South Africa was a blast and watching Alexa race the day before was the perfect prep day for my race. Sunday we woke up bright and early and I persuaded my beautiful girlfriend to get her lazy butt out of bed haha. We had a quick breakfast before heading to catch a bus to the transition. Quick check of the bike and off to the beach it was! Once on the beach I realized I had forgotten any food for before the race and Alexa decided to run 2 miles to the gas station the morning after the race to get me food, so grateful to have her around. We watched the pros go off and cruise through the course in stupid fast times before getting my wetsuit on and heading to marshalling after a quick good-luck hug and kiss from Alexa. There were not too many in my group but as we were getting set into our starting gate I was shuffled to the back and ended up being in the second to last wave. As we approached the gate my heart started racing and soon enough the tone rang and we were off. I knew I could swim with the best of my heat so I ran to the water to ensure I didn’t get stuck behind them. The water was refreshing and in no time at all I actually felt like I was smoothly gliding through the water. Within a minute I had caught the heat in front of me and swam through them. Another form my wave was matching my pace so I fell in line behind him and we continued to swim through wave after wave. Half way through I was still feeling strong but had definitely swallowed too much water. We made the final turn and I struggled finding the beach and sight buoys against the coast line so I went off course a time or two. Overall it was a great swim for me coming out under 30 minutes.
T1 flew by and nothing crazy happened. Before I knew it I was off and throwing down some watts on the speed concept! Hearing Alexa scream her head off put a smile on my face and started the bike off right
The bike started out with a lot of uphill and because it was raining everyone was taking corners a little easier than normal. A couple stronger cyclists went by me and I continued to eat up some of my age group. We left town and I found my rhythm and put my head down. Out of town we started to hit some really nice descents and a few harder climbs. The first few descents I hit mid 40’s easily and was screaming down the backside of the hills. I kept my climbs steady at 350-400 watts for the short ones and 300 for the long ones. All the sudden at mile 20 I felt a little lag between my input on the aero bars and the wheels reaction to those movements… I sat up and played with them and my heart sank. The aero bar had come loose and every descent was rattling it more and more as it grew looser and looser. A few more hills and I was stuck holding my aero bar steady while riding upright in my base bars. Everyone i passed and everyone that passed me I asked them for a multitool, this continued for almost 8 miles until Harold Garner was kind enough to reach into his pack and hand me his tool. I stopped and quickly found one of the screws that was loose and cranked it down. I jumped back on and started putting out watts. My legs were tired from having to it up and waste energy holding the bars on as well as stopping on the side of the road. Within 3 miles I hit a good bump and once again…they popped loose. This time I stopped and completely tore apart the handlebars, all 12 screws until every single one was retightened and was not coming loose. The only bad part is that the angle and placement of my handlebars that I had worked on for months on end was ruined. I would probably be uncomfortable the rest of the ride. I decided to enjoy the rest of the bike and take in 70.3 worlds for the views and experience. I came in from the bike in 2:42. I was way out of the race
T2 was pretty relaxed. Knowing I was out of It I took my time to grab my nutrition, put on new socks since it was raining all day, and go to the bathroom. I headed out onto the course with the intention to have fun. The first mile was brutal. My legs were in bad shape from all of the events on the bike and I was feeling it. The first 2 air stations I took EVERYTHING. I was starving from all the extra time on the bike and the stress from the mechanical failure. At mile 1.75 I had to stop. I had cramped up so hard on my hamstring that I couldn’t even walk. I tried a couple times but to no avail, so I spent a minute on the curb stretching, Finally It released, and I headed back out onto the course. I stopped at 3 to hug and kiss Alexa and say hi to the grandparents before heading back to jogging. The next 9 miles I felt great. I didn’t mind pace I just enjoyed the experience and ran strong but not over the top keeping it right under 6 minute miles. Mile 12 my stomach turned hard. All of the extra food came back and I needed a bathroom. I started to think and all of the sudden I realized, I hadn’t seen one bathroom throughout the whole run. I fought it the last mile and slowed my pace to 7 min miles and found the finishers chute. It was quite the learning experience and a great time in south Africa. after the race we went on an incredible 3 day safari which was so much needed and such a great experience.
ITU Grand Final Gold Coast Australia
The morning of the race in Australia was quite the adventure. At 9pm the night before there was an announcement that disc wheels wouldn’t be allowed. So at 4am a group of us met at my hotel to head down to the race. Once we got there I helped Grace change her wheel before changing mine. Because the rim was thinner than my disc, my brakes were locking up so I had to take my rear brakes apart and adjust the tension to accommodate the thinner wheel. After that was all settled and I helped a few other teammates set up the bikes, we started the LOOONNNGG walk to the swim start. After 30-some minutes of walking and jogging, we made it to the start. Before I could even get my wetsuit on my heat was called. I quickly through it on and headed out to the dock!
We jumped into the salty water and floated at the starting gate, we moved up to the start line and we were off! I jumped on the heels of a few swimmers that made a pack and latched on. I felt smooth but also felt that I was wasting strokes from time to time, forgetting my high elbow and resorting to my old form. I kept reminding myself to keep a high elbow and before I knew it we were done. I may have been in the last group but sub-23 minutes was a huge improvement from previous years.
As I ran in to T1 I saw that once again I was the only bike left. I put on my socks, shoes, and helmet, and tore out of T1.
The bike was technical and a little uphill and against the wind going out on the two loop course. I got a little down after seeing my average speed the first half-lap, but upon turning around I felt much better as I held almost 29 the whole way back to transition. The bike was uneventful (luckily) as I just held my target power and kept reminding myself to yell “On your RIGHT” not left. I flew into T2 with a solid setup for a good run.
Running into T2 I heard coach yell I had a chance to be top 5. I thought for sure he meant top 5 American as I thought I was way too far behind to be top 5 in the world. But just in case I sprinted through transition and took off after everyone with a “M20” on their calf.
Because the position was still a little screwed up from the handlebars coming loose, the first mile and a half were spent running with an extremely tight back, causing poor form and slow times that were approaching almost 6 minute miles. This pace was not gonna cut it. I saw my teammate Travis at a few U-Turns and clocked the distance to him and those around him. The first split was around 1:45, second one was 1:28, I felt better as back was loosening up. Approaching lap 2 of the run my back fully released and we were back in business. I watched the pace drop to the low 5’s and I knew we were in for a great day. I saw Travis again at 20 seconds, I knew I was making up good time on everyone. I heard Grant yell out I was in 9th starting the 2nd lap of the run and I told myself I was NOT ending this in 9th. I strided out and caught Travis, we gave each other a little high five and ran together for a bit before I locked in on my next target. As I headed in to the finish line I heard coach yelling I had to sprint if I wanted it, the last quarter mile I dropped below 4:30 trying for that top 5 spot, unfortunately I had gone too late. I missed top 5 by 9 seconds but looking up at my time and seeing 1:58:XX was an incredible feeling. The run had been .2 short and if I had that extra time, I would’ve made top 5. I am still in disbelief I took 6th place in the world championships and I couldn’t be happier with the race I laid out.
The 2018 sponsored season has come to a close, with just a few fun races left I have a lot to think about for 2019. I learned SO much in 2018 and I hope to take a lot of that into next year and use it to step my game up to a whole new level.
To my 2018 sponsors, you were incredible. The support was so great to have throughout the year and I am so proud to be able to represent all of you.
All of you awesome people, thank you for your endless support!!! Love you all