This weekend, I made my first trip up to the state of Maine for the Rev3 Old Orchard Beach Olympic distance race. Coming off of Wisconsin two weeks ago, I was encouraged with my speed training and actually looking forward to hitting the start line once again. Although I’d prefer to race the longer distances, these shorter races make it possible to race more frequently. This was my last olympic distance race of the year, so I wanted to make it count.
I stayed in Portland at the cottage of my awesome homestay Pattie and enjoyed a day or so of low key downtime before driving down to the beach race morning. My room was AWESOME and I wanted to steal her dog… Thanks Pattie!
I knew from the pre-swim that the ocean water was going to be cold and it would be a wetsuit (and for me, neoprene hood) swim. Although my BlueSeventy Helix is the best suit going, this generally favors the weaker swimmers. I knew we would have to push the pace and try to create a gap before we hit the bike. You can see me standing on the left taking a few deep breaths before the gun. Watching the video, it’s amazing how calm and unaffected I look when I’m chomping at the bit!
During the swim, I took the lead after the first 400 meters and unfortunately led the lead pack a few ( it seemed like a hundred!) meters off course while sighting into the sun. It may have only been a small detour, but I hated the fact that I was sabotaging my own race plan to get away! I lead until the last 50m onto the beach when I was passed for the swim prime. Like races past, I was going to take the prime if it was there, but was focused on the bigger race finish. Kyle Leto and I made our way quickly through T1 and headed onto the bike at the front of the race, just like in Williamsburg. I felt I was in perfect position to put in a solo winning effort until Dave Thompson came into the group within the first mile… Dave is a great cyclist and runner, so I know I generally need to put a few minutes into him on the swim. Sadly, it was only 20 seconds today and it made for a tough bike ride.
I fought back and forth with Dave, Kyle, and eventually Leon Griffin on the bike while constantly putting time into the main pack. The ride was relatively cool, fast, and flat so I had to make a conscious effort to drink my First Endurance liquid shot in order to to have energy for the run. With the colder start, I mixed up my bottle with a bit more concentrated than normal in order to get the calories i needed with only a few quick sips. Our group hit T2 with a huge gap and almost a guarantee that we would occupy the top 4 spots at the end of the run. I came out in 2nd position behind Dave and feeling like I had the legs to run him down. With nothing to lose, I did what I could to run the first few miles fast.
I pushed the pace to keep the gap, but was passed by Leon pretty quickly and was 20 seconds down by the half way point. I had managed to put about 20 seconds into Kyle and wanted to make sure my gap to the leaders shrunk while my gap to 4th grew. Unfortunately, the opposite happened in the last few miles but I was still able to hold on to a solid 3rd place finish and a successful end to my olympic distance racing for the year. I was completely spent by the end of the race and satisfied with my effort.
HERE is the official press release from Rev3. I’m leading the series heading into the last two races of the year, but it’s not a comfortable lead with a few great athletes within striking distance. Both Branson (Sept 22nd) and Florida (Nov 10th) are half distance races, which suit me well. I need to have two solid races and hopefully replace my 4th place finish from Knoxville and 5th place finish from Wisconsin for my top 4 points races. In order to do that, I’m back to training hard… after a quick Portland celebration… (NOT First Endurance approved!)
Thanks to Rev3 for putting on another great race and to Pattie for sharing her home. As always, thank you to my terrific sponsors that allow me to race and train at the highest level. First Endurance, ISM Saddles, BlueSeventy Wetsuits, Utopian Coffee, 3 Sports in Richmond, and The Sport Factory. Once again, I’m fortunate to be able to donate a portion of my prize money to the Blazeman Foundation. If you haven’t been up to Maine, be sure to check it out!
Here is the Preview/Recap Video of the race. See you in Branson!
Visit Eric at http://ericlimkemann.blogspot.com/