The past 3 races I have competed in (Alcatraz, South Beach, St. Anthony’s) have been mediocre at best and after each race I sat down and wrote about every mistake I made and also about the positives from each race. To be quite honest, the past few weeks my mind has been wandering and I have not been able to really focus on training and racing. This showed in my lackluster performance at St. Anthony’s. After the disappointing result, I got rid of the things clouding my mind and pulled myself together so that I was mentally strong for the Rev3 kick off in Knoxville, TN.
After looking up the forecast for the weekend, I came to the conclusion that the weather was going to be absolutely terrible. Lucky for me, I love racing in these conditions. The race turns into more of who can survive the longest and employ the best strategy as opposed to who is the fastest athlete. I had done 3 very cold races since I have been racing so I had an idea of what I needed to do come race day to have my body in the best condition possible.
On race morning I warmed up on the treadmill and went down to transition at the latest possible moment. I learned this trick from Hunter Kemper last year at the Dallas US Open. I opted to wear my TYR Torque swim skin instead of my race suit because the light neoprene keeps the core temperature higher and blocks the wind on the bike. Sarah Haskins and her husband Nate Korteum recommended this last year at a race, so I always do this now in cold weather.
Once I set up my transition I walked down to the swim start that was about a half mile away. I zipped up my wetsuit completely, put two swim caps on, and wore wool socks and running shoes. I also made sure to drink some First Endurance EFS with pre race while making my way to the start. In Budapest at U23 Worlds it was cold and rainy and I forgot to drink during the whole race because I simply wasn’t thirsty given the conditions. I then ended up cramping bad on the run. On Saturday, my mom actually called me to remind me of this…so I made sure to get some electrolytes in before the start. Not many people wore shoes down to the race start, but I really think it was a good move on my part. I kept them on until right before jumping in the water for the 5 min warm up swim.
I had a pretty good swim and exited the water in the lead group with 3 other ladies. I made up a little time during the 1km run to T1 but decided to try and keep the HR low so that I didn’t blow up in the first part of the bike. I opted not to wear a visor or sunglasses because of the rain and cold temps. I figured even clear glasses would fog up and that I would just deal with whatever flew in my eyes instead. Fortunately, all of the girls looked out for one another so that safety was first.
At the 12mi turn around on the bike my shifting stopped working. I was in shock because I charged the Di2 battery twice in the days leading up to the race just to be sure it was 100% charged so this would NOT happen. This is my worse “triathlon” nightmare…partly why I hate electronics, but at the same time Di2 is just so nice. I now know that it was the junction box that died from the rain. Anyways, there was 1 more pretty hard climb left on the course and I was stuck in my big chain ring. I just tried to relax and control what I could. I literally was “paper boying” up the climb. I went to the front immediately before it got too steep so that I could sort of dictate the pace (that I knew would be slow because of my lack of spinning capability). I ended up surviving the ride and saw cadences of 50 and of 130 all during the second half of the bike. It was weird, but kind of awesome because I had to make do with what I had. I made sure to get some Liquid Shot and EFS in on the bike so that I did not cramp on the run.
I had a fast T2 and ran hard out of transition. I am trying to teach myself how to suffer and be okay with it. I believe the best athletes are those that enjoy pain and welcome it with open arms. The run was like a cross-country course with lots of puddles, slippery mud, and debris. It was interesting to say the least and fortunately I was able to have a good run and cross the finish line in first.
I am so grateful to have a great support team around me. Thank you to Rev3 (+volunteers) for putting on such an organized event in less than ideal conditions, as well as raising $25,000 for an athlete injured at the Boston Marathon. Thank you to my sponsors TYR, First Endurance, 110%, Garmin, Cervelo, ISM, CeramicSpeed, and Davis Wheelworks for providing me with the things I need to be successful. Thank you to Cliff English for keeping me level headed and training smart so that I can get the best out of myself. And finally thank you to my family for always being there!
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Visit Lauren at: www.laurengoss.com