Since January I’ve really been focusing on Rev3 Quassy. Over the last 4 years I’ve really just sucked there and I wanted a good race. It’s always been one of my favorite races. It’s a hilly, challenging course and always attracts a very strong pro field. Going into this weekend I was excited to finally be there after all the hard training I’ve done.
I shared a room with Joe Gambles, which was a lot of fun as we kept everything low key and had some good laughs…especially when he puts his ballerina tights on.
The day before, I was stressing a little as it pissed with rain. Come race morning we got really lucky as the sun was out and it wasn’t that chilly. The lineup on the start was interesting as two of the fastest swimmers chose the far right. I chose the left hand with Barny and a few of the other strong swimmers. The first 200-300 meters of the swim felt great. I was in a great position just off Barny’s feet, which is where I wanted to be – he’s one of the most consistent front pack swimmers in the sport. However, after a couple hundred meters, I went through the same breathing difficulties as I did in Knoxville. This really kicked me in the ass as I thought the last time was just a one-off thing. I found it really hard to breathe and I don’t know what it’s from. The only different thing I’ve done in the last 2 races is wear ear plugs, so I’m hoping it’s just that. I had to do 10-15 meters of backstroke just to get my breathe under control. I don’t know if I’m getting too much or not enough oxygen. At this point I dropped off of Barny’s feed, which cost me about 15-20 seconds into transition :). I still managed to come out of the water 5th but a little down on where I wanted to be.
I chased hard for the first 5k on the bike and managed to catch Brian and most of the leaders. I could see that Barny had flown off the front but I also knew that Joe and James were behind me and would come flying past soon. Once Joe and James had caught up, we settled into a great pace and after 10k we found ourselves riding pretty much alone. We managed to catch Matty just before the long climb. Going into the hill, Joe put in a solid surge, which luckily I was ready for because I was planning on doing the same thing. Half way up the climb we managed to catch Barny. At that point, group consisted of me, James, Joe and Barny. I knew the rest of the ride was going to be extremely painful with those guys riding so strong. Going up the last hill into transition, James opened up a small gap of a couple hundred meters, which he held through transition.
It was great going onto the run with Joe as we’ve done a lot of training together and I know how strong he is. Even though we were chasing hard, we didn’t manage to pull back any time on James over the first 6 miles. I was feeling really good on the hills and I started to pull back James after that. I managed to bridge the gap to the front around 11 miles. I just wanted to keep running at my own pace. Knowing how strong a runner James is, I was hoping that I’d be strong enough to get rid of him. Fortunately, the last mile is uphill and I’d been doing a lot of hill work and I knew I’d be strong on the closing mile.
I can’t say enough about how excited I am to win Quassy. It’s been a huge career goal for me and really means a lot. Rev3 has been an awesome sponsor of mine for 3 years now and has put on many of my favorite races. To win their big race is a great honor. I couldn’t have done it though without my awesome sponsors. I really have been privileged to use the best gear in the industry. My Kestrel 4000 is the first bike I’ve ever felt fully comfortable on. TYR, no question makes the best swim gear out there. I’m super excited to be back with Pearl iZumi. If you haven’t tried their uniforms, training gear or shoes, you really should. It’s on another level of quality. Recovery Pump has been the reason I’ve been able to up my training to another level. I never feel as sore as I should after a hard training day and boots session. Shimano’s DI2 came in especially useful on a hill course like this, where I can shift gears while climbing. PowerBar – I’ve always loved their gels and Rudy Project – thanks for making me look cool while racing 🙂 No bright green helmet this year though – I decided to rock the green sunglasses instead.
Congrats to James and Joe on another great race at Quassy. They are always a huge threat in every race.