Wednesday, June 08, 2011

girl shorts, kimchi, yellow mountain, and ATX

It is already June. Crazy.No, I have not been injured....just not blogging. Instead of giving a play by play of the last 3 months, I will just do it in rapid-fire succession:

Moololaba World Cup, big training block, back-to-back Continental Cups in Asia, Lifetime Fitness Series-Capital of Texas, and finally back to training.

There is 3 months for ya! What follows below is a slightly longer version of the past few weeks.

Here is a pretty picture of the Moo'ba beach...I have not so pretty remembrances of the actual race
After Mooloaba WC and the disappointment with the result there, I came back to Texas to put the disappointment behind me and get in some hard work. The positive thing from the race in Mooloolaba was that it exposed some big holes in my fitness and training. It has to be one of the hardest courses on the ITU circuit, and with the best field in years, there was nowhere to hide.
I needed some points to get into later season World Cups, so I looked at my options for ITU races. I can't stand Mexico, so Asia was the only other choice. The first race was in Seoul.....
It was pretty similar to the ITU WCS course last year: cold swim, technical bike, and a run on the footpath. I had a great swim and came out in about 8-9th position and after a good transition made the initial "front pack" of 6. For Asia, this race was stacked. Tim Don, Reto Hug, Sapunov, Gaag, and 60 others made it a full field. The bike pace was on from the first pedal stroke, and it never let up. It was by far one of the hardest bike rides I have ever done. I can only imagine how hard the WCS bike was last year....

It made me feel a little better when I was riding next to Reto on the lap 6 and he was slobbering on himself gasping for breath trying to close a gap. I started to fade a bit towards the end of the bike, and when I got to the run, my stomach was toast. I struggled through 5k's or so of cramps, and pulled the plug. I do not like dnf'ing, but I was trying to play it smart as I felt horrible, and had another race in 6 days. On to China.

This time around was in Huangshan, China in the Anhui province. The "Yellow Mountain" is a popular destination choice for Chinese tourists. The scenery was nice and there were lots of green mountains and small villages. I have raced in China quite a bit and edible/race-week approved food is sometimes tough to find.....but not on this trip. Enter Breadman. I am convinced Breadman saved my life, or at least my stomach. Delicious naan-style bread made in a trash-can barrel right in front of you. Can street food get any better? Couple that with oreos and coke and you have a 3 course meal!

This is the lake....the water was cool and clean (The mountains don't look yellow to me, though)Traffic Chaos. They don't obey the traffic lights, honk incessantly, and often drive on the wrong side of the road, but stand in the middle of the intersection and you somehow will not get run over. Probably.The week between Seoul and China was tough. I felt terrible all week, and was wondering how the race would play out. For every session I was tired and the legs ached. I tried to push it towards the back of my mind and relax. There was a great group of guys racing in China and it was nice to chill and commiserate with the other internationals. I shared a room with Jens Toft fromDenmark. Legend.That guy puts out more watts than his car (which incidentally is a smart car, so that is probably true). The Aussie boys are always a good laugh and then there is Dickie Nicholls. He probably deserves his own post......

Race day came I was nervously confident. Jimmy Seears and I swam next to each other for the first 300m and then had a had a bit if a shocker when we exited the water on lap one in pack 3! Hit the panic button and swim for your life! We clawed our way back up and barely latched on to the end of the first pack running up to T1. Crisis averted. We all worked really well on the bike and had a 1:15 lead on the chasers. Onto the run I felt solid and ran just off the back on the lead group of 6. I tried to bridge the 10s gap or so several times, but just couldnt and was stuck in no-man's land. In the end, I got outsprinted and finished up 8th.

To add to the insult of being outsprinted, the Chinese gentleman that beat me was wearing biking gloves. Not kidding. I was less that 30s out of 3rd so we were all pretty tightly bunched. So close. I am happy with how things went, and I also feel that my running is coming back around and heading in the right direction! As coach says, "no amount of training will give you as much confidence as a good result."

I came back to the US, recovered for a few days and then hopped into the Capital of Texas Triathlon. It was a great fun to do a low-pressure non-drafting race, and even with getting mis-directed in the swim, it was a great day to race in front of the fam and friends in Austin. I finished 16th.....still have to work on my time-trialling if I want to do any of more of that stuff!

Next up in Monroe Continental Cup just outside of Seattle, Washington in 2 weeks. My head is down and I am ready to go race hard. Happy training yall!