Sunday I raced in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. It was unusually hot before the race, which had me a little nervous, but as a storm approached the heat dissipated a bit, so by the time we started it was below 90 degrees.
The swim was a beach start into Okanagan Lake. (as a geographic aside, Okanagan Lake is 60km long, and is home to the Ogopogo.) I stayed with the leaders for the first lap, but lost feet on the second lap, and fell back. I really like leading the swim, and this is the second time Iâ€™ve missed the front pack. Basically I either need to start swimming again, lose the ego, or â€“ more likely â€“ both.
So out of the water I was about 35 seconds behind the leaders, but still ahead of the chase pack by enough that I came out of T1 having to decide if I should sprint to the people in front or wait for the people behind. I started off strong, but realized there were only a few in front of me, and a lot behind. I let them catch up and we ended up catching the next group a lap later. The course was six laps with one big hill on each lap (8% for 600m), and not many technical corners. At the end of the 2nd lap we were in a group of about 10 guys, with three more 40 seconds ahead, including Daniel Wells and Brent McMahon. We finally closed the gap on the fifth lap, and the pace came to a halt. We had minutes on the rest of the chase packs, so there was really no incentive for anyone to ride hard.
On to the run. 4 flat laps around the waterfront park. It was really nice not to run out and back like I have at almost every other ITU race Iâ€™ve done. I had frozen this water-holding neckerchief that my mom gave me, and put it inside my hat in T2. It was in case it was 100 degrees like the day before, but I figured that since it was there I might as well use it. I think I heard fans making fun of me for my red neckerchief, but it really did work to keep me comfortable.
I was a bit nervous about the run, since my training before the camp was a bit inconsistent, but I was able to hold a steady pace and beat almost half of the people in my bike pack. I ended up 8th overall, which earned me 116 ITU points, and will bump up my world ranking over 100 places. Hopefully that means better start position at the next race!
Hereâ€™s Dave Messenheimer and me. He always seems to have great advice for what I should have done better during the race, which makes me wonder why he was watching me instead of the three guys that beat him.