sure they would stay warm. This seems like a great idea, and I considered doing this, but I didn’t want to feel faster in the warm up than I would during the race. Maybe I am overthinking this and putting too much emphasis on “feel” for the water? Certainly something to consider next time there are cooler temperatures for a non-wetsuit swim.

    Once “#18 Jason Pedersen” was announced on the PA, I jogged down to the pontoon and found my way to the rightmost available spot. I ended getting a great place with Kevin McDowell to my left (a strong swimmer) and Kaleb VanOrt two spots over to my right. Directly right of my starting position was a cleat that was marked off, giving me and Kaleb some extra space once we dove in.

    Everyone looking chilly on the start line. (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    Swim

    34th in 20:34, 1:21 behind the fastest

    I got a good start and found clean, open water for at least 15 strokes. Things were already shaping up much better than Kelowna, despite not being able to see too far ahead thanks to the big chop. In fact, the chop was much bigger than I had anticipated. It was really throwing me around, so I focused on a quick turnover and finding some feet to help me break some of these waves. A few meters to my right there was a strong pack that I knew contained all the race favorites, but they were going too quick and were already too far ahead for me to bridge up. I was beginning to worry that I had missed out once again and was in for another solo swim, but as I neared the first turn buoy, the pack slowed considerably and I was able to latch on around the next buoy and comfortably stay on some feet as we turned back for the end of lap 1.

    Coming out of the water I saw Dan Feeney was right ahead of me, and ahead of him was a string of guys. You’re not going solo today! My mom yelled that I was 50” off the leaders as I charged back in for the 2nd lap. Dan, unfortunately, had a poor dive back into the water, slowing a bit. I knew I had to stay aggressive and couldn’t wait so I went around him. A small gap opened up. This is your race! Close that gap! My coach Ian Murray had prepped me mentally for these situations where you have to give it all you got, well beyond a sustainable effort. If you don’t seize those opportunities, the race is lost, and it doesn’t really matter how much you saved in the tank. The rest of that lap I did whatever I had to to stay on those feet.

    Coming out of the water and into T2 it was more strung out than I was hoping. I knew I needed a quick transition and would have to go “hairy hard” (more on that term to come in my next blog…) once I mounted the bike to bridge up to a group. Still, I was really pleased with the swim. After losing 50” to the leaders on the first lap, I was able to limit my losses to 31” on the 2nd. I was able to draft throughout the swim and never found myself isolated. Overall, a huge improvement over Kelowna.

    Bike

    21st in 1:02:11, 2:03 behind the fastest

    Out on the bike I went to work, getting my feet in my shoes quickly, and went around the guy that I had followed in the swim (sorry, bud). The course had a number of 90 degree turns and two 180’s per lap, giving me opportunities to see up the road and judge how far back I was. There was a group of about 8 or 9 guys 25” ahead forming, giving me a target to aim for. On the first couple laps the gap opened up to 30-35”, but then I began to reel them in. Each lap I got more and more people cheering for me. As much as it sucks to ride solo in draft legal races, it is great to have people watching get behind you and show some appreciation for the effort you are making. It definitely helps keep you motivated while chasing.

    Finally, about 5 laps in I think, I bridged up to the group! After time trialing the last 100 km’s or so of my ITU races, just catching any pack at all was a victory. I took this opportunity to drink some fluids, take a Gu and rest a bit on the back of the pack. That lasted about two minutes. I felt the pace was slowing. My aspirations for this race were further up the road. I didn’t want to just race those in that pack; I wanted to give myself a chance to catch a few of the guys in the packs up ahead. It seems not everyone at the continental cup level shares my aspirations and they are content to just sit in and not do any work. To Hell with them, I said, and back into the wind I went. Seeing another motivated rider made a difference to a few guys, and four of us shared most of the work for the rest of the bike.

    Run

    7th in 33:20, 1:36 behind the fastest

    In terms of race execution, T2 is where I made my biggest mistake. I made an effort to work the final kilometer or so of the bike to get into transition at the front of my group. I got my feet out of my shoes without any trouble, got out of the saddle and sprinted to create a small gap, and was first off the bike. Racked my bike, helmet off, shoes on, and that’s when I noticed a problem. While setting up transition before the race, I often put Body Glide or Aquaphor on the inside of my shoes so they slip on a little better. I had put a tube of Aquaphor in my right shoe so that I wouldn’t forget to put in on before the race. Not only did I not use the Aquaphor, I actually left the tube in my right shoe! When I slipped my right foot in, my toes jammed into the tube. Oh shit. I actually thought about just running with it in the shoe for a moment, but that was a terrible idea. I took off the shoe, threw the tube in my transition box, and then put the shoe back on. All that took just enough time for everyone in the group to pass me.

    I gave up free time with that rookie mistake, but what I was most upset about was letting Canadian Alexander Hinton go. From past races I knew Alexander was a great runner, and wanted to try to stick on his back in the windy conditions. By the time I got out of T2, he had a bit of a gap that I was never able to close.

    Instead, I slowly worked my way through the group on the first lap until I caught another Canadian, Andrew Bysice. There was a short ~200m section with a stiff headwind, so I tucked in behind him. Apparently Andrew wasn’t too happy with me drafting, so he made a sharp turn off to the left side, putting me back into the wind. I slowly veered left to get back into his draft. Just as I got behind him, he cut hard right. I slowly went to the right. He went left. This continued for the entire stretch. It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen in my running career! Here we are in like 22nd place, just 3km into a 10km run, with the leaders gaining more and more time on us with each step. I couldn’t believe Andrew would bother trying to shake me at this point in the race. We have bigger fish to fry! As we made a right turn, the wind became more of a crosswind, so I moved up onto his side. That’s when a strange situation became, well, kind of awkward…

    As I ran up on his side, Andrew Bysice actually reached over, grabbed the string of the zipper on the back of my suit, and unzipped it! He unzipped my suit! What the hell?! I couldn’t believe what was going on! He said something like, “It will help cool you off.” So now after literally going out of his way to not allow me to draft off him, he wants to help me? And remember, I started this race shivering! Keeping cool was not really my biggest worry. I said, “let’s just work together,” and went by him. Shortly after, he fell back, and I returned my focus back to the race.

    This video shows our little drafting battle thanks to a great sequence of photos my dad took.

    Zipped (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    Unzipped (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    For the remainder of the race I tried to pick off guys from the two packs up ahead. Most of the guys up ahead were running fairly well, and the gap coming off the bike was just too much to make up. In the final 100m or so, I was able to sprint past one last guy and finish in 17th place.

    Overall

    17th in 1:57:31, 4:47 behind the fastest

    Photo: Erik Pedersen

    I came into this race ranked 18th, so I ended up placing one spot higher than that which is always good, but I had higher expectations. Taking out international competition, I was 10th best American at my first elite national championship, which sounds pretty good, especially considering I was only 5th at age group nationals a year ago. However, there were some very talented Americans that skipped this race that would have bumped me further back had they shown up. I did show some improvements here, especially in the swim, but I am still not quite cutting it at this level.

    As far as points go, I scored the same number of points I did back in March in Clermont with a 17th place finish there. Unfortunately, ITU only counts three Continental Cup races on the points list. Since this was my fourth Continental Cup, I needed to place 16th or higher to improve my ranking. Maxing out on races to score is a good problem to have. I have shown some good consistency in my first professional season, and I am proud of that.

    Photo: Erik Pedersen

    Results

    As always thanks to mom and dad and to my wheel sponsor ENVE!

  • Buffalo, Nancy, San Diego, Cancun

    Posted on September 12th, 2012

    Beginning tomorrow I will kick off a four week block of racing that will take me to the East Coast, France and Mexico. Training has been great since my race in Kelowna, including my second and third biggest weeks of the year. Running intensity was the highest it has been since I finished up at NAU over a year ago. Swimming continues to be a year-round focus and I have swam some encouraging sets in the last few weeks. But training means nothing if you can’t put it together on race day, and I plan to show the gains I have made in these next four races.

    Saturday is the Buffalo ITU Pan American Cup, which also serves as USAT Elite Nationals for the second year in a row. If I beat my 17th placing from Clermont back in March, I can further increase my ranking on the ITU Points list. This will be no small task, as I’m going into the race ranked 18th. There are guys ahead of me that I have beat this year, and I know I can do it again if I execute well. This is probably the deepest field I have raced in yet, which I think will be a good thing for me as there should be more people to work with coming out of the swim. Start list

    In anticipation of Duathlon Worlds, I have been hitting the track regularly. This picture was taken by my dad at a brick session at Moorpark College.

    After Buffalo, I will be staying in Boston for a few days with fellow professional triathletes Chris Baird and Brianna Blanchard. They are both from Ventura County area, and I actually ran against Chris throughout high school and while he was at UPenn, so it will be nice to spend some time with them. Chris and I then fly to Luxembourg and bus over to Nancy, France for Duathlon World Championships held on September 22. I applied to represent team USA at this event several months ago, thinking it would be a great opportunity to get international racing experience. However, I am committed to my long-term development as a triathlete, and for me, at this point, that means a lot of swimming. There is no swim portion of a duathlon (run-bike-run), so I can’t say that I have had perfect preparation for this event, but I will go out there and do my best and see I can’t get a piece of the €80,000 prize purse! A huge thank-you to my sponsor ENVE Wheels for helping me get to France and putting me on the fastest wheels in the bunch.

    From Luxembourg I will fly back to LAX and spend a few days at home before hitting the road for a quick trip down to San Diego for the F1 Triathlon. This is a crazy fast format of racing, and I’m really excited to be accepted as an entry for this event. It takes place on Coronado Island, and consists of a 300m ocean swim, a 10-lap 4-mile bike, and a 5-lap 1.5-mile run. After finishing the run, you go to T3! Take off your shoes, run back into the water, and do it all over again. If you are in the area on September 29th, I highly recommend you come out and watch. It is going to be a great spectator course, and I know the race director is hoping this will be the start of a permanent race series in the US. Back in the day, these races were quite popular in Australia. Check out the video:

     

    Finally, my last race of the season will be my first ever ITU World Cup in Cancun, Mexico on October 7th. That I was able to qualify for a World Cup race in my first season as a professional triathlete is a great accomplishment and I plan on celebrating by sticking my nose in the thick of things with the big boys — there are at least ten London Olympians on the start list. More on this race to come, as I obviously have other things to worry about first!

    Be sure to check my twitter (@jasonpedersen) or my Facebook over the next few weeks with updates from the races. If I get a chance to blog, there will be links on those accounts for you to stay updated.

  • Dallas ITU Pan American Cup

    Posted on June 6th, 2012

    Saturday was my third ITU continental cup and second this year at the Dallas Pan American Cup. This race is one of only three continental cups in the US in 2012, so there was basically no choice in whether I should attend or not, regardless of the warnings I got about racing in Dallas in June. The conditions will be hot for everyone, right?

    I left Simi Valley on Thursday with both my mom and dad. I’m so lucky to have such supportive parents that are so interested in what I am doing. They have no background of any kind in triathlon, but because I’m getting involved in it, they are too. They still ask, “so are you riding your road bike or the black one at this race?” (i.e. draft legal and non-draft) but they are picking it up pretty well for a couple of old folks. We got in pretty late on Thursday night and went straight to bed. We stayed at the race site hotel which was very convenient as our rooms overlooked the swim course and the transition area was in the hotel parking lot.

    USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    Friday I did the pre-race thing, riding the course, meeting up with some of the newest Collegiate Recruitment Program recruits and swimming. I went for a short, two mile shakeout run later in the day before attending the pro meeting.

    Saturday had a slow start as we didn’t race until 2:45 pm. I had a couple bowls of cereal while I watched the F1 and Elite Development Races’ (EDR) swims. Chris Baird joined me around 10:30 after he dropped off his girlfriend at the race site for the women’s pro race at 12:00. We sat around in the room for a while before grabbing some turkey sandwiches and eventually making it down to the athlete’s lounge. After checking in and setting up our transitions, the former D1 runners went out for a quick warm up jog.

    Myself, Chris Baird, Henry Hagenbuch and Dan Feeney all ran NCAA Division 1. (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    It was already well over 90 degrees, so we didn’t go too long. Then it was off to the swim start to get a swim warm up in. I did one complete loop (750m) and checked what landmarks to sight off of as I turned around each buoy.

    ITU racing is much more formal than most triathlons. Before we got in the water for the deep-water start, they lined us up according to our ranking and introduced us one by one. It is quite nerve-racking waiting for your name to be called so you can jump in the water and find a spot on the starting line. I was just behind fellow Collegiate Recruit Kalen Darling, who is one of the fastest swimmers in USA Triathlon, so I lined up next to him thinking I could follow his feet for the beginning of the swim.

    Swim

    39th in 19:31 (2:11 behind the fastest)

    Washing machine (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    Well I was right about Kalen being the fastest swimmer. Unfortunately, as the race started, I was not able to get on his feet and just got mixed up in the washing machine. Luckily, I didn’t get beat up too bad — no kicks or punches to the head this time. After rounding the first buoy about 300m in, I could see there was a group ahead of me, but they continued to pull away from me throughout the swim. I exited the water right behind Ahmed Zaher of Egypt (who helped put on the race and is apparently 48 years old! Not a good sign…) and could see the last of the main pack rolling out of transition as I came in.

    Immediately after the race I thought my swim was pretty much a failure. I had been working so hard at it, and it still wasn’t good enough. After looking a little closer, it actually was a pretty good swim for me. Comparing my swim times with the seven guys that raced here and at Myrtle Beach, I was 1:01 faster this time. Kalen beat me by 3:31 in Myrtle Beach and only 2:10 this time. In Myrtle Beach I was way off the back of the stragglers of the main pack; this time I was one of the stragglers. Progress.

    T1

    :53 (:07 behind the fastest)

    Photo: Erik Pedersen

    As I entered T1 it confirmed that I was well behind most of the field — there weren’t many bikes left. I had a fairly smooth transition and was on my way onto the bike. My T1 time was just about in the middle of the field, which is OK, but I’m leaving time on the table and I can do better.

    Bike

    3rd in 1:01:59 (:26 behind the fastest)

    Taylor Reid and I doing work. (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    Before the race I opted to put on my shorty aero bars, and I’m glad I did. After I hopped on the bike, I hammered for a minute or so before sitting on someone’s wheel while I got my feet in my shoes. I quickly caught up to Taylor Reid of Canada and we did a great job working together. Through the first three laps or so we were flying by guys left and right. A few of them would try to jump on the train, but they weren’t able to hold our wheel. The course was very flat and straight with two 180 degree turns at either end of the course. This allowed us to continually mark our progress.

    Up front, a large group of about 20 guys had formed. About a minute back there was a smaller group of about six working together. When Taylor and I caught that group, we immediately went to the front and did most of the work. It was clear that this group was a bit stronger than the riders we had passed on the first couple laps and we decided to get in their pace line. I was told a couple of times I was pulling “too hard” and I was splitting up the group. I felt like we weren’t going hard enough and, frankly, felt like we didn’t need those guys if they weren’t going to pull their weight.

    The wind was really picking up at this point and, combined with the 97 degree heat, made for unmotivated riders in the lead group. Each lap we were given the time gap to the big pack and each lap the time came down. After hearing each update it was extremely motivating and guys in the group would yell encouragement to each other. “We’re eating them up!” one guy yelled. We eventually got the lead group in our sights and decided that everyone just needed to take one more hard pull. We caught them just as we started the 7th lap. I think I may have let out a loud yelp out of sheer excitement.

    Caught the main pack! (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    I thought I should just sit in for the rest of the ride and get ready for the run. I was amazed at how slow these guys were going, especially into the head wind, and just kind of worked my way up through the pack. I was fourth or fifth wheel as people started taking their shoes off in preparation for the start of the run. A few guys passed me just before the dismount, but was still happy with where I was at, about 11th or 12th in the pack.

    T2

    :44 (:07 behind the fastest)

    Running into transition with a big group of guys was a new experience for me. There was a lot more going on than I am used to. I racked my bike, got everything in my bucket, shoes on and out of transition without any collisions with the other guys.

    Run

    6th in 37:09 (2:25 behind the fastest)

    It tastes so good when it hits the lips. (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    I started the run in 14th place behind a group of familiar names. I was so excited to be in the mix for the first time in an ITU race heading into the run! I was running behind Barret Brandon, Kevin Collington, William Huffman, Derek Oskutis… several guys with a lot more experience than me. The heat was pretty oppressive, so I decided to tuck in behind these guys for a bit. My goal heading into the race was top-15, so I was in perfect position.

    The run course was setup identical to the bike course with no shade and two 180’s per lap where there were aid stations. At each turn around I grabbed a bottle of water, splashed a bit in my mouth, threw most of it on my chest and poured the rest on my head. The run was basically a race from aid station to aid station, trying to get through those few minutes in between as comfortably as possible. Each time I got water, I could tell my pace picked up while my body got a respite from the baking heat.

    After a mile or so I felt the group I was running with was going a bit too slow, so I slowly pulled away behind Alex Hinton of Canada. I knew this would be a race of attrition, so I didn’t want to push it too hard, and in fact, this was probably one of the easiest 10k’s I’ve ever raced because I spent so much of it holding myself back. By the fourth and final lap however, I was hurting and I was happy to see I had a big gap behind me. I tried to surge with 1 km to go, but my hamstring started to ball up just that little bit and I thought, ‘Take it easy. Don’t blow this.’  I finally stumbled across the line in 6th place, my best placing in an ITU race by 11 spots!

    Leading a small pack on the run in about 7th place. (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    Overall

    6th in 2:00:21, 2:25 behind 1st

    Results

    After the race I was completely wrecked. The heat had cooked me and I spent the rest of the day and night with the worst case of tempo tummy. Of course, it was all worth it. While I was doing a lot of moaning and groaning, I was grinning like and idiot inside. I really wanted to have a good race here as a sort of validation that I am headed down a successful path and I am not completely crazy.

    This race has me more motivated than ever to continue to work on my swim. I was lucky that I had a good group to work with on the bike and that the front group was unmotivated to ride fast in the wind and heat. When I got out on the run I was aware of that and told myself I had to take advantage of this opportunity, because I don’t know when the next time I will come off the bike in the main pack. With a better swim, I can make sure that this happens more often. Right now I am a very competitive triathlete, but I’m one-dimensional. I can only race well at one type of race, and to ensure that I’m successful at all levels in this sport, I need to be able to adapt to different race situations. The best way to do that is with a better swim.

    A little update on my world ranking on the ITU Points list… I gained 135.44 points for my finish which moved me up 135 places to 238th. I moved up 10 places among Americans to 22nd. These points will be important when I try to move up from Continental Cup racing to the World Cup, and eventually World Triathlon Series, level.

    I want to thank my mom and dad for continuing to support me; Barb Lindquist for all her help with the Collegiate Recruitment Program; USAT and their partnership with Rudy Project, TYR, Zipp and Blue Bicycles for all the great products they have given me; my coach Ian Murray and TTS; and finally the race officials and volunteers for putting on a great event — while I was racing and having fun they were being scorched by the sun.

    Trying to cool off. (photo: Erik Pedersen)

    Finally, a closing by Mike Spracklin of Rowing Canada (credit Andrew Russell for posting this video on his blog). It sums up where I am at right now very well.

    The best form of motivation is progress. If you see that doing the work that you are doing progresses you, than you’re motivated to keep doing it.