27 July 2011

“ For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Something I have noticed over the past 11 years of racing is I do tend to build overall into a season. Specifically in my running and biking. Not so much in my swimming as for me I can be doing 5km swims early in the winter. This is manageable due to the fact that it is hard to get injured from too much swimming. Perhaps some shoulder pain but swimming since I was 8 years old....well I am quite adapted.

The first race of the season is always a scary one. You have been training hard, you may feel strong, fit but it takes a race to show where you actually are. My first race of the season was Escape from Alcatraz which is not really my specialty being non drafting. However it certainly does show the area in need. For me my riding and actually my swimming. The best part of my day there was my run. Overall I was pleased.
So I got home and got working on my bike. Monroe ITU was around the corner and I hoped to bring up my weaknesses. 
In Monroe, I took a risk. It didn’t quite work out. I poured everything I could into my strategy, yet called it off when I saw it was not going to work. If this strategy works it can be great but if it doesn’t it may look foolish and it turns into a bad day.
Monroe is a small town outside of Seattle. Kind of a farming area with the ocean near by. Aaron and I drove down and stayed by a sea side town called Everett. The course was flat across the board with a rather technical course. Out and back but with 3x180 degree corners in a “T” formation. My weakness in the swim has been my start. So with a rather slow start I began making up ground in the final km back up to the feet of Jon Bird and Dustin McLarty. We exited the water and formed a pack of about 11 guys. On the bike the pace was slow with a few attempts to break but no one managed to get separate. I saw these attempts and figured the motivation to get away was there within at least 3 guys in the group. So I planned a break on lap 5 of 8. I swung out and quickly got a 20-30 second gap. No one came with me so I set a strong pace in hopes of either pulling away. Ideally I was hoping for someone like Hunter Kemper, Ben Collins or Victoria team mates to join and work together. Four Kilometers down the road the pack got organized and began bringing me in. With this realization, I cut my losses and focused on getting ready for the run. On to the run, I struggled to get my legs in the first of 4 laps and managed to finish strong for the second half.
Overall I took a risk. It didn’t work. I salvaged what I could. I fought back against what could have been much worse. I finished 9th on the day. Perhaps if I played it safe I could have finished higher. But if my risk worked it could have been great. Thus the conflict.
SAN FRANCISCO! I never get sick of this city! I look forward to this race every year. The Treasure Island ITU. This year, I experienced an almost unbearable heartbreaker of a result. There is no need to sugar coat this, I am partly angry, rather disheartened but hugely motivated. 
Boy, for the entire weekend leading up to the race, I was in such a good state of mind. The race briefing was full of re-acquainting with good friends. I was ready to race. Race morning was full of energy; The usual semi-chaotic rush to set up your bike, warm up, suit up, pick up chip and prepare for the gun to go off.
Another fast swim lead out by Dustin quickly stretched out the pack and formed a break of about 10 guys strung out. The 10 of us grouped up on the bike and worked well together to build a sizable lead. Once we had a solid lead i began keeping track of the laps to go. 3 laps.... It was our main focus to get a gap. So I was not keeping close track of laps to go until this point. Little did I know the mistake had been made. I did not intend on breaking away in San francisco but in the 4th lap I took a 90degree corner very hard accelerating me off the front of the pack. I realized the opportunity and worked to build a lead. I glanced at the lap counter, 2 laps to go.... I kept good pressure and was joined by Tom Zaferes. The two of us continued to work together. It was very exciting as this was really going to work out! We were going to stay away!! And best of all, I felt very in control of both my heart rate and in-turn in control of the race. We rounded the corner to receive the bell for the final lap. 1 lap to go.... We flew through the winding section looking for every advantage we could get. On the long straight away that followed, I looked back to see where the chase pack was. They were nowhere to be seen. Everything fell apart as I came to the horrible realization that we have been sent for an extra lap.
Writing this about 3 weeks after allows me to clear my thoughts a bit. The collage of emotion were originally a mix of, ‘I can salvage this!’ ‘Holly Sh**, no no no,’ ‘Should I just drop out?’ ‘How the hell does this happen!’ Along with a number of other curse words, a couple of km of smacking my handlebars, I came to a more sensible thought. I said to Tom, “Alright, brick workout it is.” With loads of adrenaline I began riding as hard as I could. We ran together for the first lap comfortably, until Tom got a bloody 15sec transition penalty. This was humorous since with basically a 14minute extra lap 15sec were the least of our worries.... He said go ahead and I ran it in a little harder for the second half.
  1. Congrats to Matt Sharpe and Sarah-Anne Brault on the wins.
  2. I have the fitness
  3. Tactics Work
  4. I didn’t give up.

  1. I did an extra lap on the bike.
  2. Count Thy Laps!
Moving on.
I have always been a physics guy and a big part of physics is cause and effect. One of Newtons Three laws of Motion is, “ For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” I am of course referring to the motivation and the fire lit within me. I can use this! And I have, training has been very strong.
Since then I have competed in a number of Criteriums. Two that are noteworthy are of course Newton Heights and a pleasant win at Caleb Pike. 
Newton Heights is simple. The race is a battle of attrition. Since it is pretty much hill repetitions for 18 laps it does break up quickly. Several laps in the group split up with a break of myself and two others. Curtis Dearden and Colin Hynes. Couple laps later it was down to Curtis and myself. We worked together for 6 laps and with about 4 laps to go the in-fighting commenced. Curtis got a gap and held it to the finish. I was second and Colin was third.

The following week was Celeb Pike. I was patient here. Around the half way point I broke away for about 3 and half laps with a pretty strong lead. I was joined by 4 others including Tyler Trace, Jason Eagles, Raphael Lalumiere and Steve Bachop. We worked really well together for 3 laps and with half a lap(1.5km) to the finish. I attacked getting just enough of a gap to hold off Tyler’s strong sprint to the finish.

Since then Training has been hard with a Time Trial 1410meter big island loop last wednesday. I swam a 14.43 which is a personal best. So all is well in the swimming department.

Next for me will be the Sooke Chase next weekend and Nationals in Kelowna in three weeks. But more on that later.
I am back online.
Thanks for reading and hope all is well.
ciao for now,
Andrew McCartney

Need Motivation. Check out this song/video. Woodkid - Iron (see also remixes)

More on the light side. Dan Mangan - Robots
"Robots need love too."

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