70.3 World Champs: $H^* Happens
For those of you that didn’t catch the last blog, here it is: http://www.bw-tri.com/single-post/2016/09/02/The-Lone-American-Male-at-703-Worlds. It goes into my thoughts on 70.3 Worlds, how the process works to qualify as a professional and why I decided to take a slot and race. I came down here for the experience of racing with the best in the world and “toeing” the same start line. Unfortunately that didn’t happen……………..
They had everyone in the corral on the beach and called out the top 10 guys, one by one. The swim start was maybe 200-300m from the shore. Once the top 10 were called out, they let the rest of us enter the water. When I got to the water I looked down and my watch said 0613, and the start was supposed to be 0615. I made my way out there with the rest of the guys, stopped to fix my goggles once or twice, and I was about 30 feet from the start line the last time I messed with them.
The last thing I heard was “Men please make your way to the start line” and as that was being said the horn sounded. There were about 8-12 of us anywhere from 30-50 feet from the start line. So when the horn went off, everyone took off and when you are already a back of the pack swimmer in this field, well you are going to definitely be at the back of the pack. So I swam solo the whole time, didn’t touch a single person and didn’t get touched by a single person. If you want to watch how this played out you can do so HERE (bottom video, forward to the ~18 minute mark and it happens around the 19 minute mark.)
This was completely a mistake; they were trying to delay the start, but there was a break down in communication. As disappointed as I am to travel half way around the world to race in the biggest race of my professional career and miss the start by no fault of mine, I completely understand accidents/mistakes happen. It is what happens moving forward, how they implement changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again, and then what I have learned from this.
What I learned is two things: Be ranked top 10 in the world so you get a head start to the start line or race to the start line so just in case the gun goes off early accidentally you get a head start ;) Joking aside, the guys that were on the line did nothing wrong, I would have done the same thing.
All things considered, I was still happy with my swim to only lose 3:30 to the leaders, on my own at that. I had led Nick Baldwin out of the water in Korea and he swam 24:32 which would have been a much better start to my day if I would have been in the group.
Overlooking the Swim Start. (Photo Credit: Simon Roue)
I got out on the bike and tried to put the swim debacle behind me. I just focused on the road ahead and put my head down and rode hard. I started passing a few guys here and there, being last out of the water, there were plenty of guys ahead of me. At the 40km mark I was 5:50 down on the leaders and 2:10 down on the group Trevor Wurtele was with. I continued to ride hard and was feeling pretty good on the bike. Around 60 km, my legs began to fatigue and I was mentally struggling. I tried to keep pushing but the power just wasn’t there. A group that I had caught at 10 km just about caught me pulling into T2, so that was a bit disappointing. I came off the bike 29th, after being out of the water 42nd.
Out on the expressway hammering away. (Photo Credit: Jaryd Hamilton)
Early on in the bike. (Photo Credit: Bear Liange)
I came off the bike and the legs didn’t feel too horrible. I was running pretty well through the first 5 km and then the legs slowly started to fade. I kept running hard through 15 km and then shut it down, as Weymouth 70.3 was only 7 days away and decided it wasn't worth pushing too much. So with that being said, onto the next one, 70.3 Weymouth!
Coming down the finishing chute. (Photo Credit: Simon Roue)
Swim- 26:28 / Strava File
Total- 4:17:35 / 37th out of 42 Professionals
Overall I am happy to have experienced racing at a World Championship in the pro division. Even with the swim debacle, I learned a few things, so onwards and upwards to the next one.
View from the place where we stayed. BIG THANKS to Lee Boyer for the "home stay" & to Clay Petty for being a legendary Sherpa!