Monday, March 9, 2009

(Last Minute) Season Opener: Toyota Desert Int'l

I got a last minute call Friday night by Erik at MsM asking why the heck I wasn’t racing in Palm Springs on Sunday. I’m trying to stick to my training plan and whatnot, was sick the week prior and had a hard training week last week, and wasn’t going to race til the end of March. I checked the race site and registration was still open the day before the race. I got the offer to sleep on the floor of their hotel too, so I said let's do it. I sped to Fastrack where Dave, the owner (ex-Olympian and Lance’s tour mechanic of the past) glued my tubulars within the hour for me that I was in process of trying to glue myself. I just had to let them dry overnight and hope they were good to go by race time. I didn’t sleep the night before, after driving 6 hours, a 4am wake up, a loss of an hour with daylight savings, and my mind that always spins all night before races. I don’t think that mattered much though, since it's 2 days before that sleep is needed.

I finished 3rd behind Kirk Nelson, a super nice pro guy from Colorado (, and another guy who was a pro in ’06 & ’07 he said. Props to this guy, entering T2 he hit his front brake too hard and flew over the bars and cut up his face and legs, and still hammered the run. It was not quite a full Olympic/Int’l, being a ¾ mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6 mile run. I finished in 1:52:01. My swim went decent, got out of the water about 30 sec back and in about 3rd or 4th just ahead of Kirk. My transition was poor as my wetsuit was stickin' to me, and 2 or 3 guys passed me in T1. The 24 mile bike was flat and fast; I averaged 24.32 mph, staying fairly conservative, worrying about cramping which has happened on the bike. Looking at the splits, this is where I lost it, the top 2 got me by 3-4 min. on the bike split. I tried to be conservative and stay fairly relaxed, and found it feeling better to spin around 100+ cadence vs. 90. It was my 2nd int’l distance race ever, so I lack experience on how hard to push, but am learning. Two of us almost slammed into a fire truck that suddenly swerved in front of us right before a narrow turn down to T2. People we yelling at the truck to stop. I got off the bike in about 7th, feeling decent. I hadn’t cramped yet so that was good.

I wanted to start the run conservative, so went out in 5:30 and passed 4 guys that first mile. It was a 2 loop half sandy/rocky beach type path for about half and then a road for the rest, back on the beach for the finish. I was flying by people and feeling good. The last 3 miles my quads started to cramp, so as I ran I tried to rub them out as much as I could every 15 sec or so. They felt super stringy so I new I might be in trouble. They got worse and I battled it the rest of the race, stopping 4 times to rub them out when they seized up to the point of making me hobble. But I managed to get to the line, and still averaged 5:40 on the run and got the top 2 guys in the run split by quite a bit. I lost time from cramping, but don’t know if I could have gotten the guy ahead still, I think he was about a minute up on me, and no way I’d have caught Kirk who was about 2 min. ahead. Congrats to those guys! I know one of the guys behind me a few minutes has his pro card also. (I entered in the "elite" category although don't have the card yet. Why not, right :). I know with time that goal is within reach for me.

Overall I’d give it about a B grade race. I will try salt tablets in the future, and have only done 2 brick workouts so far, so that should help. Results at

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