Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Happened In Vegas (Hopefully Stays In Vegas)



At the end of this post, I've got a quick question for you that I'd love to hear your feedback on...

I must admit that I felt pretty dang good coming into the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas.

Really good, actually.

My legs were a-popping and I was ready to lay down the smack and back it up. After a tough race (see my previous post) at ITU Long Course World Championships in Spain, I raced a Half Ironman "tune-up" a few weeks ago, where I took third overall (Troika Triathlon) and have just felt really fantastic lately.

I've raced long enough to know when my body is ready for a solid performance, and this seriously threatened to be it.

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But the mishaps started the night of the race.

At 2am, the hotel room next door woke my roommate Graeme and I up with a very loud hip-hop song on repeat. It was literally shaking the wall.

Then the jackrabbit-like humping started, with a guy who kept shouting "F*&^ me harder! F*&^ me harder!"

You gotta be kidding me. After about 45 minutes, hotel security shut them down and we finally got back to sleep.

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Despite being a bit sleepy, the swim went well.

But soon as I hopped on my bike, though, something felt funny.

On the first hill up and out of transition, people were passing me left and right. I shrugged it off and just waiting for my legs to "come around".

Just to be sure, at the top of the hill, I pulled aside and checked my tire pressure. Everything was good...

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Then, on the downhill, as I slid to the front of my saddle, the whole saddle went nose down. I had just gotten a bike fit, and had been messing around with my fit afterwards.

Obviously, I failed to tighten the seat enough.

No big deal, I thought, and I slammed my butt down into the saddle to correct it. 

Then the real trouble started. My entire seat post slid down. Yet another mechanical adjusting failure on my part.

So I rode the next 5 miles standing up, until I found a tech motorcycle and did a quick tool adjustment on my seat.

By this time, I figured I was screwed for a podium finish, but tried to keep my head in the game.

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But I just kept getting passed, despite me working harder than ever on the bike.

No offense, ladies, but there were women riding by me who had numbers like "48", "49" and "50" written on the back of their calves.

That just doesn't happen to me in races!

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So at mile 40, I pulled over for a third time, and this time I spun my rear disc.

Even though I had checked it the day before, I must have jostled it laying the bike down in the minivan, because the brake caliper was shoved up against the disc.

I'd been riding with brakes on for the past 40 miles.

At that point I was mentally ready to be done, and knew I wasn't going to be anywhere near the podium division finish I was looking for.

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I "soft pedaled" back into transition, ready to throw in the towel.

The screaming spectators and crowds got me inspired to jump into the run.

However, when you're running a race in over 100 degrees heat, you need a reason to be out there, and at that point, my reason had faded. A finisher's medal was not enough incentive for me to punish my body for the next 90 minutes.

So at mile 3, I walked it in and called it a day.

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Here I sit in Vegas, getting ready to end a tough experience with a hard drink.

But there's one more thing:

When I have an experience like this, I need a redemption race. Something to give myself a mental boost of positivity, go prove to myself that I'm fast, go use the fitness I built up for this race, and ensure that everything is OK.

So here's my question for you:

Where do you think I should race? I'm ready anytime in the next 2-3 weeks. You name the place and I'll try to make it happen - Olympic up to Half Ironman...go!


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