Madrid: A strong day at the office, with plenty to still work on. I had a good swim but just missed the back of the front pack as we headed up the hill the first time. My pack was motivated and we closed the gap to about 20 seconds by the 5th of 8 laps. At that point, I decided to attack and bridge the gap to the front pack on my own. It was a successful attack and even though in the end both packs came together, I was really pleased with my ability to take my fate into my own hands. It gives me a lot of confidence in my cycling ability. I had a solid run, but the oppressive heat was hard to deal with and the poorly placed water stations didn't help matters. I finished the race in 27th place as the 2nd American.
Screen capture from triathlon.org of my attack and solo bridge to the front group.
After Madrid, I hopped on a plane and headed straight to Des Moines, Iowa where I spent a week preparing for the Hy-vee Elite Cup race. I spent the week just outside of Des Moines enjoying the open spaces and crazy lighting storms. I had never raced Hy-vee before and was really excited to race "on home soil".
Hy-vee: I had a really good opening lap of the swim and although I fell back a bit in the second lap, I was just on the back of the front pack as we ran through transition. Unfortunately, as I went to mount my bike, the motorcycle cut me off and I missed the pack. I worked with two other American women and we bridged the gap to the front group. Staying out of trouble, and avoiding a very wet and slippery blue carpet, we rolled into transition and headed out on to the run. I settled into a great rhythm and slowly picked women off. At the end, I had a sprint finish with another American and ended up in 18th as the 4th American with #2 and #3 finishing in 16th and 17th, 5 and 1 second in front of me respectively. I was really pleased with how I ran and the improvement I am seeing in only a few weeks under my new coaches.
After Iowa, I spent a few days in LA before packing up and heading down to San Diego to train at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista for some quality 1 on 1 training time with my running coach. No sooner did I arrive, did I get an email from Lifetime Fitness asking me if I would come race the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - the first event of the 2010 Race to the Toyota Cup. It was an offer I couldn't well refuse, even though I was worried about how prepared I would really be to race again. With the help of Felt, Zipp and my very good friend and mechanic, I got my DA setup in a matter of a few days, boarded a plane and headed east to have another hit out.
The Philadephia race is a fantastic event with a very tough but fun bike course. Unfortunately, due to some pretty tragic circumstances, the race was changed to a duathlon - that meant 5k run, 40k bike, 10k run. My initial reaction was quite literally "damn it" but then I took a few deep breaths and realized that it was an incredible opportunity for me to try to take some of the hard run training I have been doing and put it to work.
Philadelphia: I took the first 5k out very patiently as I was instructed to do. By the 2k mark, I was catching and passing many of the women who had taken out the first mile a bit too fast. Coming into transition I had worked my way up to the 2nd and 3rd place women and was about 30 seconds down on the leader. I took off on my bike and by 15k had caught and passed the leading female cyclist. I kept pushing the pace and came into transition about 20 seconds ahead of her. I lead out onto the 10k run and tried to gradually ease into the run with the hopes of bringing it home faster in the second 5k - which I knew would be an ask for me as 15k of hard running in 1 race is quite a bit. At the 5k mark, I was passed and a gap of about 15 seconds opened up. Keeping as close as possible, I tried to pull her back in the last mile, but was pretty fried. In the end, I finished 2nd, 15 seconds behind 1st and about 5 minutes ahead of 3rd place with the fastest bike split by almost a minute!! (I'll be uploading data from my Garmin edge and 110 watch this week.)
My brand new Felt DA and Zipp Sub 9 disc.
So, all in all, another great day at the office even on really short notice and with some last minute changes to cope with and a great weekend with family in attendance and a fantastic home stay courtesy of the President of Philadelphia Insurance and his family (Thank you!).
Right now, I am ranked 25th on the Olympic points rankings and am holding the 3rd spot for the US. I am 39th in the World and 4th in the USA.
Next up: Hamburg World Champs Series and London World Champs Series races. I'm eager to get back to Chula and back to some hard work before heading off to Europe!!!
Some links to articles and photos from the Philadelphia race:
Cooling down after the race.
Article from the Daily News
Article from another Philly paper.