Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Malibu Triathlon race report: A Costly Puncture

The last 3 races have all been disappointing, but for different reasons -not because I'm out of shape, struggling with confidence, or some other issue...just things you can't control too much (like staff infections, heat exhaustion (although now I realize it was partially my fault in Chicago..nutrition was bad, calorie intake way too little for the afternoon race on no lunch), and now a flat tire.) You live, learn, and try to avoid bad luck.

I flew into Santa Barbara for a day and a half (AKA paradise, I could write another separate entry on why SB is the perfect place for any pro triathlete to train...minus the cost of living) and headed to Malibu with great friends from Multisport Ministries and Riptide teammates Jordan Jones and Josh Merrick.

The swim: The ocean swim wasn't too bad. Waves were smaller than most years, so it was relatively calm. My arms were heavy from the start, but that was fine, as I never blew up and the heaviness never got any worse throughout the race. It was a chilly 58 degrees, but I didn't notice it at all when the gun went off. For once, my goggles didn't fog which was great. I've finally learned the secrets to no-fogging!! Finally! It has to do with simply buying new goggles..frequently, and not racing in the same pair you use at the pool since the anti-fog stuff wears off after a few uses. A little spit can help sometimes, but never rub it around with your fingers, which removes the original anti-fog stuff. I also found some good Barracuda anti-fog drops (which also never worked before in old goggles), but adding these to newer goggles helps too...so basically, get new goggles and only plan on using them for a few races. Then replace them. For the pool, use separate goggles and wash them out with shampoo (baby shampoo and use fog drops right after that). That's the only thing that's worked.

I came out of the swim as the 6th pro I believe, right with my teammate Jordan and about 1:30 back of Olympian Matt Reed, which was a fine position for us both. Josh was about 4 min. back, but as always his bike and run moves him up in a hurry. On the bike, I road side by side with Jordan out of transition, didn't see a huge speed bump, tried to hop it but slammed my disc wheel right on it as I didn't bunny hop far enough! Jordan laughed with me about it post-race, it was loud, and sounded like my bike could have cracked. I felt great on the bike, and both Jordan and I were biking great and moving up in the field, passing all the super-swimmer women like Hayley Piersol & Olympian Julie Ertel within the first mile or two. We caught my friend Chris Berg a bit before the turnaround and were both feeling great. I was having probably my best race to date, sitting in 5th behind an Olympian, the 8th place Ironman Kona finisher Mathias Hecht from Switzerland, Fraser Cartnell of the UK and of team Trek/KSwiss. He was also the Ironman UK Champion and is a multiple time Ironman 70.3 Champ. Jordan was in 4th.

Boom! On my way back along the coast, on the beautiful PCH, AKA the Pacific Coast Hwy for all you non-SoCal lingo speakers, I heard a loud pop, looked down, and saw air spraying out of my disc wheel. My day was done, my tubular was flat, and I found myself sitting on the side of the road with my hands on my head and my thumb up eventually trying to find a ride back. I killed some time by hurling some rocks into the ocean and found that a great way to take out anger, along with screaming very loudly. Athlete after athlete rode by me...I was crushed, and sat on the side of the road for about 25 minutes until the Triathlon Lab van rescued me. From emotional high to devastation, I had thrown my bike down screaming (a few, or perhaps a few too many, words I shouldn't repeat on this blog...words that rarely come from my mouth). I was crushed emotionally, as this would likely have been my best pay day as a pro so far, as top 5 get paid.

I made it back just in time to catch the finish and to see Jordan finish an incredible 2nd place (with a blazing sub 32 min run) to Olympian Matty Reed, and collect his $2500 check. Reed came home with $5000. Josh rounded out the podium with a 5th place finish and also a paycheck after a crazy fast run as well, where he passed a few to grab the final spot. Congrats to my Riptide men for huge results!! I was so pumped to see them do so well.

Things like this happen, and there's not much you can do about it. Just move onto the next race. It's part of racing, and you just have to accept it.

Here's a podium shot I took... wishing I was up there too. Just serves as more motivation, that's all. I'm getting hungry to be up there :)

Thanks to the Multisport Ministries men who helped sponsor the trip, Bethany Nickless for letting me borrow her car for the weekend, and my boys in Santa Barbara who let me stay at their place.

Here's a few pictures of some great things from the weekend.Los Banos Pool: 50m. In the Santa Barbara harbor lot. Awesome. I used to swim there daily at lunch with a group of guys. I miss the pool, and miss those guys. I got a short pre-race Friday workout in with them, it was great to be back.

SB City College Track: Up there with the new Westmont track, the most scenic track in the world, across from the harbor. I miss doing my 400s there.

Westmont College Track: the new track I wish we had when I ran there.

Malibu Beach Inn: View from our Malibu hotel. Thanks so much to Steve Silverstein and Erik Burkholz for sponsoring the stay and race! I was looking for a floor to crash on, and ended up with a pullout couch and a view like this!


doug said...

Sorry about the blow-out Ryan.
It was great to see you in SB - your swimming is looking very strong. Keep it up and don't forget to come visit us once in a while.

Doug P (Los Banos)

Ryan said...

Hey Borger, I'm bummed I didn't get to see you in SB. Sorry to hear about the blown tire. You're a stud.

Ryan Wolf