- It fell at a great time in my yearly schedule
- I respond really well to racing every 4 weeks as it gives me a chance to reset after a race, build for 3 weeks and then taper off (I am the type of athlete who gets a little stale after training week in, week out for months on end).
- And Sarah has family who lives right in Cambridge, about 500m from the race start so it was great to shack up with Uncle G and Aunty Jane for a few nights!
I flew over the Washington DC, and hired a car to make the sojourn down to Cambridge, which is a beautiful historic town on the East Coast of the USA. Matt Dixon and I eyed off the start list, and formulated a plan for me to give me the best possible chance of winning. The plan was basically to play to my strengths, that being to set a fast swim pace, and provided my bike legs were there, close the door on the guys chasing during the 90km bike segment. Particularly on Cody Beals, the 2 time defending champ who is a strong cyclist and runner, but a self admitted weaker swimmer in comparison to his bike and run ability.
A perfect day presented itself for racing, albeit a little warm than what I was used to coming out of Colorado spring. I swam hard, and pulled away from the pack with fellow strong swimmer and ex-professional cyclist Andrew Yoder. I was delighted to get into T2 with Yoder, as I figured we could be potential allies and motivate each other on the bike leg to keep the pace up and really establish a nice buffer on the others in the race.
I rode hard for the first 20min, and was pleased to see some rock solid numbers that assured me my legs were ready to play. After a brief glance back I saw Yoder hovering around 100m behind, holding me at a nice distance. I settled into a more sustainable power output and continued to put the pressure through the pedals. By 45km, Yoder had slipped a little and I could no longer see him, but I had gone through the half was point in 59min, perhaps a little too ambitious, but I felt great regardless. By 60km that ‘great’ feeling had slipped to a ‘decent’ feeling and then by 75km I slipped to feeling not so great. I lost a little momentum in the final 20min of the ride, but still clocked a 2:01:05 – my fastest bike split in a 70.3 to date. The course is definitely favorable to a fast bike split, with the flat, hot mix roads, but there was heat and humidity to deal with and also a little wind.
I made sure to prepare myself for the run as the temp was getting up close to 30c by the time I hit T2. I had taken onboard 3 drink bottles and 6 gels for the ride to minimalize any chance of bonking on the half marathon. I didn’t get any time checks going into the run, but given my decent swim/bike combo, I thought that I had a little time to play with.
My usual run springiness wasn’t there, but I felt like I was still moving well and just consolidated my lead. I made sure to take on fluids and calories at the aid stations and closed with a ‘solid’ 1:16 run split to close out the day. 2 time defending champ Cody Beals came through in 2nd, while American Matt Russell rounded out the top 3.
I am super pleased with the first half of the 2017 season. I have had 4 wins from 5 starts this year, a trend I hope to continue moving forward into the back half of the year.
Thank you again to the town of Cambridge for the brilliant support and the beautiful and fast course. Thanks for the great hospitality of Gary and Jane and also to my amazing sponsors: Giant Bikes, FFWD Wheels, Wattie Ink and ROKA!
Next up for me is Racine 70.3 on July 16th, then I will put the head down for a big block of work leading into the 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennesse!