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MEMPHIS IN MAY 5150 2014

As I stare out the window watching the ground below me while listening to John Butler Trio through my headphones, I have a smile on my face. Ok, maybe more of a cheeky grin but I am happy. I am flying back from Memphis where I have spent the last few days for the Memphis in May triathlon on Sunday. This race is part of the 5150 series and has a unique experience with a time trial start. What this meant was that on race morning they started the athletes one by one alternating female - male with ten seconds between each athlete. I was interested to see how the start would affect swim time differences with weaker swimmers not being able to sit in a pack and get towed along and the bike pack dynamics. I was the twenty-third athlete out of 25 to start so I got to spend the day chasing athletes in front of me all day! There was an extra curve ball thrown on race morning, with some very heavy rain over night and the early morning the grassy transition area turned into a muddy ankle deep quagmire.

 

Lining up at the start I was looking at the time gaps I had to the guys in front of me. One of my main challengers for the weekend was Rudy Von Berg who was starting 20 seconds behind me. I had a good start and started passing other athletes within the first few swim strokes. I found a nice rhythm in the swim and I was slowly picking off athletes in front of me and feeling quite good. I wanted to use the swim to set up a good advantage for the rest of the day. I know I passed a good chunk of the field in the swim but it was only when I got on the bike that I found out how many athletes I had caught. I managed to catch the defending champion in the water and he had started nearly 3 minutes in front of me. The first transition was interesting with the mud and getting my Blue Seventy wetsuit off while slipping and sliding everywhere. Running onto the road we had to go through some deep water so I managed to wash away most of the mud I had picked up in the transition area! I got on my bike just behind Daniel, he had ridden very fast last year so I knew I had to ride a similar time to him. I passed him in the first 5km and then I just put my head down and started to watch my power and go for it knowing there were athletes chasing me.

 

I caught Lauren Brandon on the bike and she was the first female on the road and I could see there was only one more bike down the road in front of me. I worked on catching him and it took most of the bike leg to reel him in. The bike was flat with not too many turns and not much wind. Luckily the roads had dried since the morning rain so I could hit the corners hard. Coming into the second transition I had a nice gap behind me and I had just caught the second last athlete on the road in front of me. I dropped my bike off in the mud and picked up my Altra race flats, I then ran out barefoot and cleaned the mud off my feet through the deep water before putting my shoes on once I hit the road!

 

I quickly saw that last athlete ahead of my was just up the road so I zoned in on catching him. I recognized him as Barrett Brandon who is a good friend of mine but for now he was my rabbit. I managed to catch and pass him by 1.5 miles into the run and now all I had in front of me was the lead vehicle. I just kept trying to catch the lead vehicle to help me keep the pace high. I knew that I was going to win as long as I kept a good gap between myself and Rudy. The u-turn for the run was about the 4 mile mark so I knew I would get a good idea of where I was compared to Rudy on the road, I saw that I had quite a decent gap back to him at that point. I ran all the way to the finish hard, the support on the course from the age groupers who had raced earlier in the day was excellent! I'm sure they enjoyed relaxing after their morning races and watching us navigate the slip-n-slide transition area!

 

It was a little bit of a strange feeling crossing the finish line first but not knowing whether I had won the race. I watched the clock for the next thirty seconds, once it passed thirty seconds I knew I had got the win! I was surprised at how close the finish was between most of the men.

 

I am really happy for my first win this year and my biggest win in the USA so far. Like I said earlier I an now flying back into Boulder to recover and get some more training in before a big June of racing! I have three 70.3 races in June in three weeks, it will be quite a busy month! I am excited to see how my body handles the back-to-back half ironman's. I know one thing for sure, and that is that I will definitely gain some really good fitness and strength from this block that will set me up for the second half of the season.

 

Thank you for your on going support and I look forward to writing to you soon with some more good results in a few weeks

 
 
 
 
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