It was a long trip back from Sarasota. I raced the Mixed relay team yesterday morning then we got our awards, packed up my bike, and drove to Orlando International Airport about two hours from the race site, we didn’t see a gas station on the way and were worried we wouldn’t have time to find one so we returned the rental car without filling up. Avis ended up charging us an extra $119 for the gas (definitely not doing that again!). We hopped on a 2.5 hour flight to Houston and flew Houston to XNA arriving home just before midnight.
I wish I could say that the two days of racing went as planned but to be honest, this weekend was quite a reality check for me. My swim was great, run was good, but yet again I come home from this course extremely disappointed in my bike. This course is funny because its technicality is deceiving. The bike course consists of 3 laps around Nathan Benderson Park which is pretty flat with not many sharp turns. However, the wind around the lake always plays a big factor in how the packs form and where surges happen. I was 2nd out of the water, 2nd out of T1, immediately a pack of four formed and we rode hard to try to bridge a gap but a larger pack wasn’t far behind us and after lap1 the two packs had become one of about 13 strong females. Attack after attack happened throughout the next lap. I put myself in bad position heading into a turn and a gap 3 riders in front of me opened. I pulled around but wasn’t strong enough to bridge it. That 4 seconds cost me the race I knew I was capable of.
I rode nearly an entire lap solo before the chase group behind caught. I was able to catch a break heading into T2. However, at that point the lead pack was already through T2 and nearly 40 seconds in front of us. Words can’t describe how disappointed I was in myself. Why hadn’t I been able to bridge that gap? I pushed hard in the run and was able to make up a lot of time that was lost but it didn’t matter at that point. No matter how hard I ran I knew I couldn’t get myself into the top3-4 which is where I knew I should have been.
The next morning I raced on the A mixed relay team for the US. It was my opportunity to prove that I was capable of better. On a mixed team every athlete does a super sprint (250 meter swim, 4 mile bike, and 1500 meter run). I was the third leg and made up time on the swim but my mount onto my bike out of T1 was 2 seconds too slow and the two Canadian girls were out while myself and the Mexico cyclist were still trying to make the surge. I worked hard to bridge that few seconds but it was too late. While of course, a mixed team is a group effort, words can’t describe my disappointment in myself. My skills had never been an issue in the past,
“Why was I slow on the mount line?”
“Can I race at the level I need to be?”
I kept thinking about how hard I have been training and how disappointed with the results I was.
I walked to the athlete’s tent where the US coaches gave me some tough love and I walked over to Steve and his first words were, “I ordered some cones, we are going to get you better on the bike”.
As Bobby McGee (team USA Olympic Development coach) said to me this weekend,
“When you dive into the water, you are a swimmer. When you put your running shoes on, you are a runner. But for you, when you mount your bike in your head you are a triathlete and that is not good enough.”
The month of April I will turn myself into a cyclist because being a triathlete is not good enough.