26 March 2013

Struggle in Sarasota

This past weekend I competed in the Sarasota ITU Premium Pan-american Cup. I was more excited by the idea of an Olympic distance. I was content with the result from Clermont. I felt that a sprint triathlon the week before would clear the cobwebs of more than 6 months without triathlon racing.

My taper was much better for Sarasota, with a less is more attitude I arrived on the start line like a loaded spring. I felt fantastic race morning. Conor Murphy and I did a 10min jog in the morning. We rode to the course and the swim in the cold wetsuit legal lake was a welcome relief from the 25 Degree weather.

Located on a man made lake designed for a rowing centre to-be. The swim was a two lap pontoon start with a run-through. [At this point I would like to make it known how much I LOVE run-throughs] I am not sure if ‘Run-through’ is the proper term but basically a ramp to exit lap one run to the edge of the pontoon and hurl yourself into the air to start lap 2. 
My name was called and I selected my position about 7 positions in from the left. At the gun I knew it would be important to have a good start. I know I don’t have the best reaction rate. Slow off the line I had to make up time. I pushed off hard and did 3 butterfly kicks under the water. I came to the surface with a half body lead. 5 hard strokes and I was free. Out of the washing machine I pulled away. I was pleasantly surprised to have formed a large gap almost purely due to avoiding the thrashing waters. I stroked it out for the first lap looking back convinced that Tommy Zaferras would be coming up from behind. I took full advantage of the run-through. I’ll be honest, It wasn’t my most elegant dive. Second lap I simply maintained the gap. 
I exited the water with about a 15 second gap to Tommy and Luke Farkus and about 40 seconds to the Chase.

On to the bike Tommy and Luke came up quickly I jumped in with them and was forced to make a decision, do I commit to a breakaway or stick to the plan of saving my effort for the run. We were moving quick, 40-42km/h into the headwind and up to 48km/h with the tailwind. We were moving. 12km out of the 38km ride we did our best. All the while I questioned how wise the break was. I looked back to see the chase bearing down had. I pulled up and drank and ate all that I could to make up for the effort. Keeping a close eye on my Heart Rate I tried to lower it to a reasonable heart rate. I had to cool my body down and focus on good positioning; At the front through the corners and rolling through but no epic pulls. With 2km of riding remaining my main goal was to position myself well as I entered T2. Unfortunately, as I stood to move up in the pack, both legs began cramping simultaneously. I could not move up. 
The cramping continued on to the run. I ran through as much as I could. I struggled to the finish. The best I could do was 15th place on the day. 

Most definitely not the result I was hoping for or am capable of. Very disappointed. I made tactical errors during the race but I know there are several changes I would like to make to my training for the next month. I know I have the pieces, but I intend to focus in on race specific preparation as soon as I get home. I am excited to get back to training.

It was a pleasant 2 weeks. I made some new friends, Conor Murphy from Ireland, Lawrence Fanous from Jordan, Graham Lietch from Scotland, Johnathon Rodrigas from Columbia, Dan Feeney and Zara Guinard from the USA. 
An absolute pleasure lads. 
L-R (Me, Conor, Lawrence and Graham)
That is all for now,
Hope all is well,
Ciao
Andrew McCartney



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