Race Coverage

Questioning Legs & Storefront Reflections...

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By Greg Taylor

CHATTANOOGA 70.3 WORLDS Race Report - There are three categories of athletes attending a world championship. First, there are those who are there primarily to participate, celebrate, and be inspired. To take in the extravaganza of 4000 like minded souls. Second, those who are there to compete, to test themselves and their training against others in their age group and even against the professionals. Winning is unlikely but a place on the podium is perhaps within reach. Finally, there are a few, the elite, those who are there to win. A review of my training leading up to my second place finishes at USAT Nationals revealed only 9 hours per week for four months. Managing to reach 14 hours two weeks before Chattanooga brought me to the realization that with 6 months of working 50 hours per week, 9 to 10 hours per day, and no days off, due to one partner's departure, I had trained all that I could. I was clearly in the second group, competing and hoping for a podium spot. 

Expectations can be a source of great anxiety. Having few, I was relaxed. We watched part of the women's race and were fortunate to see Daniella Ryf enter and leave T2. Game face that was replaced by sheer joy of her last few hundreds yards to the finish. Inspiring! With a later start for my wave, I prepped my bike, returned to our room for 45 minutes, then returned to begin the day. ...

 

 

The interval wave start dramatically reduced congestion in the swim. I started with Kevin Moats and Rodolphe von Berg in the first group of our wave. Far left, jump in, no dive, I like my goggles right where they are, thank you very much,and began a day that exceeded any expectation I could have had. My lead in the swim evaporated half way up the three mile climb that started only 4 miles into the bike course. I was comfortable at 250 watts when Bruce Williams flew by. 310 watts to keep him in sight. Oh Man! But as the course began to roll, I closed the gap and was once again in the lead. Then, at about 15 miles, like a sail, RvB blew by on an uphill section quickly opening a 30 second gap. But as the course began to roll the gap stabilized. Then, I slowly closed the gap. Knowing that this was the race, I decided that I would stay with him regardless of the cost to my run legs. He raced absolutely clean, ignoring all opportunities to draft. Riders would slot in between us, forcing me back and creating a gap, which I would then work to close down. It was going to come down to the run.

I managed to gain 12 seconds in T2 and hit the first flat kilometer at 4 minutes! The coming hills would soon test everyone on the course! On a long descent to mile 5 RvB closed the gap and came along side at the base of a 1/2 mile 6% climb. With a subtle increase in my effort I opened a small gap by the top which he quickly closed on the following short descent. Running toward the pedestrian bridge, I could see his reflection in the storefront window panes to our left, he was right behind me. At mile 6.5 I increased my effort once again. Now a gap opened. On the flat to slight downhill portion to mile 9, I was well under 7 minute pace. But crossing the river again had my legs questioning the relatively early move. Reaching the base of yet another uphill I altered my stride to more fully engage my glutes and hamstrings. The long downhill where RvB had previously closed the gap was now taken in full flight, quads crying out with every step. At the base of the 1/2 mile climb where we had met on the first lap, with two miles remaining, I had only one choice, how hard can I go?! Across the now spectator filled pedestrian bridge the all out effort was fun!

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