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SYRACUSE 70.3 2014

I made it!! I have just finished off my three 70.3 races on back-to-back weekends. All in all it has been a great few weeks with my final race last Sunday in Syracuse. My body definitely feels ready for an easy week! I loved the challenges thrown my way racing over consecutive weekends and I am really happy with how I raced in each race. I have learnt a lot and feel like I have really gained some valuable race experience and overall strength. The plan from here is to recover well, physically and mentally, this week before ramping up the training leading into the Hy-Vee Championships and the 70.3 World Championships.

 

The swim in Syracuse was held in a beautiful calm lake. We were greeted on race morning with great weather and tough, undulating yet stunning course ahead of us. The swim started well and heading out to the first turning buoy I was sitting third in the group, although there was quite a large group of us still together. Not wanting a repeat of last week with such a big group together out of the water I decided to try and mix up the pace. I let a small gap open in front of me before accelerating back up to the group, trying to make the swim a bit harder. This helped to string the group out and get rid of a couple guys. II sat in third for the rest of the swim and felt pretty comfortable; I knew the start of the bike was going to be hard with some strong bikers in the field. Ben Collins and Andrew Yoder were racing and they are both very strong on the bike, coming out of transition I was expecting them to hit the start of the bike hard and I wanted to be able to follow them. I wasn't wrong! Once we hit the big hill at about 8 km into the ride in we had dropped the others and it was down to the three of us. I was hurting to keep Andrew and Ben close and knew that I needed to get up and over the first climb with them. Andrew started to open a gap on Ben and I towards the top and that was the last we saw of him. Ben was riding well and I was still uncomfortable with my legs feeling the previous couple weeks.

 

Around the half way mark of the bike Jordan Rapp rode up to Ben and I. Ben accelerated up to follow him while I was doing my best to will my legs to accelerate as well and follow them. The boys were riding strong and had me against the ropes. I managed to follow these two and stay in contact with them heading into transition. Near the end of the bike Ben picked up a penalty and had to stop and serve it just before transition. This left Jordan and I together entering transition together about 5 minutes down on Andrew. I took off out of transition and my run legs seemed better than my bike legs, I wanted to try and close the gap between Andrew and myself and keep ahead of a few very fast runners behind me. I could feel my hamstrings on the hills at the start of the run so I backed it slightly and decided to try and build into the run. At the end of the first lap I had taken 2 minutes out of Andrew's lead and had a nice buffer back to third place.

 

I decided to try and pick up the pace heading out on the final lap. The run in Syracuse has a very nasty steep hill at the half way point of each lap that we had to conquer twice, I have decided since the race that that hill should be names 'Soul Crusher'. That is exactly how I felt on my second time up the hill! It was as if I had a football player jump on my back and my pace slowed dramatically, I was amazed at how quickly it took the strength out of my legs. I downed a caffeinated Shotz gel and thought I could still make it home strongly. My legs were crumbling and with about 3 km to go Lionel ran past me like he was doing a 100 m sprint. He was flying and not far behind him was Ben. I dropped to forth place and had absolutely no response or acceleration left in my body.

 

I saw Ben and Lionel disappear into the distance as I fell off the pace. I had great support from the local crowds and they really helped me finish it off. When I crossed the line it was easily the most spent I have been crossing the finish line. I had doping control post race and I was not feeling great for about an hour. My body was getting pay back on me for pushing it so hard.

 

After getting some food in post race and laying down for a bit I started to feel better. My home stay Eric Hinman also raced and placed 4th in is category so it was a great day all-round. I stayed in Syracuse until Monday knowing that I didn't need to rush home as I had this week to recover. We went out for an amazing dinner that night to recover at a local restaurant. I enjoyed Syracuse and loved the city, there is a great vibe to the city and I met some great people over the weekend. Syracuse is definitely on my list of races to return to in years to come.

 

For now its time to put the feet up, relax and give my body a bit of rest! Thank you everyone for your amazing support over the last few weeks, months and years it is greatly appreciated.

 
 
 
 
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