1:58:58 (5th) Olympic Distance non-drafting
swim 19:30 (24th)
bike 1:01:42 (4th)
run 35:09 (2nd)
It's 9pm, the night before HyVee 5150 Triathlon, the largest paying triathlon. I have everything organised and in its place for the 4am alarm in the morning. The Shiv is shiny and ready to roll. Dinner eaten, emailing done, teeth cleaned...been to the toilet...ready for bed. And then a call on the hotel phone from USADA saying they are down in the lobby to see me for a random drug test. Not ideal timing. I guess there's never really a convenient time for a 'random', but that's there job and they're always super friendly about it (I guess to make up for the fact that most athletes aren't overly excited to see them at the front door). But the timing of this one felt a bit cruel. I knew it was going to take me a while till I'd be ready to pee again. But I didn't want to start chugging water that would keep me up all night. And of course my mind kept reminding me that this time right now has been ear-marked for sleep time for months in advance. But after spending a good hour with them, they were nice people. A friendly elderly couple from a few hrs drive away doing this testing job part-time. We shared stories and got to know each other. Some of us peed while others watched and we became old friends by the end of the night. T-minus 9hrs till race start...
After a warm up swim, the national anthem, and some fireworks, the 30 men are individually introduced, set, and on their way. About 4 minutes later the 28 females are introduced one by one to the start line (somehow I managed to be ranked 24th for the race even though my 5150 ranking was 5th - I'm not sure what happened there but it didn't effect anything). The swim in this race is so much more important than most of my other races. They are all so quick over the 1500m and then they go flat-out on the bike and there's not much time to catch back up. A good swim might help get me up onto the podium by the end if I'm lucky. But a bad swim could leave me with too much to do on the roads...and not enough time to do it. The finish line comes way too quickly in this race. Today, I had the later. A swim that left me 3.30mins behind the leaders. Jared said after 3mins, T1 was dead quiet and empty and he was starting to worry that I was hurt out in the water, being rescued by one of the kayaks. I've only done a small handful of Olympic Distance races, but every one of them I somehow manage to cop a serious beating in the swim. I was bashed, dunked, pushed and pulled like there was some sort of under-water mixed-martial arts tournament going on or something. It gets really scary out there. I eventually got myself into some clear water about a third of the way through and started finding some rhythm. I passed a couple girls in the last stretch and came out of the water in 24th.
"10km is all you have to work with today...time to get moving!" - I was thinking running out of transition. It's not very often I'm hoping the run is long and I've done this race two times before so I know it's an accurate 10km but I'm still hoping it might be mis-measured this time around. I take off and start chasing down the girls in front. My legs are feeling great but my heart is pounding out of my chest. The higher intensity is a shock to me. Usually it's my legs that give in first but not today. I sound like a train. The run is a very flat out and back. The weather is now perfect. Clear blue skies and a little warm. As I pass more girls I lose track of my position but I just keep pushing on looking up the road for the next one ahead. The whole thing is over in a flash. I get to the finish and it is all done for another year. I found out I got up into 5th so that was good to know I got another top 5. I also thought at that point, at least I don't have to hang around for drug testing today (because we had a tight schedule with a 1:30 flight straight after the race).
30seconds later a nice USADA lady comes and introduces herself to me and lets me know I'm the lucky winner of a random drug test. I went down to the testing tent and caught up with the other nice lady from last night, got in and out as quick as possible. The paper work takes quite a while. Then I was back on my Shiv for a quick ride back to the hotel, quick breakfast, quickly pack the bike, back to the airport, and back home to Boulder for a late lunch. Even though the race didn't go completely how I would've loved it to, it was perfect to get a good hard hit-out a week before 70.3 Worlds. No soreness and no problems from the race. What better way to fit in 1 last hard training session than with 27 of the worlds best short course non-drafting girls! Thanks girls...couldn't have done it without you. Really...I couldn't have! And finally, huge congrats to Helle Frederiksen for the win. She was super strong, dominating from start to finish. Congrats too, to Alicia Kaye and Jodie Swallow for their great racing out front to earn 2nd and 3rd. Finally, thank you to HyVee and the many other sponsors involved in this race, the race director, officials, volunteers, the city of Des Moines and all the cheering fans out there. I hope this race continues for many years to come.