On Saturday I raced Oceanside 70.3 in California. Wow! What an experience. It was my first time ever going to California. Man was it ever beautiful. It was also my first time ever going to a race by myself. I was a bit nervous about the logistics of renting a car, navigating from San Diego to Oceanside, booking a hotel, etc. but it all went smoothly. I was also fortunate in that my coach Barrie Shepley drove all the way from Tucson to support both myself and my C3-High Performance team-mate Taylor Reid.
It’s amazing what a year’s worth of experience can do. Last year going into St. George 70.3 I was a nervous wreck. I was very intimidated by the competition and didn’t really feel like I belonged there. As a result, I finished 18th nearly 10 minutes behind the winner Jan Frodeno. This time round I felt a lot more confident. I felt like I belonged there. I felt like I was part of the game.
I had a smooth morning and transition set up. I created an itemized list containing all of the lessons I learned about this aspect of triathlon last year, and consulted this list many times throughout the morning. At about 6:30 I got into the water for a short warmup.
I have mixed emotions about the swim. I’m a significantly different swimmer now than I was four months ago. In the pool, I am swimming faster than I ever have, and doing it with less energy expenditure. My swim at Oceanside doesn’t reflect that. Perhaps having not swam in open water since October played a role in this. I went out very cautiously so that I didn’t go anaerobic. With hindsight, perhaps I went out a bit too cautiously. After about 200m I found myself leading a group of about 5 people. Unfortunately, this is not where I wanted to be. I’m not down about it though as I feel that I will only improve upon that performance as the season progresses.
Once out onto the bike I found out that I was about 4:30 behind the leaders. I knew this was going to be very difficult to overcome in such a talented field. From start to finish I biked very hard. I’m not sure what came over me, but I didn’t really use the power meter much. I rode very recklessly. Just after mile 37 I caught the lead pack. I knew there was a steep descent coming up at mile 38 and so it was either pass them now, or wait a few miles. Despite having worked very hard to get there, I decided to continue on and immediately go for the pass. The pack was about six guys large, so it took me a 500w+ surge for over 60 seconds to get to the front. Once through the section with a 35mph speed limit, I continued onwards as there was one more person in front to catch. At about mile 52 I made the pass and was in the lead. I knew the final three miles were quite technical. My handling skills aren’t the greatest, and I didn’t want to risk falling, so I rode very cautiously. In that time, the lead pack erased the 50 second lead I had built and about seven of us came off the bike together.
I neglected to put socks on in transition, so was first out onto the run course. It became apparent very quick that I had not rode smart. My legs were very heavy. Jan Frodeno pulled up next to me about half a mile into the run. I literally had spent the last two months dreaming of this moment every day on my treadmill, so there was no way I was going to let him pass without a fight. He handed me a cup of water and we bumped elbows…it was even better than I had imagined. Unfortunately though 5k was all I had in me. He opened a gap, and then immediately the elastic snapped. I then entered survival mode. The rest of the run was a struggle. At mile 12 Andy Potts pulled up next to me. I went with him for a few steps, but then he opened a gap on me as well and I had no response. I ended up crossing the line in 3rd place in a time of 3:49:19. Here is a link to the results.
Overall, I had an awesome experience at Oceanside 70.3. I can’t say it is the smartest I have ever raced, but the lessons I learned will surely pay dividends in the future. I’d say my best race last year was in St. George. That race also happened to be my worst placing all year. I don’t judge a race by the result itself, but by the value the race has for future development. I would say this race ranks very high on that list. Running next to Frodeno for 5k was awesome, but equally as awesome was watching my bro Taylor Reid finish 6th in just his third 70.3. I’ve done a lot of training with him over the years and he is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met. This result is just the beginning for him. My money is on him turning a lot of heads this year.
I’ve got to give a huge shout out to all my sponsors and supporters. This result could not have been possible without your help. Freshii has me eating and thinking more health conscious. Louis Garneau has me on the best bike and in the best clothing and equipment on the market. Cycle Culture ensures that my machine is running smoothly. Skechers has me feeling light and fast out on the run course. Sportstats helps me to get to the race as well as research past performances on the course. Nineteen keeps me warm and helps limit my losses in the swim. CompuTrainer allows me to get to the race feeling strong and confident in my biking ability. C3-High Performance helps me with training advice and mentoring. Gatorade keeps me hydrated and nourished out on the course. And last but not least, Erin makes the whole thing work. I’ve also got to give a huge shout out to my coach Barrie Shepley for making the 7 hour drive from Tucson to Oceanside. It definitely helped ease my mind and feel more comfortable out there.
Thanks for reading.