Heading to race in Richmond was a last minute decision for me. After Sarasota in early March, I was pretty disappointed in myself. Within a week of getting home and with the support of my triathlon coach, Alan Ley, I hired a cycling specific coach out of Oklahoma to help analyze my power data and really help me focus in on what I was missing on the bike. This meant cutting back on the run miles to focus in on “becoming a cyclist”.
Prior to toeing the start line, I was a little nervous not having raced for nearly two months, was fighting a minor foot injury (shoutout to Dr. Munson for helping me fix that before it got worse), we had just bought a new house, and had been traveling nearly every weekend, but I knew if I wanted to continue to climb the ladder on the ITU points list and improve my world ranking missing anymore-important season points, wasn’t an option.
Steve flew with me to Richmond, we arrived at midnight on Friday so he wouldn’t have to miss any more days of work, I attended the race briefing Saturday. We rented a pick up truck and Steve drove the bike course slowly as I followed on my bike so I could familiarize myself with the turns without getting lost (I am a little directionally challenged).
For those of you who know Steve, you know he is truly my knight and shining armor.
The morning of the race, the water temp was borderline between a wetsuit or non wetsuit swim. An hour before race start, they measured the temp at 19.8C, just barely under the wetsuit cut off. Being a swimmer in my former life I was obviously hopeful for a non-wetsuit swim but kept a smile on my face as I lubed up my body and slipped on my wetsuit.
The swim start was unique by being an in water wall start, something I had never done before. It made the swim a little more aggressive and messy immediately following the horn but thankfully, I had an outside spot and was able to avoid some of the scratching and fighting for placement in the line that sprinted for the first buoy.
I exited the water in a pack of four but was a little slow getting out of my wetsuit, which could have cost me the race but thankfully there were a few girls behind me that helped me surge onto the back of the group.
One girl surged around and ended up bridging a big enough gap on the pack that she went for it and ended up about 25 seconds in front of the chase group of 7. We worked hard but weren’t successful in really working as a group and getting a strong enough pace line to catch before heading into Transition 2.
I immediately sprinted out of T2 onto the run course knowing I had serious time to make up if I wanted a shot at the top spot on the podium. I quickly started to chip away the time listening closely to Steve yell (20 seconds back, 15 seconds back,….” as I passed. I knew I was catching but just ran out of pavement to the finish and Erika held on to take the win, which truly I couldn’t be more proud of her for that.
While I didn’t win I am overall pleased with 2nd, which moved me up 1 spot on the world ranking scale to #34. My goal this year is to continue chipping away spot by spot on the world ranking points list and that I shall do.
Next stop is Charlotte May 20th for the first Major League Triathlon race and then off to the Madrid Spain May 22nd for the Madrid World Cup at the end of the month.