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The short of my spring...4 races, 5 weeks
10th - St Anthony's Triathlon
POW goes the gun, & 2009 is underway. A bit of contact as we dashed into the water. Everybody started dolphin diving as I continued to wade driving the legs forward in the water. The swim was a 4 foot chop. Chop, not waves. They knocked you every which way with no particular interval. I just swam hard chasing splashes ahead of me. By the first turn buoy, 500m, I was sick from the beating and rocking of the waves. I kept after it, the swim never really got hard, because it was more of a wrestling match with the water. You never really got into a groove and was able to get your stroke efficient. I would emerge from the water 12th and charge through T1.
Home sweet home, flat windy roads. I quickly charged into 6th place in the first 5K, it was then that I was working on passing a very familiar bike, Terenzo. We had pushed each other for much of 70.3 Worlds last fall, and he and I knew, it was time to roll. We flew riding side-by-side (which is allowed in USAT Pro racing). We were making up ground and fast when at mile 15 my legs weakened. I jumped out of the saddle, but there was nothing. I bit my lip geared up tried to spin, then geared down and tried to roll the large gear, nothing. DAMN. I watched Terenzo maintain pace and roll away. I kept the pace strong and maintained 5th place…I charged into T2. Grabbed my left shoe, and put it on my left foot…$H!T, that is my right shoe. Valuable seconds lost.
After becoming frustrated at the end of the bike and transition I really pushed hard the first mile of the run, holding Stuart Hayes about 10 seconds up. Then his legs came to him and he drew away. Mile 2.5 the ITU boys caught me, 3 more positions gone. Then David Thompson caught me at the turn around. I was able to hold pace with him until just before mile 5. He then set sail for Cameron Dye, as I began to struggle. With 500m left, Kevin Collington caught me, we both surged, he had a lot more than I did. I would look over my shoulder and see nobody, I gave it one last push, but would maintain the 5m gap. 10th, with a time that any other year would have placed much better. It was a great all around performance, but I just wanted a better finishing position.
1st - TriZou Triathlon
RACE DAY - As Joe & I roll to transition, I am nervous. I know that today I will race against argueably the best triathlete in history, and head to head. Mark Livesay (Race Director), puts each elite in their assigned lanes, I got first pick being defending champ, Simon got 2nd pick...Finally BEEP. We are off. I swam strong and after 200 I was a body length up on Lessing and even w/some young blood 5 lanes over. Then wham...missed the wall. Suddenly I am even with Lessing, I paniced and slipped even further behind...Costly mistakes, but as we exited the water the three of us were seperated by 2 seconds. We entered transition and I quickly took the lead. I jumped on my bike and it was time to punish. I hammered down on the pedals and the Veritas put every ounce into the pavement. As I came to the pigs tail at mile 13 I looked around the long radius turn and saw nobody. I had at least 40 seconds. T2 went just as smooth as T1. Time to RUN. The first opportunity to get a look at my lead was on a short out and back at mile 1. Ok 10 steps, 15 steps, holy $h!t, he's on a mission. I focused on cranking it over. I would look 2 times more in the next 1.8 miles. I just had to keep it pinned. I had a big enough lead, I think. As I started down the finish chute I glanced one last time, 60m back. YA BABY.
3rd - Memphis In May
I had a great start and just rolled in the swim. I got out of the water feeling like I had a solid swim, and now it was go time. I tripped over myself in T1 and fumbled around.
The bike, 25+mph winds, just my bag. I rolled, I felt the wind, but I cut through it well. I caught #4 at mile 5, then it was just me riding by myself. I saw nobody the rest of the bike. I just pedaled, no officials, no photographers, no athletes, fans...just me and the wind.
I got into T2 and kept the transition woes. My number belt was caught under the rack. COME ON! DAMN IT! For the frist time at mile 2.7, Walkers on the road. I am not the only person out here. I would see Cameron as I neared the turnaround...I was guessing I was still 40 seconds out of the W. I pushed, but kept cramping. I just kept my foot in the throttle. I would see Cameron on the Levee, maybe 700m up...race over? NO, Never say die. I pushed it all the way though, but it was just not enough. I walked back down the levee and cheered on the remaining pros. It was a solid race, but I got beat by a guy in better shape right now. I did have the fastest bike split, but still need to work on all three (for sure).
15th - ITU Austin
The swim was strong. I faltered a bit here and there but all in all I was strong and accomplished goal 1. The first 35K of the bike worked to perfection. I would do a few pulls, I accidentally rolled off the front 1 time, but I was spot on. As the bike got closer and closer to the end, I started salivating. I was stoked for the run. With 5K to go I went to the back to stretch my back and legs. I really meant business on the run.
It was right then when an ITU bonehead (somebody that can swim and run, but could not handle a bike, there are a lot of these in the sport) decided to look over his shoulder clipped the curb then swerved back into the road and crossed wheels and then it was the classic peleton accident. 1 Lane wide, curbs on both sides. I was on the brakes and moving left when I got hit from behind and a bicycle flew in front of me and I went over the handlebars, and anthor rider and landed on a bike. It was a soft landing as I felt carbon cracking. I quickly dislodged my arm from under the crank of the bike that I landed on. I tried to stand up but I was still clipped in, that problem was quickly changed and I was back on my feet. I rolled the bike forward and the rear tire wouldn't turn, brakes are fine, then I look down to see the rear derailuer is pushed into the spokes. I give it a yank and it is out of the spokes.
I jump on my bike, twisted derailuer and all and drop a 5K TT to try and catch the peleton. I made up everything that I lost in crash, in the 55-11 (my only gear) with a derailuer that was badly twisted. It took a toll on the legs but I got off the bike in the game. My legs were no longer fresh for the run and as I started the run I felt a throbbing in my quad. I deep bruise from the wreck. It hurt emmensly and I considered bagging it after 1/2 a lap but muscled on. I would run with Dave Kuendig and Eric Limkeman much of the run. I would melt into 15th place. If I was fresh, who knows. I was so pissed from the events that had happened. ITU needs to add a bike test to get rid of these hazards. This is the 2nd time I have gotten wrecked with somebody elses shit in 7 ITU races that I have done. All in all there were a lot of positives. Swam well, ran well. Now I just need to FIX myself and my bike!
The spring was very successful thanks to Veritas Coaching, Gin Optics, Gu, Alcis, Zipp, Suunto, View Goggles, & especially ZOOT! THANK YOU for the support.
Keep up with me at: astarykowicz.blogspot.com