Monday, October 19, 2009


What a difference a week makes. Last week I raced the Palembang Asian Cup in Indonesia and was able to secure my first major win. This week I was a little further down the results finishing in 9th. When compared to my other results this season, 9th would have been ok, but after you have a paradigm-shifting performance, your views on what is “good” and what is “sub-par” begin to change.

Hong Kong is an incredible city. It is China, but it has been tempered, shaped, and molded by Western occupation into this entity that is unlike any other. It has amazing food, plenty of culture, world-renowned shopping, and arguably the best skyline in the world. It is an exciting and dynamic mix of cultures, and I just can’t seem to get enough of the city. Much like the city itself, the composition of men’s field boasted a broad range of international athletes from all over the globe. With several Beijing Olympians and World Cup winners, the field was not only diverse, but also highly competitive.

The race venue at the Hong Kong ITU race was also unique: it took place in Disneyland. The swim was in the ocean just outside the steps of the Disneyland Hotel. The bike traversed through the maze of roads exiting the park out toward a large bridge (read: hill) which we went up and down it seven times. The run was flat and went through the grounds as well. When you combined the speed of the swim, the hills on the bike, and the humid oven on the run you had one tough race!

The swim start was the dreaded in-water start. I got hit in the first stroke of the swim, and continued to get hit until I exited 1500 meters later. Despite this, I managed to swim well, and exited in the front pack of 6 containing the Polyansky Brothers, the Alterman Brothers, and Daniel Sapunov. We had a small break out of the water and worked hard the first few k’s of the bike to keep the gap, but were swallowed up by one chase pack, then another and then another. Coming into T2 almost the entire field had bridged up to the front pack.

After a little bauble into transition I ran hard to make up the ground I had lost, but I knew instantly that I was going to be in for a tough run. Unlike last week when I felt good the instant the run started, this week the legs felt heavy, and my stomach was giving me issues. I did what I could, ran hard to the end, and crossed the line in 9th place. It was a solid field, but I can’t help but be disappointed after the great result from the weekend before. The form and ability are there, but part of racing successfully on the ITU circuit is the ability to back up results week after week, no matter how the body feels.

Congratulations to Tony Moulai for a great win! Monsieur Moulai is looking quite fit heading in to the Huatulco Word Cup next month. As for me, this Asia trip was quite successful, and has set me up well for the rest of the season and into 2010. Now I am heading back to the USA to recover and to get ready for the Huatulco Word Cup on November 8th. Although the season is winding down, my fitness is solid, my motivation is high I and can’t wait to get to the next start line!

Here are some pics from Indonesia last week:

Junior and ITU podiums at Award Ceremony
suffering in the heat on the run

running out of T2

being interviewed by the governor of Sumatra


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

a win, a win, a win!

I just won my first ever pro race!!! And it was over Dmitry Polyanksy, which to me, is a huge deal. The support and emails have been awesome. I wrote a blog for the ITU website and they posted it here.

Here is a copy of what I wrote for them:

Traveling to and racing an ITU Asian Cup is often as much about the experience of the race as it is the race itself. It seems no matter how crazy the travel, unique the venue, or how spectacular the karaoke-singing race organizer is, there always seems to be several similar themes that these races share: an enthusiastic local organizing committee, huge community involvement, and wonderful athlete support. Last weekend’s 2009 Palembang ITU Asian Cup in Palembang, Indonesia was no different.

After a difficult first half of the season I found some good form heading into September and went looking to find some races. As the North American ITU racing scene had died down, the only choice was to head to Asia. I have raced here often and enjoy the different cultures and unique racing opportunities that are presented.

I arrived in Palembang after a nightmare five flights and 45 hours of travel. It may have been a nightmare, but it was a planned nightmare, as this was the quickest route from the US. I arrived tired, but excited about the prospect of racing. First up on Saturday was the Asian Aquathlon Championships. This event was the day before the triathlon, and consisted of a 1000m swim and a 2.5k run. It was a good way to ‘open up the system’ after all the travel. It was also good fun and I ended up second place behind Dmitry Polyansky from Russia, and felt good heading into Sunday’s triathlon.

Race day arrived, and I was ready to go. The swim was in a spring-fed lake named Lake Opi. It was very clean, but presented a few shocks to the system. Because Palembang, along with all of Indonesia sit in a very seismic region (Palembang is located on Sumatra and 500km away from the recent earthquake in Padang), this spring-fed lake had quite a bit more sulphur than usual. It was quite interesting climbing out of the water and feeling like your teeth were furry! In addition to this, there were also alligators! It was quite scary at first, but these ones were actually very small (about the length of your arm). I didn’t want to ask what happens to small alligators when they grow up. Big alligators!? Maybe that was some of the unique local cuisine we were sampling…

With a 6:30am start, the horn went off before you knew it, and we were off. I swam well, and exited the water very comfortably in the lead pack. Onto the bike a lead pack of five formed that included the Polyansky brothers, Dmitry and Igor. The bike was route consisted of simple out and backs, and our group was able to work well together and build on our advantage. As we rode the sun continued to heat up the road, and I knew it would be a hot one on the run.

I had a good transition and took off for a super-hot 10k in the sun. I like the heat, and felt really good so I pushed the pace right out of transition. Dmitry Polyansky was the only one to respond, and we ran stride for stride for the rest of the 10k. At 6k and 8k into the run Polyansky put two really strong surges in, but I was feeling great and was able to respond. I decided to wait to make my move until the finish. With 200m to go, I gave it all I had and was able to pull away and take the win! I had a few spare seconds to celebrate and really relished the moment. This was my first ITU victory, and I couldn’t have been happier. It was a great race for me, and really good confirmation of my recent training and form.

Afterwards we were treated like celebrities by the locals: there were hundreds of local children who clamored for our autographs, the governor of Sumatra hosted the awards dinner and reception for us, and the media seemed awestruck that people from Russia, Canada, USA, and all over the world would come to tiny Palembang to race a triathlon. Mark Sungkar, president of Indonesian Triathlon Federation and race organizer (and as evidenced at the awards party….karaoke super star!) put this event together to help boost local interest in the sport and to grow triathlon within Indonesia. Mark has a passion for triathlon, and it is evident in his determination to grow the sport in his corner of the world. Now I am off to Hong Kong to race next weekend, where I am sure another great race and adventure awaits!

I will post some pics, and video from the race shortly....thanks for reading!