Thursday, May 07, 2009

rough day in the islands

St Croix 2009 was not quite the race I was hoping for. First off, let me say that the island is amazing. It has such a great feel to it, and is really beautiful. I can unserstand why so many people come back year after year. That said, this is an incredibly tough race. Wildflower and this race are always on the same weekend, and I often would look at and compare results. There is no comparison: St Croix is tougher. Rumor was that this year was an "easier" year with very little wind. That was made up for with hills, hills, heat, and humidity.
Pre-race was island style: laid-back and chill. I had a couple days to rest up and relax before toeing the line this past Sunday. On race day, I was calm and excited to race. I was a little anxious for the swim as there were quite a few fast swimmers in the men's pro field. I started the swim smooth and in control and sat in the lead pack very, very comfortably for the entire swim. It was perfect. My HR was low, and I was sitting in 3rd wheel just chilling in the water. I wish all my ITU swims could be that easy. I exited the water in 4th and made my way to transition.

I hopped on the bike and took should i say pedaled. I felt pretty bad from the start of the bike, and struggled
immeadiately. The first 15 miles I kept ralphing every time I would drink anything. My
stomach settled around mile 20 and I was able to down some liquids and gels. Stomach issues done, but bueno. My back started to hurt around mile 25-30. I ignored it for a while, but it got worse and worse. By mile 35, pedaling hard in the aero position would shoot pains up my lower back. It just kept getting worse, and I was getting slower and slower. By around mile 45 I couldnt even get in the aerobars and my back was spasming. I decided to call it a day. I was no longer racing, just soft-pedaling back home. Not how I wanted to go out in St Croix.
Looking back I think several things caused this to happen. 1)I was riding a road bike. Not the smartest idea for this race. 2)My position in front was too low and aggressive for the distance. 3)Probably most importantly, I didnt spend enough time training in my aerobars before the race. Doing 5-10min repeats the week of the race in your new aerobars does not prepare you for 2.5hrs of solid time-trialing in them. Lessons learned. I definitely want to go back next year and redeem myself for the race. All I can do know is put my head back down and train for the next race. In 2 weeks I will be toing the line at the ITU Pan-American Championships in Oklahoma City. First ITU of the year makes me a little nervous, but my swim at St. Croix gives me a bit of confidence leading in. Should be a great race!! Here are some pics from the race: