So the 2013 edition of Rev3 Quassy is in the books and it was another phenomenal race!
Rather than the boring old play-by-play this race report is going to be a little session of fact vs. fiction. I did the same thing last year but I figure I’m allowed to recycle my creative ideas once per year :)
Fiction: Jokes about my height never get old, and with my super long legs it’s way easier to run fast!
Fact: I know, I’m reaaaally talll…. Thanks to my petite competitors for further highlighting my giant status, by the way. I am finally able to turn those long legs of mine over at a rate that makes me a threat on the run, but it has been years of hard work. Stride length definitely does not guarantee speed!
Fiction: Out on the course I am totally in the zone and don’t really hear people cheering for me.
Fact: I am in the zone, but cheers definitely make a HUGE difference. My amazing homestay family and friends seriously cranked up the volume (I think they were determined to compete with the huge Wattie Ink entourage cheering for “the other Heather”) and their cheers and posters brought a smile to my face no matter how much pain I was in! After the race, they also organized an amazing, totally impromptu, neighbourhood congratulations BBQ. I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life!
Fiction: The friendly long course pro women thing is a total façade. Really, people have big egos, and there is a lot more animosity than we let on, so we should all quit the nicey-nice bullshit already.
Fact: Sometimes it seems hard to believe, but the positive vibe at all the races I’ve been to this year has been incredible. Of course we want to kick each other’s asses on the race course, and we may be reserved or stand-offish to different degrees with pre-race nerves, but there is a very high level of respect among all the women, and it is truly a pleasure to call them my friends. The talent in the pro women’s field is getting deeper and deeper and I absolutely love toeing the line with all these fierce competitors knowing that they’ll push me to new heights.
Fiction: The day started on perfectly with a great start to the swim and I was finally able to stay on the feet of the leaders
Fact: The start command was “wait for the gun”…. “Three, two one” everyone goes, “BANG!” Heather goes. Doh!! I’m usually good with run in starts so it sucked to mess that one up from the get go. Triathlon Squad-mate Jen Spieldenner rocked the swim in 25:40 and I came out a couple minutes back from the lead (it was very difficult to sight on the far line of buoys, into the direct sun, so I think that slowed all the times down a bit). My time improved over last year though, as it did in all 3 segments, so that was cool.
Here is the 2013 data:
Fiction: I’ve always been really good at swim-bike transitions, so it was pretty much par for the course this year.
Fact: I tend to struggle with swim to bike transitions, especially if I get really warm in the water. Maybe it has to do with my height and low blood pressure, but I usually get really dizzy and have a hard time being speedy about it all. The non-wetsuit swim in the cool water of Lake Quassapaug helped, but so did a lot of transition practice with The Triathlon Squad – leaping out of the warm Poway pool chasing short-course athletes to try to strip off my wetsuit quickly. I was pretty stoked to do some passing through transition this year instead of getting passed!!
Fiction: The ride through the very challenging, hilly terrain of Middlebury CT, was pretty uneventful… just the usual cranking hard on the pedals trying to work my way to the front.
Fact: After taking a corner pretty fast at km 30 or so, I noticed that my back tire felt weird. It was a bit mushy when I really put the power down, but looking down at it it didn’t seem totally flat. I was like “it’s fine, just ride” and my speed seemed okay with the watts I was pushing, but a little voice in the back of my mind was definitely going “oh crap oh crap oh crap”.
The long climb started at kilometer 40 and it felt much worse when I was sitting up with more weight on the tire. My home stay family was there cheering and I asked Todd if he could tell if my tire was flat. He was so prepared to get a photo and yell splits, that I totally messed his mojo! Ha. He yelled after me, “no it’s fine, keep going” (but he admitted afterwards he had no idea!). Eric Wynn on a moto taking photos pulled up beside me and said “It looks flat you have 30 miles to go, you need to fix it”.
Meredith was right up the road and my legs were great and I just didn’t want to deal with it… Then I realized that, in my frustration, I was grinding in my big ring, and made a bad shift, dropping my chain, getting it jammed behind the small ring and the frame, making the decision to stop much easier! I leaped off, reefed the chain back on, gave the tire a squeeze and decided “to hell with it” it’s not so soft that I can’t keep going. It seems that the goop I put in my tubulars managed to seal a very small puncture and totally saved the day!!
Fiction: All these high-end bikes are pretty much the same. It’s only the motor turning over the peddles that really matters.
Fact: Last year my normalized power was 249 watts and my bike time was 2:32:37. This year my normalized power was 238 watts, and my bike time was 2:30:40, with a less than ideal rear tire pressure. No doubt a faster time with lower watts reflects different environmental conditions, but it also reflects the fact that MY CERVELO P5 IS TOTALLY THE BOMB!!! #SimplyFaster is simply accurate.
You can read more abut my ride strategy in an interview on the PowerTap website HERE.
Fiction: Quick transitions don’t really matter in an event that takes over 4hrs.
Fact: I lost by 17 seconds last year. Thanks to my amazing Saucony A5s, I can finally run sockless without destroying my feet, and I’m saving more and more of that “free” transition time.
Fiction: Similar to Mirinda Carfrae’s gazelle like stride, I am a thing of beauty when I run.
Fact: I am not talented enough to run fast and look good at the same time. Fortunately for me, the going fast part is all that really matters!
Note the ever-present First Endurance Liquid Shot flask in my hand. You can find a break down of my race-day nutrition HERE.
Fiction: The person that is the fittest on race day wins.
Fact: Fitness is hugely important, of course, but mental toughness comes into play big time! At mile 8-9 or so, right where Mirinda ran me down last year, I could hear people cheering – loudly! – for Heather Jackson. I briefly thought “oh no, just like last year”, but dismissed that and aggressively told myself “the pass wasn’t inevitable last year, and it isn’t inevitable this year”.
I saw that Heather was further than I’d imagined at the turn-around on the last out and back section, and tried to just let my legs go and open up a bigger gap on the slight downhill before the last evil mile to the finish. The race ends with a steep hill that goes under a nice graffiti-covered underpass before getting even more steep, then finally leveling off with about 200m to the finish. I was HURTING (as evidenced nicely above – thanks Derick/ Kelly!) but I found a way to make myself hurt more and pull away. That is part of what makes racing so awesome, and a continual learning experience. I’ve’ never thought that I finished races without giving all I had, but I learned this past Sunday that I can dig deeper.
Fiction: It’s pretty easy to do this for a living. Getting to the top of the podium is all about raw talent and it’s not like there have been many hard years of training behind everyone’s performances.
Fact: I would not have a career as a pro triathlete without a ton of hard work and support from loved ones, friends, and of course my AWESOME sponsors. Huge thanks to Saucony • Cervélo • 1st endurance • Rolf Prima • Manitoba Harvest • Giro • Aqua Sphere CycleOps Power • UltrAspire
I specifically have to thank my coach Paulo, The Triathlon Squad, and of course my amazing husband Trevor. Consistent training methodology, hard work, belief, surrounding yourself with positive people that share big dreams in sport… I couldn’t do it without these essential ingredients for success!
Up next – Ironman Coeur d’Alene on June 23rd