I always enjoy coming back to race Quassy. It is such a fantastic venue for a triathlon and the course is like no other I have ever raced! The bike and run are relentless with hills that never seem to end. Since placing 3rd at Wildflower 4 weeks ago, all I have been thinking about is competing in this race. My sessions have all been specific to doing well on this course. I felt fresh and ready to race well here but sitting here writing this one day later, I did not really expect to win!
My approach to this season has changed a little from previous years. I want to be really ready for the Vegas 70.3 World Championships in September and not be burnt out as in my previous two attempts. I have toned down my training volume and focused on specific aspects that I feel will win me races. I definitely felt more relaxed leading into this race and confident that I knew I was ready for this particular one.
I know that I swim above my ability in a wetsuit and well under it in a non-wetsuit swim! With Quassy being a non-wetsuit race, I had always given up over 1 minute to my main rivals. I felt that the extra effort I would need to catch up on the bike left me a little short on energy later in the run. With the athletes racing this year and knowing their strength, I knew that if I didn’t make the main group in the swim, I wouldn’t catch up on the bike. It hurt a lot but I hung onto the main group and threw myself into contention very early on in the bike. From the start , the pace was intense. I work off my power meter a lot and knew that we couldn’t sustain this pace and, if we did, there were going to be a lot of tired legs on the run! I stayed out of trouble through the first half and as the pace eased off, I applied the pressure to see if I could take the edge off some of the better runners.
I approached T2 leading a small group of the main players minus Tim Don. Richie and I ran shoulder to shoulder leaving transition as we went about reducing the 2 minute deficit to the leader off the bike, Starykowicz. I settled into a good rhythm behind Richie. 2 miles in, Kevin Collington floated by us with ease. My initial thought was ‘I hope Richie can go with him because I certainly can’t!’ Richie did for a short while but soon dropped back at the 4 mile mark. At this point, we had caught Limkemann and Starykowicz and I was running in third. I maintained this position and was content.
At mile 6 ½, Doherty moved up onto my shoulder. I don’t know what happened at this point but something clicked in my head that made me dig deep! I picked up the pace and quickly moved past Richie and then Collington and went into the lead. I still had over 4 miles to race but I felt good and pressed on to increase my lead. With 3 miles to go, I was in trouble and slowed and Richie quickly caught me. I ran with him as long as I could until the elastic band broke and he eased away. At this point, I told myself to keep pushing so Bevan wouldn’t catch me. I soon found myself back up along Richie and feeling good again. I tried a couple of surges to test him and on the third surge I created a gap. The last mile is uphill. I broke it down in my head to 6 minutes of pain. I didn’t dare ease up until the last 100 yards. I have never been so pumped up to win a race! A race this tough reminds me of the emotion and fatigue that goes with finishing an Ironman!
Richie crossed the line 2nd and Bevan 3rd. I was so happy to finish 1,2 with my good friend and training partner! I feel that I learned a lot about what I am capable of mentally in this race and I hope that I can draw on this at World Championships later this year. Winning this race has been a major goal of mine for a long time. It still hasn’t sunk in! I would not, however, be able to compete at this level without the support of the most amazing sponsors a triathlete could have. Thank you to K-Swiss, Trek, CEP, Powerbar, Ascend, Fuel Belt, TYR, Kask helmets, ISM saddles, Recovery Pump, and Oakley.
Next up……Syracuse 70.3