Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Not Our Best Race

The title is a pretty accurate summary.  There were no catastrophic failures like flat tires or getting our goggles kicked off, but neither of us performed as well as we would have hoped, and the results showed it.

As an aside, a lot of people have told us that "we tried our best", and "just getting there was a victory", etc etc.  We both really appreciate the support, but I disagree.  Yes, there has been lots to gain in terms of life experiences.  But we signed up to race, not to simply participate.  Neither of us were as fast as we could have been - for example, I pre-swam the swim course two days before the race in 12:30.  Same course on race day, with the advantage of a pack draft, and I came in at over 14 minutes.  A minute and a half over a twelve minute race is a lot to lose, and I could list out similiar performance measures for all stages of the race. 

Now, even with our best race, neither of us would have won - but we could have done better.  I don't plan on sitting around and pouting about it, but I do think that it makes more sense to look at the race objectively and possibly find some improvements.  Trying to improve is what this type of sport is all about, and I would much rather take a hard look at what I did and find some improvement, rather than just write the whole experience off and get the same result next time.

With the aside aside, here is my race experience as best as I can recall:

Age Group World Championships

Support:  Cliff and Lori were in New Zealand on their Honeymoon during the race.  They took the time to come watch and support us, which was pretty awesome.  We also stole the pictures they took.

Age Group World Championships


Considering how competitive this race was, I was expecting a lot more violence and "accidental" grabbing and maneuvering here.  There was almost none, which was really nice to experience.  I swam straighter than I had in my practice runs, which was also nice.  On the way back, I felt someone on my feet, and had another person just beside and behind me, which convinced me that I was doing pretty well and was with the main pack, so I stopped sighting so much and tried to stay with them.  Eventually I looked up, and I guess everyone I was with had the same thought process - we were way off course, almost into opposing traffic, and were definitely not with the main pack.  Damn.  I spent the rest of the swim being very conscious of not swimming into any lifeguards as I got back on track.

Age Group World Championships

Transition 1 (Swim to Bike): 

I came out of the water knowing I was behind where I wanted to be, and feeling half drowned, as per usual.  I was also surprisingly thirsty.  I knew this transition was a long one, due to the organizers having to find space for 3000 bikes.  Like, seriously really thirsty.  What is the deal.  In any case, my on the fly strategy was to make sure I passed at least two people, but other than that not to kill myself here, so that I didn't fall off my bike when I tried to get on (I have done this once before).  I got to my bike at the same time as another Canadian four bikes down the rack.  He looked me in the eye, paused, and said "I really ____ing hate swimming". I decided he was my kind of person.

Age Group World Championships


In the week leading up to the race, I had practiced all of the hills on the course, and decided that I could get up all of them about halfway down my cassette in my big ring.  I got to the first hill with this in mind, and immediately almost passed out.  I think I was in the granny gear by the time I got to the top.  This was pretty much all I could think about until I coughed up a mouthful of phlegm, and then all I could think about was whether it would be considered unsportsmanlike to spit it out right in front of the rider behind me.  So I am going to put a bit of blame on being sick the two days leading up to the race.  I also have to admit a bit of a mental problem here too - normally the bike portion is my strongest, and being passed here by more than a few people definitely got into my head.  It was a really fun course though, and this was still my strongest placing in the end.

Age Group World Championships

Transition 2 (Bike to Run):

By the time I got my bike back on the rack, I was thinking that I was going to have to go home and measure just how long this transition was.  Pretty sure I had already done my run distance at this point.

Age Group World Championships


Sometimes, I really ____ing hate running.

Age Group World Championships

So.  A few lessons to be learned.  Maybe we'll do it again someday, but I think we will definitely wait for it to come a little closer to home.  For now, we have two weeks to explore New Zealand.

And then we will be home, probably just in time to start ski touring.  And I'm going mountain biking.  I'm looking forward to it already.

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