The 2009 Huatulco World Cup was seriously hot. The water was 84, and according to Jarrod Shoemakerâ€™s SRM the average temp was 102 degrees during the bike. During the run it only got hotter. I poured so much water over my head on the run that at times I felt like I was running through a shower. And thatâ€™s all Iâ€™ll say about the weather.
The swim was by far the slowest and easiest swim of my triathlon career. Two guys took off and I stayed at the front of the main group, then pulled ahead at the end. Transition relaxed because I was in front of everyone, and the bike started off really slow with nobody motivated to work hard at all.
The hill on the bike was a wall. It was 75 seconds straight up, we hit it eight times, which destroyed the pack and caused the majority of people to drop out. On lap three I started at the front into the hill then went easy (relatively) planned to be near the end of the group by the crest. Unfortunately, when I crested some guys in front of me had allowed a gap to open â€“ which I figured was no big deal â€“ but on the decent the gap grew, rather than shrinking. I had to TT my way back to the front group and by the time I made it they were already starting up the hill again, with Matt Chrabot pulling off the front. He stayed away for more than four laps, starting the run with a FOUR MINUTE lead! Back in my pack we had decided he was committing suicide, and nobody was willing to chase.
Matt went on to win handily (after a â€œsuicide attemptâ€ he ran just 20 seconds slower than Jarrod), with Jarrod running to third (second was Rudie Wild, who did a mini-version of Chrabotâ€™s breakaway). I ran in a pack with Collington, Serrano, Chacon, and Tutukin. It was the first real running pack Iâ€™ve been in, and I finally understand how tactics play into the running race. I stared surging on the downhills after 5k, and we dropped Chacon and Collington. For the last two laps Serrano Tutukin and I flogged each other with everything we had, and every time one of us surged the other two would claw our way back into the draft. With about a 1/4 mile to go I was leading, and thinking my final surge had dropped the other two â€“ then Tutukin came by with a final surge I couldnâ€™t match, and Serrano followed on his heels. It was a really close finish, which put me at 7th place.
The graph above, for those of you wondering, is a measurement of the time gap between Matt Chrabot and each of the other competitors, with each measurement taken at the transition area (8 for the bike, 4 for the run). Take a minute to soak this in â€“ when 50 guys started a race that only 22 were capable of finishing, Matt Chrabot took it to another level, put four minutes on the nearest competitor during the bike, then lost mere seconds on one of the hottest runs in triathlon. Thatâ€™s not just gutsy, itâ€™s superhuman.