Lima ITU Triathlon Premium Pan American Cup 2012

Lima_Podium_menI won. The race course was completely new for 2012. It was in a place called the Asia Country Club, which is a golf course with condos in the middle of a moonscape of sand dunes 100km south of Lima.

The start line was about 100m from the edge of the water and it was one of those beach swims where it doesn’t get deep for a long time. The first buoy was way to the right and I started on the far left side of the line. So, I let everyone else run straight into a set coming in and I ran down the beach to the right behind them to enter the water in a channel where all the water from the set was pushing out. I was the last one in the water but was right in front once I got past the waves. I led the swim but just missed a wave on the way in. I ended up exiting behind a few people on the run out. I passed them all in T1, which was an 800m run. It was such a long T1 that they gave us boxes by the beach where we could leave our wetsuits so we wouldn’t have to run with them in the heat. That was nice. (Speaking of wetsuits, a brief shoutout to the designers at Blue Seventy, I was really impressed with the new Helix. It’s the first time I don’t feel like I need to adjust how I hold my body to accommodate for the extra buoyancy. Good job guys, that’s suit’s fast!)

I was first onto the bike and thought the guys with me would be motivated to push hard since the group was really strung out behind us. I thought at most we would have 5 guys if we hit if from the line, but the crew was unmotivated. They seemed more interested in waiting to see what other people did than to determine the race themselves. I got pissed. After a couple hard pulls it was clear that nobody wanted to make a race of it. We climbed the hill for the first time, which came about 2-2.5k into the lap. The hill was ~15% for 200m, then a false flat upwards for another 300m, then a technical descent with 4 hairpins then a hard left right into transition.

I love descending.

I stayed 3rd wheel up the climb then put it in the big ring on the false flat and put some elbow grease into the pedals. I sailed past the front of the group. Nobody was interested in my suicide mission. I wanted somebody to go with me, but they just acted like I was being dumb. (Not saying they were wrong, but haven’t you ever heard of dumb luck?) I got to the top of the descent with <5 seconds on the group and had 20 by the time I went through transition at the bottom of the hill.

Lima Bike Start of 2nd Hill2nd lap: The wind was killer for the flat section and I was pissed that nobody was with me. I tried to get as small as I could, but the officials had asked me to remove my mini-TT bars because they were too long (my own fault, I was trying to get away with more bar than is legal). I just perched on the bars, it worked well enough. The hill the second time was manageably painful.

The third time hurt. A lot. But somehow on the 3rd lap I turned my lead from 40s into 1:30.

(Thanks to Allen George, an American living in Lima who did his first Olympic Triathlon the morning before my race. He and his family cheered me on and captured a bunch of great pictures like this one where I’m starting my second climb, still in site of the peloton.)

4th lap I was sure I was popped. The kind of popped you don’t come back from. Like I was going to be walking my bike up the next hill – popped. It was hot… I really didn’t feel fit coming to this race… It hurt… wahwahwah… The nice mental boost was looking at my Edge 800 Garmin that was auto-lapping every time I went through transition. My fourth lap was roughly that same time as the first three. Fifth lap was a bit slower. Sixth was back on target and I had well over three minutes starting the 7th and final lap.  I was in survival mode. I lost a good amount of time on the final round, but still had about 2 and a half minutes over the field starting the run.

I felt completely blown. If I were a betting man, I would have said that I wouldn’t have held on. I had that bad pop song in my head, "You can go HARD or you can go HOME!!" you know the one? it just repeats that line over and over again. It’s pretty bad, but I felt like I’d put it on the line and was about to fall off the ledge. I went hard, right then, I just wanted to go home. Seriously, I was not optimistic. But then suddenly I was 5k in and I still had a lot of time and, better yet, the guys behind me had pretty much stopped gaining time on me. Or they weren’t gaining much anymore. I was lapping people left and right as well, which is always a confidence boost.

I got my head back in the game and thought, "Okay, just hold it together for 5k. Relax, run, nobody can run 5k 90 seconds faster than you." Well, maybe somebody can, but those were my thoughts at the time. I just stayed steady until about 500m to go. I knew I had it locked up so I slowed, started celebrating in the finish shoot, did a round of high fives, walked up to the line and LimaGraphdid a BOOYAH. I raced with a lot of emotion and when I crossed that line I felt like I’d proven something. I’m not sure what it is, or to who, but that’s how I felt. I dropped to my knees like I did in NYC, only this time it was by choice. I dropped to my knees, put my head to the sky and shouted, "YEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!" Then I threw the banner down, got up, did my interview and hopped on the massage table.

Man it feels good to win.

I would talk more about the other guys in the race, I just didn’t see much of what went on. (The graph to the right helps) I know that Bowden from the UK was running with Taccone and Nogueras from Argentina. I watched them carefully on the run because they cut a huge amount of time out of my lead in the first 2k. The Argentines took 2nd and 3rd in the end. Pretty impressive running by those guys so far this year.

And yes, it’s back, my graphing of races. I wish I had lap splits, it would make this much more interesting. For those who haven’t seen these graphs before, the x-axis is the race winner, the y-axis is the time difference from the winner. Points below the x-axis are a time deficit. Each line represents an athlete, so at each point on the line the displacement from the x-axis is that athletes time difference from the leader at that point in the race. As you can see, the group was about 2:45 starting the run. The positive sloped lines over the run course are of the people who out ran me, the negative slopes are people who did not.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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  1. It was a pleasure having Ben in Peru. He was not the favorite but when he flew away from the bicicle group and we saw him climbing the mountain, as he was in a flat terrain, we new he was goin to be the winner.
    Ben it will be a pleasure to have you again in Peru.
    Antonio Alarco
    Peruvian National Federation

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