This winter i have been spending my months in the sun running and riding all around Tucson with Alexa. I put in way more miles than i have before and created a great base for the year! being able to train with the best and in the nations best facilities has made a huge impact in my training and fitness! unfortunately a few weeks ago i had a bad crash and ended up hurting my shoulder pretty hard. Lately my shoulder has been better but still sore and tight so getting to the start line of Chattanooga was a win! unfortunately i was sick leading into the race as well so it was a tough build up into this one.
( We arrived in Chattanooga early to make sure we were all set for a fast weekend, everything went well in the lead up and before we knew it, the bikes were racked! Race morning we arrived at transition as it opened to pump up the tires and set up everything that was needed. We said our goodbyes to our parents who had made the long trip out, and hopped on the bus to the swim start. At the swim start i was feeling full (usually race morning i'm hungry). I was feeling heavy and sluggish so i went for a run to clear my head and try to get things moving. I stood in line FOREVER for the portapoties and as i came out i heard the national anthem starting (we were late)! Alexa and i sprinted to the front of the mob of people. We threw the wetsuits on and walked down the ramp to the dock and stood around for a while before realizing they were changing the swim. The pros had swam upstream and then back down but they were taking this out of the race for us. Our swim would be cut short by quite a bit and would be all down stream.
As the gun went off, we went into the water! I swam around Ayla and on to Alexa's feet but got caught while passing some people and ended up back behind Ayla. I sat on her feet until around half way when we went under the big blue bridge when i flipped upside down to wave at my parents!! Once i flipped back over she was gone so i swam by myself the remainder of the swim. On the way out of the swim my wetsuit was caught around my ankles for a few seconds, but other than that T1 went great!
Just out of transition i saw Alexa and yelled out to her as i went by. I found my cadence and power and went right to plugging away. Out of town i was a little high on my power numbers but overall felt strong. I was easily catching people up the climbs and powering through the descents. I got out to the far part of the bike and went up a very steep hill called Andrews. All of the climbing Mt. Lemmon showed as i put 20-30 seconds on anyone that was around me on a climb that was only a minute or two long. After the climb was a fun decent and I felt great. A little longer and i hit the 35 mile mark and my body started to tank. i had pulled too much power the first half of the bike and my body was fading. A couple larger packs started to pass me and my morale started hitting lows. I struggled back into town barely holding what i should have easily been riding at. Almost into transition just a mile out an older guy passed me as i'm preparing to take my feet out and yelled out " kid, you need to learn to corner faster". This lit a fire in my belly and i yelled back " you realize we still need to run right?" in my head all i could think was how fast i'm going to run past him. coming into transition i saw a 3 minute difference in my bike time from last year... but not the difference i was hoping for, i was well behind pace.
Out of transition 2 i could not find my legs. Literally might have left them back home because they were NOWHERE to be found. I passed the rude cyclist wasily but others were going right by me, I watched another person or two run away from me and my morale just kept going lower and lower. i shook my head "nope" at my parents and knew it was not my day, Dad yelled out that i need to find 3:45 to get to first place in the Age Group. I pushed on but I was just getting slower and slower. more painful and even more painful. Around 4 miles in, someone yelled out my name. As I turned around I saw Ryan coming up on me. Ryan was in my age group, he talked to me a little bit and said if he were to beat me (which he was blazing by me so it was fairly obvious he was going to) he wouldn't be taking the slot to worlds. For some reason, even though I was practically walking, this lit a fire in my belly. I sped up enough to run with him for a mile. I almost dropped off but he kept me going each time. just a mile later heavens doors opened, My legs loosened up and everything felt right again. I sped up some and quickened my cadence, I kept urging Ryan to keep going but he was fading and insisted I should just go on
At the end of lap 1 my dad said I still needed over 3 minutes to find the lead. It was here I realized that Ryan was the one leading and he was the one I needed to find 3 minutes on, I took off for lap two hoping I could pull out 6 miles like i should be running. I tore through the first few aid stations and my pace started to speed up. i got faster and faster as the lap went on, every u-turn I was gaining some space between myself and Ryan, every minute gaining a little speed and confidence back. Over the bridges a second time I was opening up my stride and passing some more pros and age groupers. Over the final bridge dad said I needed 45 more seconds to win but was only getting 30 seconds per mile back. I opened up but didn't have much more to give. I tore down the finish line with a big smile and a "thank you" to the big guy upstairs for keeping me safe and upright throughout the day. I had finished!! Within minutes we got the word i had taken over the lead and won by a few minutes!! the second lap i finally felt like myself and i will be looking for how to make this come earlier in Blouder on June 9th.
I will be competing in Nice, France in September at the 70.3 world championships, the challenging course will bring out the best in the climbers and the fastest run splits possible, and im excited to come back stronger and faster than i showed this last weekend. But for now the focus is on Boulder just over a week away!
thank you so much to all my amazing sponsors
American Family - Chris Heise Agency
for making this all happen and possible!
thank you mom and dad for supporting me, coming all the way to cheer and eat amazing food, and giving me a trip to France for an early birthday present! thank you Alexa for the countless house of support and training with me and being my rock!
And thank you all of you for reading this and supporting my dreams!