A few people have been keen for me to hit up my laptop and write up a race brief/report on the Las Vegas World Championships that I just came back from. So lets get to it!
I initially qualified for Las Vegas in the Geelong 70.3 as part of the build up for the Melbourne Ironman(IM) in February this year. At the time I was honoured to get a spot and felt that I was likely to fall short at the Melbourne IM as my swim isn’t up to scratch. But sure enough I qualified for both, happy days. I left for Las Vegas on the third of September (Tuesday am Melbourne time). After a long flight 14.5 hours to LAX (Los Angeles) and a quick 1hr flight from LAX to las Vegas I was good to go. Unfortunately I was just not able to sleep on the plane due to the constant drone of the engines (I fixed this up nicely on the trip back with some awesome Bose headphones that I borrowed from a mate, thanks Nick!). So I lived through the 3rd of September twice, as I arrived in LV at 11am (as LV is 17hrs behind our time). After a tired first day, I spent the time shopping for food, doing some quality self massage work to unwind all the tightness from sitting in an aisle seat stuck behind a 5 foot 2 lady who insisted on having the seat down the whole trip! Lesson number 2 learnt…. don’t be a tight arse and spend some extra money for an exit row seat! I did this on the way back = heaven in comparison!
The week leading up to the 70.3 was all about adjusting to the heat, getting the legs moving and adjusting to the different time zone. I must admit that I cut the time
a little short leading into the event with the heat and the time zone. I was only just starting to feel human again by 3-4 days after arriving. Overall I found the Americans to be very polite and happy to please. I went for a few rides in prep for the weekend and I never had the road rage with drivers that I get here in Australia, perhaps I just had some good hit ups, but this is a rarity in Australia. I always find someone cuts me off or passes me by only 6 or so inches… all in a days ride back in Australia! Don’t get me wrong I love the country, but our road rage is just insane!
A big fear I had going to the states was not being able to eat the diet that I have become used to. Overall I was able to eat along the ways I do back in Australia 90-95% of the time. Like back in Australia, the key was prior planning and asking what you wanted when eating out.
Come race morning I looked out of the hotel room and it was raining! Crazy as it very rarely rains in Las Vegas, especially just out of summer over there. Heading down to the hotel lobby for the bus to pick us up I was feeling confident and relaxed. I like getting into a set routine on race mornings for triathlons. My first task is getting to my bike, pumping up the tires, placing the bike computer on, getting the components dry if possible, setting the shoes up for a quick getaway and placing the helmet/sunnies on the bike. Once that is done, I hydrate up, go for a warm up 10 min jog, away from the hustle and bustle….. this for me is focus time! Upon returning it is time to put the swim suit on (textile….. as no wetsuit in vegas!) and get ready for the start!
I am currently a weak swimmer. I have only been swimming for 2 years. So I need a good decent warm up to get the feel for the water and get my body used to the water. Unfortunately with races in the states, this is not allowed! No warm up! Nuts. So I had to jump into a massive que in the 8th wave ( as this was where my age group started). Unlike the IM, 70.3 races are a progressive start.
I had 100m to warm up swimming out to the start, the water was dirty, mirky and somewhat like Lysterfield lake out here in Australia. This was my first open water
swim since march in the Melbourne IM, my first non-wetsuit swim and my first event overseas…. so a few firsts for me! I hoped to swim a 33-35 min swim as I have been working on my swimming solidly over the winter. But I was to get a big reality check. I came out of the water in 40 mins. In a distance like this that is a killer. The old saying = you can’t win a race with a good swim, but you can surely lose a race with a bad swim. I was 10 minute behind the good swimmers. Ouch!
Despite this I cranked out a half decent bike split of 2hr 32 mins on a very hilly and testing ride through the national park/desert outside Las Vegas. I know that my riding gets better as the season goes on with triathlons, so to get that result in my first hit up for the year was pleasing, it was up there in my age group. I know that if this race was done in march or April I would have ridden a 2hr 25 min or so. Now this ride was super wet, rain was falling fairly steady throughout the ride so you had to keep your wits about you passed people etc. Fortunately the ride wasn’t a technical ride, being an out and back, so that helped under the conditions.
Onto the run and bang the sunshine came out. Hot, hot, hot! I decided to raise the tempo for the first few km’s and see how my legs felt and I was feeling good, holding a 3min 50 pace off the bike. But once that sun kicked in I really struggled to keep the pace up. Knowing that I was 10 minutes behind the guys I am normally around, due to a very poor swim and with Kona coming up in 4 weeks, I decided that recovery for me was the key. I only pushed the run 7/10 and ended up with a 1hr 32 min run. If I was close to the guys and able to catch them I probably could have pushed for 1hr 27-28 min run…. but it wasn’t worth it with the big dance coming around the corner.
So here I am on a Saturday afternoon writing this up, recovered, starting to feel 100% after some jet lag. I have an easy 3hr ride tomorrow with the guys from Nunawading Tri Club, then I have a solid 2-2.5 weeks of training ahead before I taper for the big dance in Kona. My wife and family are coming along to this one! So it will be super special. Thanks for reading and best wishes!