Race Report: Cross of the North by Kirk Groves (@LSVLKirk)

The guys that put on the Cross of the North do it right. As I was setting up the Foxtrot tent they came over to thank us for coming. At least 2 other times they came by just to check in and make sure a good time was being had by all. Seriously, these guys put a lot of effort into their races and it’s awesome.
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Compared to States a couple years back, they’ve really dialed their course in Loveland. The major change was to incorporate a large drainage area on the east of the property. Imagine the Bowl of Death (Louisville Rec Center) but about half as deep and with more gradually sloping sides. This weekend there was a big nasty mud bog down by the bike pit courtesy of the Thursday rain. The soil is greasy/slick when wet and super sticky — it cakes on your frame. Other course features include railroad ties – singles, doubles and a triple. I didn’t see anyone ride the triples, the spacing was too close. I considered yelling “JPow would ride it!” to the open men, but didn’t. I got over the doubles during warm-up but weighing risk/reward it was an easy decision for me to run them. I imagined cartwheeling over them at race speed in an oxygen deprived state. I rode the singles no problem. There was also plenty of off-camber, a steep descent and some bumps/ramps you’d expect to find on a pump track. They rented Bobcats to smooth out bumpy sections – sweet.

I raced both Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. Speaking of Friday evening, my favorite aspect of the weekend was racing under the lights. My group went off at 6:30, just about sunset. As the race progressed the lighting changed from dusk to dark. They lit the course with 8-10 large industrial light towers like these…
KEC-Doosan-Light-Tower-copy-white-background

It was well-lit and safe but as the race progressed you couldn’t make out near as much detail on the course – remembering where the line I wanted was located was key.

Both my kids came to the Friday evening race. I threw a jacket I’d worn during warm-up over to them after I’d been called up. The temperature was in the high-50’s at race start and I raced in shorts and a short-sleeve jersey, perfect for me, although plenty of people were wearing arm and leg warmers. A group of 19 Senior 3s started approximately a minute before my group, 26 racers in the 35/3s. I was last to slot into the second row – nice. After the whistle I easily moved into 4th before the first bottleneck – great start! I was in 5th after two laps. I was a hurting unit but I couldn’t help but laugh every time I rode by my kids. Their favorite heckle is, “Come on Dad, Grandma is faster than you!” but they have plenty of others. The course on Friday had us going through the mud bog at speed — good stuff! The bog got progressively worse as the race went on. There was also a second mud section with a 90 degree corner, also near the pit, that was gnarly. I was able to consistently make it through the mud except when someone in front of me would bobble, which happened once in each section. I’d borrowed JD’s brand new Raleigh cross bike to have in the pit – jealous! While my bike was heavy and caked with mud, it continued to brake and shift well all race, so I didn’t make a bike change. Look for a equipment review soon of Shimano Di2 shifters & hydraulic disc brakes. Here’s the short version – amazeballs! If I had someone in the pit to hand me a bike I probably would switched bikes. Besides getting a clean bike without 5 lbs of mud, I would have avoided the worst of the bog once, making the bike change time neutral. As it was, I would have had to find and get JD’s B bike from the rack. I decided it wasn’t worth it.

I lost a position here and there but I was okay with it – I knew I was going as hard as I possibly could and I had absolutely nothing more to give. I tried to hold the wheels of the guys passing me for as long as possible. As I saw two-to-go I was in the middle of a group of maybe 5 guys all within 10 seconds of each other, still some places up for grabs. I knew it was going to be a strong result for me, it was time to find out how good. I gained a place and lost a place and was fighting to hold off some guys late in the lap. Two turns from the finishing straight I was passed by the leader of the SM 3s. Dude was FLYING — he passed me like I was standing still, seriously he was a blur. He’s an insanely fast junior who has raced Open in previous years but decided to race 3s this weekend to kick off his 2014 season. He won the 3s race all three days. A cynic would say he’s a sandbagger and should go back to racing open and pick on people his own speed. Since I’d been lapped, even though it wasn’t by someone in my 35/3 group, my race was over as I crossed the line. I ended up 9th or 10th, my best result in the 35/3s (preliminary results had me at 10th, I got an email saying 9th but online it’s showing 10th again). I know it cost Cross of the North a ton to rent the lights (I heard $2500) but it was very cool!

The downside of racing in the mud is cleaning up afterwards – I spent 2+ hours Saturday cleaning bike, shoes, etc. Here’s a shot of the bikes, mine in front – JD’s in back is much cleaner as I’d only ridden it in warm-ups and to/from the pit:
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I’d worn my backup shoes to warm-up and switched to clean shoes right before the start. These are the shoes I raced in – you can see a hint of the cleats if you squint:
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Sunday, I headed back up to Loveland with my daughter Ellie. I arrived in time to catch all but Jon’s first lap… Fear the beard!
Jon

I setup the Foxtrot tent right along the course, next to Rapid Racing. If you don’t know Carl and Kristal Boni, introduce yourself — they’re great people. Rapid Racing is also affiliated with Foxtrot Wheels and have the logo on their shoulder of their kit, so they’re obviously awesome. I think it’d be great to merge Foxtrot Racing with Rapid Racing to gain some numbers. It was very windy on Sunday and we had to take the tent down after a while to keep it from blowing down, but we were able to fly the Foxtrot emblem for a couple hours.
Ellie

Despite not racing this weekend, Andy arrived in time to work the pit for Jon. He was then a huge help to me as I was getting ready. Andy graciously helped me dial tire pressure, test mount my backup wheels (new calipers), clean my bike after warm-up, etc. All small but important tasks. With Andy pitching in, I was able to focus on my warm-up — muchas gracias Andy!

Brad (a.k.a. Ox) was racing as well and he brought along his better half, Claire. Brad rebuilt his bike with gears instead of trying to race a singlespeed in the 3s — watch out! The fields on Sunday were about the same size as Friday evening, 19 SM 3s and 28 MM35/3s, both smaller than usual fields — too bad, it was worth the drive up from Denver/Boulder to Loveland IMHO. I dropped a jacket and leg warmers once I was in the starting grid and raced in the new skinsuit – perfect for 50ish and windy.

A harbinger of things to come, I had my worst start since, well, ever… and it was from the third row so I had no margin for error. I must have missed clicking into my pedal at least four times, maybe 5. Once clicked in, it was time to put the awful start behind me mentally and move up to where I wanted to be. During an early lap I saw JD and his son Bauer on the course and tried to say hi, but I’m sure what came out was closer to an unintelligible grunt. By Andy’s count, I’d made it up to 11th as I rode by the the pit the second time on the 2nd lap. I’d dug deep to make my way up after the poor start but I was back within striking distance of my goal for the day, another top-10.
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Approaching the run-up the third time the guy immediately in front of me was fading fast and a gap was growing in front of him. I needed to get ahead of him before the technical section after the run-up. I made a pass attempt in a tight 180 degree corner, he took a whacky line and I had to dab a foot and check my speed. No biggie, I’d still get him on the run-up. I started back up again to learn I’d rolled my front tubular – NOOOOO!!!!! It wasn’t completely off the rim like at the Boulder Cup, just a 10″ section. Rider after rider passed me – losing hard fought spots has to be one of the worst feelings in a cross race. I fought off the strong urge to call it a day, step outside the tape and walk back to the car with my head hung low. I got the tire back on the rim and rode to the pit. The most technically challenging sections of the course were between me and the pit (steep descent, fast corners, off-camber sections) and I didn’t take any chances with a loose tire. I hollered to Andy as I was approaching the pit and he quickly changed the wheel for me. If wasn’t in DFL after stopping to get the tire back on the rim, I definitely was now. At this point I was in No Man’s Land. Going into the race I’d wanted to draft in the most exposed sections to conserve energy. I was solo, so needless to say there wasn’t any drafting. More importantly, there weren’t racers behind to push me or in front of me to act as a carrot. A dirt TT isn’t near as much fun as ‘racing’ cross. To stay motivated and focused I went into positive “self-talk” mode. I kept repeating my favorite phrases over and over in my head, “ride hard now so you’ll be faster next race”, “ride smooth, ride fast”, “chase one guy, pass him and do it again”, “good lines, clean corners”, etc.
Mud

Just as I was about to get on the back of a group of 3 racers I dropped my chain. I didn’t set my bike down softly at the top of the run-up and it bounced off. A self-inflicted wound, the worst kind, dang it. The chain was jammed between the crank and the chain stay. I got it cleared and was back in chase mode in about 10-15 seconds, time to regroup again.

As I passed the pit the final time Andy made a comment about leaving it all out on the course. While obvious, it resonated with me. It was just what I needed to hear and I found it incredibly motivating. I caught and passed two guys before the finishing straight and I’d moved on to the wheel of a 3rd guy. I beat the 3rd guy in a sprint for the line. Even after my furious finish I ended up 19th – ugh, not what I’d planned for the day. Ellie and I stuck around and watched the women’s race. It was won by Georgia Gould (5 time National Champ and Bronze medal winner in the Olympics – all on the MTB) but she was challenged the entire race by a junior from Utah (racing age 13), Katie Clouse, seriously impressive!!! We watched the first couple laps of the men’s open race and then hit the road. My Sunday result wasn’t what I’d hoped for but it was still a heck of a lot of fun. Next up for me, Valmont on Sunday!

Thanks for reading, Kirk

Boulder Peak Triathlon Race Report

By Jeremy Geer
 
Wow, I forgot how fun these shorter triathlons can be!  After all the long Ironman workouts and the 70.3 race this season, the Olympic distance felt short and fast!  I’m pretty certain my incredible wife, Mandy – who comes out for every one of these events – thought it was nice and short as well because she didn’t have screaming crabby kids for hours on end.
 
I tried to get to bed early the night before so that I could get up early and not rush through transition.  Neither happened.  However, I did get set up without forgetting water bottles or nutrition or other follies that have hurt me in the past.  I also followed the lead of my Foxtrot teammate, Adam Gordon, and got in a swim warm up before the race.  It was just two laps in the swim area of the rez, so probably no more then 200 yards.
 
Adam and I were in the third wave, a great relief compared to being in the last wave which seems to be where I’m placed in many races.  Adam is a great swimmer, so my thought was to go out with him and “find feet,” as he says.  Apparently, others know Adam’s reputation as a fast swimmer and about nine other guys lined up behind his “feet.”  I found myself in the middle of the washing machine, finding feet, thighs, arms, and I swear a fist or two.  Things settled down after a few hundred yards and I knew I was pushing my pace, but it felt good.  I managed to keep a pretty good line and get out of the water in 29:32, an improvement of about a minute from my 2013 effort. http://www.strava.com/activities/165593288
 
T1 went smoothly.  Yes, you heard right, I didn’t botch my transition!  My tridot.com coach, Nick Waninger, gave me a number of tips, but his biggest thing was to concentrate on “wet suit off, helmet on.”  I had my nutrition staged on the bike, attached my 310XT, and slipped my socks on without incident.  Nick also showed me how to use rubber bands to hold my shoes right-side-up in the pedals, which worked out great.  I did my best impression of Kirk and leaped onto the bike and was gone.  http://www.strava.com/activities/165588783
 
It wasn’t until I hit the exit at the reservoir that I noticed I wasn’t getting any power data.  The 310XT was on and running, I could see time and HR, but no power.  Turns out I had a dead battery in my power meter.  Based on a functional threshold test TT earlier in the week, Nick had prescribed for me to ride for 15 minutes at 200w, then the remainder at 220w, which is very high power compared to anything I’ve done in the past.  I was bummed I couldn’t test the new power targets, but decided to use RPE and HR to measure my effort.  I saw my friend, Heather Dean, just past Hwy-36 and Broadway as I shifted into the higher intensity effort.  I think I could have pushed just a little harder, and I ended up missing my bike split target by 5:30.  However, I was feeling on top of the world when I zoomed past my wife and sons at Tom Watson Park/Cooter Lake, with my 4.5 year-old going ballistic with his cowbell.  It was one of my fastest bike splits ever and I was pretty happy with it at 1:11:35 (21.8 MPH). http://www.strava.com/activities/165588827
 
I did manage to botch T2 slightly.  I was looking for Adam’s orange bike on the end of the rack, and somehow ran right past it.  I had to circle back, and got out of T2 without any other mishaps.  http://www.strava.com/activities/165588782
 
And the run, oh, did I feel at home on a 10K run!  My targets were 7:17 for 2 miles, 7:09 for two miles, and 7:02for the last 2.2 miles.  I really held back to stay at exactly 7:17 for the first mile.  Mile two I was fast at 7:07.  Mandy and the boys were out cheering for us again a few hundred yards later and I slowed up to give Quinn a high-five.  Adam and I went by each other at about my mile 2.5, and he was already on his way back in and he was looking strong.  I estimated he was a mile ahead of me and figured I had little chance of catching him.  This must have gotten to me mentally a little as my third mile was 7:11.  I’m not sure what bit me in mile 4, but I got strong and ran 6:56 and saw my family one more time for another cow bell crazed high-five.  I also saw Heather again on her way out, and she was looking fast, with a really high cadence.  I passed by another friend, Jacquie, along the damn as she was picking off a number of slower runners.  I hit my target pace of 7:02 on mile 5, then I consciously decided to push hard and not bother looking at my watch.  Mile 6 was 6:52, which was my fastest mile of the day!  I think it was just after I made that decision that I caught up with Adam.  I did my best to encourage him to finish with me, but he was running on E, so I soldiered on to a 43:58 run split.  http://www.strava.com/activities/165588797
 
Grand total, I managed to race a 2:29:39 and finish 28th in the age group (them suckers is fast).  I had a blast being able to see so many friends this race!  As always, most of the credit for my successful race goes to Mandy; not only does she bring the kids out for every race, but she takes them on while I’m out on my ridiculously long and frequent training workouts.  And she’s even finding time to train for her first triathlon on August 10th!  Just three more weeks until Ironman Boulder, after which I’m sure she’s going to hand me the kids and disappear for an entire weekend…

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Race Report

By Jon Maule (@jonmaule)

Last year I wanted a mulligan on my LT100 attempt, knowing I could have finished under the time limit – I was among the first five stopped at the last cutoff with ~25miles to go.  Not being selected for the lottery this Spring, I had to either race my way in (not likely) or hang around and snag one of the ~100 tokens available.

The Leadville Race series events are very well run and schwag abounds with vendors taking advantage of the big draws.  I scored two cups of coffee and a muffin while checking in which was a lifesaver as the Copper Mountain gas station wasn’t yet open.  I passed through too early opting go cheap and get some decent sleep in a familiar bed à get up at butt-crack for the ~2hr drive to Leadtucky. 

I did this race last year and crumbled in the second half of the course coming in at 6:56.  This year I had a target of 6hrs with a stretch goal of 5:30 for the 48miles and ~7.5k of climbing.  Previewing the course last weekend I decided to run a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 up front (~25#) and a Geax Saguaro 2.2 (~28#) as there was enough loose stuff, baby heads and moon dust that my regular setup (Ardent 2.25 and Geax aka2.2) was occasionally washing out at tempo pace.  With this being an out and back course I didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s day let alone my own.

The race starts off with a run up a short ski hill (about 50yards).  Nothing like sprinting uphill at ~9k ft with your bike and 600+ of your friends to get you anaerobic.  I lined up towards the back and walked instead, probably ending up in about the same relative place had I decided to run.  After that the course begins a reasonably graded 10 mile climb topping out at ~11,600 largely on jeep roads followed by a descent to an aid station at 13.5 miles.  This part went well, I felt strong on the climb, made some moves to get around slow people and did a decent job pacing at what seems like an underwhelming 177w average (np = 216w).  This section includes about 13 minutes of hiking and I arrived at Aid#1 right around my target of 1:30.

Course Profile

Course profile and aid station locations

From Aid#1 (aka Printerboy – named for a nearby mine) to the turnaround at Aid#3 (aka Stumptown – a small “town”, now a ghost town, serving the surrounding mines) is roughly another 1.5 hrs away and involves a two trips at or near 12k on loose jeep roads.  My big tires paid dividends on the rideable sections here, particularly the descent off the high point, but there was a lot of hiking here too.

Strava Report

Strava report

I was at Stumptown in around 3hrs, the bulk of the climbing (~4k) was done and I felt I might be able to come close to my stretch goal of 5.5hrs…

The reverse of the section above involves a 20+ minute hike (going back up the loose, rutted 15+% slopes), the downhill as you head West and then another hiking section that took me a ~13 minutes – this is where I had some trouble.  I kept getting rocks in my damn shoes.  Not small ones you can sort of work around but pointy almost crippling ones.   I stopped at least 3 times here to try to get the stuff out and cinch up my shoe to maybe keep stuff out.  Annoying as hell.  I arrived back at Printerboy/Aid#1 for some refreshments about 20 min behind where I wanted to be for the final real uphill grind (~3 miles and 1k). 

The final section is a 10.5 mile downhill section, losing ~2.1k feet but with a handful of short punchy climbs.  Again my tire choice came in handy as I used my gravity assisted mass to (safely/politely) pass people like mad still clinging to the possibility of finishing in under 6hrs

Strava Report

Strava Report, part 2

I ended up clocking 6:06 on my garmin.  Not quite where I wanted but I know 5:45 was within reach.  Anyhow, ended up with a 6:15 “official” time as apparently they base timing off of the shotgun and not when you cross the timing mat. Regardless, that was good enough for 41 minutes off of last years meltdown.

Details:  TP File | Strava

Takeaways:

Fueling – I’m digging the combo of Chews and Enduro bites with lower strength skratch (probably ~75% strength).  Except when you eat the whole enduro bite at once, that seems to get… …gassy.  Very quickly.  Always a great feeling.

Weight – I still weigh too much at ~180# for climbing events.  What’s it like to ride near the front where you don’t have to dodge as many triathletes on mountain bikes?

Fitness – Thanks to Brad I came into this season with a pretty big base.  This year I’ve expanded a bit on that and am at (or close to) the point where I can actually “race” these events.  Enough so that I felt great the next day save for some slight fatigue (riding for 6hrs duh) and calf cramping from the long downhill.  No more “wiped out for days” feeling like I had last year.  It feels awesome!

LT100 – I just didn’t feel like doing it so I skipped out on the post-race ceremonies, opting instead for Carnitas Tacos and Margs at La Rev with my wife as a recovery meal.  The opportunity came up to do the Laramie Enduro in two weeks and the Dakota Five O at the end of Aug.  Maybe LT100 is in store for next year, maybe never…

Boulder Peak Triathlon Race Report

By Adam Gordon (@icfantv)

About 12 days ago my body said enough and I hit a wall training-wise.  Fatigue, lack of power, and general disinterest took its toll and without taking too drastic measures my coach scaled back my training and by the end of last week I was tired, but felt recovered to have a good race.  I wasn’t.

I was chatting with a pro triathlete at Master’s swimming last Wednesday and he remarked that he didn’t know how we age groupers did it.  Working full-time with kids and training 10 hours a week.  That was good to hear.

My pre-race went by-the-book and my swim warmup was good and I felt good.  I realized that I’d forgotten to take my GU chomps but got them in first thing on the bike.  I lined up at the front of the swim next to Steve Johnson and Eric Kenney, two VERY fast guys.  Eric asked me if I was going out hard.  I said yes.  He asked “20 minutes?”  “Probably 23,” I said, “I’m finding Steve’s feet and hanging on.”  Eric followed with he needed 10 minutes to stay with Steve.  I said I needed 20.  Eric beat me out of the water by a little over a minute and I over Steve by around the same amount.  Of course, both then proceeded to crush me on the bike and run.

T1 was fast.  This was the first race where I left my bike shoes clipped in and while it was weird getting my feet in my shoes and closing the velcro, everything was fine.  Even with the shoes being a little lose and my feet having sand still on them, after a few minutes I didn’t even notice.  Climbing out of the res on 51st and then on Jay was fine, but I should have realized something was up during the long, false flat up to the 36/Broadway merge.  My power was only slightly low, but I couldn’t generate it in my aero bars – which was not normal.  By the time I hit the flats on 36 before and after Neva I was riding in my aero bars, but my power was off.  By the end of the bike, my average power was in the low 190s and it should have been between 210 and 220.  As a result, my projected bike time was way off.  I easily lost 5 minutes.

T2 was fast.  I remembered to roll my socks beforehand so I could just unroll them onto my feet (next season, I’m going to start training again without socks.  It’s free speed and they’re completely unnecessary).  Heading out onto the run, I realized I forgot my Garmin on my bike and had to race by feel.  I held back going out and felt ok until around mile 1 when I noticed the fatigue started setting in.  I didn’t have to gut through anything just yet, I just kept running.  No stopping at the aid stations, but grabbing water to hydrate and douse to cool off.  By the time I hit mile 4, I was wiped and was struggling to just stay running.  At one point I had to stop and walk for a minute but forced myself to start jogging again.  At some point past mile 3 after the turnaround, my teammate Jeremy passed me still on his way out.  My first thought was that he was going to catch me and my second was that I really didn’t care.  He caught me between miles 5 and 6 and later said that I wasn’t looking great by then.  I’m sure.  I was able to pick it up a little the last half to 3/4 of a mile, but it was all I could do to get to the finish.  One positive was that while the run was hot, it didn’t really bother me much.  I need to be better about dumping water on my front and and not just the top of my head and down my back.

Thanks to my coach Billy Edwards, my team Foxtrot Wheel & Edgemy teammates, my sponsor GU EnergyColorado Multisport, and my wife for the support.

Race Results:

165th overall (149th out of 557 men, 948 total athletes, including relays)
32nd out of 98 in age group
Swim (1500m):  21:59 (3rd fastest in AG, and 21st fastest overall)
T1: 1:37
Bike (26 mi): 1:13:23 (37th in AG)
T2: 1:09
Run (10km):  53:16

Total:  2:31:25

Loveland Lake-to-Lake Triathlon Race Report

By Adam Gordon (@icfantv)

Two things were clear after the Boulder Sprint Triathlon:  first, my running needed work, and second, so did my taper.  To be clear, the latter was more a result of a week of poor sleep leading up to the race than training too much.  To mitigate the first, I had my coach, Billy start giving me structured running workouts.  Read more about that here.  In reality, it’s too far into the season to expect awesome results from the running but I had to try.  My run workouts had been going well (arguably at the expense of my bike).

We adjusted my taper accordingly and I made damn sure I was in bed as early as is possible every night with two young kids.  As a result, I went in feeling fairly fresh.

The race was an hour from my house and a wave start time of 6:30am meant getting up at 3:30.  I don’t remember what time I got there but I was definitely one of the first few competitors and got a really good rack spot right by the bike-in/out.  Set up was uneventful and with the several bathroom breaks I didn’t have to worry about what to do with my time.  With about 50 minutes until go time, I got the bottom half of my wetsuit on and walked the 1/4-mile to the swim start.  (Yes, 1/4-mile.  Which meant after coming out of the water, there was going to be a nice run to get to T1.)

I got the rest of my wetsuit on and started warming up.  I felt awesome and fast.  I knew I was going to have a good day.  This was also the first time I was going to wear a watch in the race so I could get power data on the bike.  But rather than just keep it on the bike, I wore it the whole race.  This can be a mixed blessing because it’s easy to get in one’s head if you’re not hitting your numbers.

In retrospect, I probably should have gone over the course maps because I realized about a minute before the start that I had the wrong swim course plotted.  Thankfully the elites were paying attention and I got behind them at the start with about a minute to spare.  We got a 10-second countdown (which was nice as usually there’s a 30-second warning and then a horn).  Right away I found some fast feet and for the first time since I raced Vineman 70.3 in 2008 I had feet the whole way.  One take away from the swim is that I need to be a lot better at sighting when I’m following in case the person I’m following leads me astray.  I had this thought at some point during the swim and tried to be good about looking for the buoys but I wasn’t as good as I should have been.  The second turn on the swim had us swimming directly into the sun and I couldn’t see shit.  I just trusted the guy in front of me could and wasn’t going to lead me astray.  He didn’t, but it was still really unnerving.

I don’t recall knowing where I was position wise until I got out on the bike with the two lead elite women and looked at my watch.  I knew then that’d I’d really rocked the swim.  The bike course is hard and it bites right away with uphill rollers heading west out of T1.  With some short downhill recovery, it’s basically a climb all the way to Horsetooth Reservoir.  Eventually the lead female started pulling away but I passed and dropped the second place female in the first five miles.  I’d never been this close to the front of a race before and it was really weird only seeing one or two other riders.  At some point I realized that to this point, only three other riders had passed me to this point and I was feeling really good.  I crested the first major climb about half way through the bike and ripped down the descent knowing the next climb was a lot shorter before the long, screaming descent into Ft. Collins.  About 200m from the top, I felt my back tire get a little squishy and realized that the worst thing that could have happened (short of an accident) had happened and I got a flat.  I had put tire sealant in the tubular but my guess is that it didn’t kick in until too much air had escaped rendering it essentially useless.  I probably should have tried to refill it to see if it would hold air but wasn’t thinking straight and all I could think about was getting the tire off and switching it out.  Instead of using glue, I used Tufo tape to adhere the tire to the rim.  And it’s tacky.  REALLY tacky.  I couldn’t get the tire off even though I’d left a several inch gap with no tape opposite the valve stem.  It felt like it took forever to change but in reality it was like 6 minutes.  But during that time, all the riders I’d been ahead of were passing me.  I was pissed and any semblance of a race plan went out the window (as indicated by my wattage from that point on as it was all over the map) and I stupidly tried to make up for lost time.  I even yelled at a guy to stop drafting (he wasn’t).  The last stretch from Ft. Collins back to Loveland is on S. Taft a very straight stretch of road but it’s very exposed and has massive rollers (which doesn’t help with trying to maintain a consistent wattage).

The rest of the bike was fine but I was a mental wreck.  I flew into and out of T2 and ran the first mile faster than I should have and finally my body was like “enough” and I struggled through the rest of the run even having to resort to walking a few aid stations on the way back – something I NEVER do.  I was just holding on when I crossed the finish line.

My biggest takeaways were that my taper and recovery were spot on and I need to be able to deal with shit that happens during a race.  Pro triathlete Ben Hoffman raced Ironman Coeur d’Alene on Sunday and flatted twice on the bike.  He could have said “fuck it” and quit or coasted the rest of the way.  But, despite losing 15 minutes on the bike, he ripped off a 2:43 marathon and ran his way to 3rd.  That’s how you deal with mental issues.  I got lucky, as I only lost one place due to the flat and the bike course was really hard – which is a great equalizer.  Also, I wonder if my run would have been better.

Thanks to my coach Billy Edwards, my team Foxtrot Wheel & Edgemy teammates, my sponsor GU EnergyColorado Multisport, and my wife for the support.

Race Results:

79th overall, 58th male (185 men total, 338 total athletes)
7th out of 28 in age group w/ flat (6th w/o)
Swim (1500m):  23:57, 2nd fastest in AG and 14th fastest overall
T1: 1:06
Bike (30 mi): 1:35:49 w/ flat (1:29:06 w/o, 7th fastest in AG)
T2: 1:08
Run (10km):  53:38, 18th in AG

Total:  2:55:40 w/flat (2:48:57 w/o)