After a brief hiatus, it was time to head back down south to race. I had to take a bit of a break from racing in order to catch up on work, attend my cousin’s wedding, catch a spring cold, and of course train. I was able to make a nice bump up in my bike/run mileage, which I hoped to capitalize down in Mexico.
I haven’t raced on a truly flat course this year, and Huatulco was absolutely no exception. If there is any course out there that could be defined as hot & hilly, this was definitely it. The 25mi bike course has >2300ft of climbing, and at 29C, the water temperature barely had the distinction of being cooler than the air… at 7am.
The swim was violent- less skill and more about being able to take the punches (I had a black eye the next morning, that was a first). Just tried to stay out of trouble, and was able to keep with the main group. Easily flowed right into the main pack for the bike, which started hard and got harder once we hit the hill. At least two girls pulled out at the bottom of the hill- I’d never seen anything like that. Despite the increase in bike training, my bike didn’t make a big enough jump to stay with the top pack up the hill. I did a bit of damage control and tried not to go nuts – there were girls dropping back all the time, and a pretty high drop out rate in general. Two went off the front though, and began making headway on the group. Got pretty nervous about that and threw any sort of pacing out the window on the last couple laps just to make it into transition. I actually descended my time for the last three laps of the bike, and made it just before the cut for first runner/last bike.
Started the run pretty moderate since my placing was pretty clear at that point, but was starting to make some headway on the stragglers on the 2nd lap. Managed to catch the next girl about halfway through, but I started to see some black spots and had to remind myself there were two more laps. So I did end up making up some time, but not places. It had been since my summers in Champaign since I had seen that sort of heat- I think they said it was 33C on our run with 80-100% humidity. I finished 21st out of 21 finishers.
I was disappointed, I still am disappointed. Out of our group of 6 that went down to Mexico from the USA, only one from each the male/female side managed to even finish. HOWEVER, my bike numbers have improved, my swim was right on par, and I managed to outrun most of the field even though I was solo for most of the bike. So training is working, but not as quickly as anyone would like.
Big thank you to my support team for pulling me through yet another turbulent period: Mum & Pop (thanks for listening, always), my coaches Dave & Christine (for pretty much adopting me), Skratch Labs (hydration experts once again, as demo-ed in the back half), TYR, PowerTap (still critical to tracking my improvement, and helping me with the bike game), Giro, Oakley, & ISM, as well as the Team USA support crew. Also a shout out to all the other Team USA racers- Ben Kanute, Alex Libin, Lukas Verzbicas, John O’Neill, and my roommate Brianna Blanchard- even though we all had pretty rough race days, it was certainly not for want of prep on our end. I had a great time with you all, and look forward to seeing everyone again on the circuit. I immediately missed you all upon arrival back in Colo- great group, tremendous dedication, and I felt energized and inspired just hanging out with you all.
Alright, enough sap. I’m heading out on my bike in search of WATTS.
Video, courtesy of John O’Neill: