Rio prep is in full swing, and that means all sorts of hot and humid training. It started off with the second Major League Tri race in Sarasota Florida. These races are starting to build a following, and people are starting to line up for substitutions for any injured MLT athletes that can’t race. Personally, I think I can speak for just about everyone involved when I say these things are a blast. I will go into more race detail, but post race is just as fun. This time around we had a great opener for the headliner Russell Dickerson, the Daisy Dukes. The party rolls on for quite awhile too, but there is always a group that heads out for a long run in the morning. I may only be at these races for just over 48 hours, but I am definitely making the most of them!
In the weeks leading up to the race, my team of Robbie Deckard, Heather Lendway, and Calah Schlabach learned that Calah would most likely be unable to race in Sarasota. Thankfully, she let the organizers know early, and there was no problem finding a substitution! The Temple Toros would not be deterred. We would definitely miss Calah, but we had a race to win. Our substitution was Kaitlin Donner who lived nearby and has been very successful on the ITU circuit.
I was pumped to race an actual triathlon this time. Unfortunately, the last race had a lot of bad luck and ended up being a duathlon, but this time we were in for the real deal! These super sprints are my jam, and I love getting to race them! So by race day, I was ready for some fast racing in some pretty steamy weather (Florida in the summer is a miserable place…and I was in Tucsonwhen it was over 110F).
Kaitlin led off our relay and put us in the race from the beginning. There was a bit of back and forth during the race, but that was to be expected in a race. Robbie Deckard was our next guy to go off, and he was able to keep us within striking distance. The heat had taken a bit of a toll on him, and he came into the exchange zone in fourth. He got the job done though, and Heather took off on a mission to get me close enough to try to win. Heather had a very solid swim, and an amazing bike to bring back some time. She tagged off to me in fourth, but I had been plotting with one of the guys just ahead of me (John Rassmusen) to try to catch Sean Jefferson and John O'neil who were 1 and 2 up ahead.
I am very confident in my swim right now and went out very hard. My goal was to catch up to John R and then work together to real in the other two guys. The swim went better than expected, and I ended up catching both John R and John O'neil before the swim exit with Sean only about 10 or so seconds ahead. I knew John O'neil would be dangerous on the run so I changed my game plan (sorry John R), and decided to attack and put distance between me and the Johns asap. Sean saw I had a gap and waited for me to catch. After that, we worked beautifully together for the few mile bike and had a large lead coming into T2. I could tell by the end of the bike that we were both feeling each other out a bit. I know Sean is a great runner, and I was unsure how the run would play out between us. As we came into T2 I had a bit of a gap that happened when Sean was taking off his shoes. I was able to keep that gap out onto the run, and I settled into a really solid pace, but wanted to save a little bit because I knew Sean has some good foot speed. I ended up holding the gap though and the Temple Toros were crowned champion! I also was able to take home the fastest split of the day.
After Sarasota I had a quick trip back to Tucson, but was in the car and on my way to slightly cooler temps and much more altitude. My plan was to get in some solid training in Santa Fe with Ryan Bolton (coach), but my first stop was in Colorado springs. I had the opportunity to do a heat assessment there to see how I would handle worse case conditions for Rio. I was able to spend the week at the OTC and get in some solid training around this test.
It was a great opportunity to be able to do this test. I got measurements of everything from core temp to running efficiency (oscillation, stride rate, etc). I was surrounded by great minds too with Lindsay Hyman running the test, and Bobby Mcgee making the trip down to see the test and also work on my run form a bit. I am extremely lucky to have the support that USAT provides. It truly is high performance! The test was a success, and after a solid weekend of training, I was back in Santa Fe putting in some work!
I am just finishing up my time in Santa Fe, and will head back to Tucson for a short time before my last race before Rio, Hamburg WTS. It should be a fast and furious race with the Olympics around the corner, and I am excited to test my fitness!