Tempe International

Tempe International

I decided to race Tempe International as it’s one of the few open water races that exist in Arizona and it’s only about a 15 minute drive from home. ¬†It was nice to sleep in my own bed for once instead of a hotel room with people stomping on the floor above you at 3am, like in Galveston ūüôā

This race was fun because my girlfriend, Alyssa, and her family came out to watch me do what I love. ¬†Before the start of the race something funny and out of the ordinary happened. ¬†Because Alyssa’s family drove separately from us, they brought her McDonald’s breakfast sandwich since she hadn’t eaten yet. ¬†I am not joking when I say I actually asked for a bite because it looked good but then realized I’d probably see it again during the swim or the run. ¬†So, if anyone ever eats a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin before their race let me know how it goes.

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I had a great swim, clear water right away and there was no contact at all. ¬†Aside from overtaking the sprint distance race that went off before us, I had no problems. ¬†I came out of the water in 15:32 in my Xterra Vengeance, a full minute ahead of the second person. ¬†Obviously, based on my time, it wasn’t a full 1500m, but my swim seemed to be dialed in and arguably the best it’s been since I started triathlon. ¬†I have started swimming with a masters group, and I’ve been hitting times I haven’t seen since I was swimming competitively. ¬†I was hoping for a bigger gap here as 1 min wasn’t a whole lot of a cushion but I’ll take it.

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I got on my bike and tried to get to work but failed pretty miserably. ¬†Either my power meter is reading low or I have really lost my top end power and was riding Half Ironman watts. ¬†I was able to stay away for 12 miles and then was caught by Paul Stevenson, a very fast cyclist, who was leading a couple other guys just sitting on his wheel (the two pros who ended up 1-2 at the finish). ¬†Kinda disappointing that I feel like I have to draft to stay with anyone, but I guess that’s racing now. ¬†They dropped me pretty quickly because, as is often the case, when pros make a pass move, they ride at about 400 watts top put you away!

I have a lot of work to do on the bike. ¬†I will admit it has been frustrating because my cycling training has been going relatively well, so I’m not sure why my bike splits and power have been somewhat mediocre in the races. ¬†I will keep grinding and get there.

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Run was a cluster. ¬†I couldn’t find my shoes in T2 because people literally forget they don’t need to bring a whole wardrobe in there. I actually saw a guy with a suitcase. ¬†C’mon, seriously? ¬†They’d be in shock if they ever saw ITU races. ¬†Anyway, I was down about 90 seconds to the 3 leaders and tried to close the gap. ¬†Aid stations were few and far between and the water cups were plastic (not the usual Dixie cups), so when I grabbed them they just broke in my hand. ¬†The run was nice though, because it was just one loop, but I discovered people were cutting the course at a turn around 4 miles in. ¬†They probably only ran a little less than everyone else (.10 of a mile) and on different terrain. ¬†It wouldn’t have made a huge difference, but it seems like this happens too often in small races that I’ve done. ¬†If most racers saw the pathway arrow, they should have seen it, too. ¬†It’s also their responsibility to know the course. ¬†Frankly, at the end of an out and back loop, there should have been a volunteer and a timing mat.

I ended up finishing in 4th place (1st and 2nd were pros) which I wasn’t pleased about. ¬†It was OK, all things considered. ¬†I had so much going on with graduating from TCU, driving and moving back to Phoenix from Fort Worth (15 hour drive!) and a decent training week leading into it, so I can’t be too upset about it. After all, I am just doing this sport purely for fun.

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