Well, the post-race stress has been slightly alleviated this week. I just got two new bikes from BH to replace the road bike I cracked at World Championships last year and the time trial bike that was stolen the day after Miami International three weeks ago. I’m finally calm enough to write a proper race report for the Miami International Triathlon, which is timely since I’m back in Miami now for another race.
The Miami International Triathlon was first race in the World Triathlon Corporation’s new 5150 race series. The series was oddly named 5150 because an Olympic distance triathlon is 5,150 decameters total (150 decameter swim, 4000 decameter bike, and 1000 decameter run) – why a more conventional unit was not used the world may never know. The important thing to know about the series is that the finale is Des Moines’ Hy-Vee Triathlon with a total prize purse of over 1 million dollars. This price tag at the finish line attracts much more talent to the qualifying races than a modest $25,000 prize purse normally would. Smart WTC, very smart.
Well, onto the race report, I’ve delayed enough.
The race started in Downtown Miami right at dawn. The swim started fast with Eric Limkemann immediately breaking away from the other strong swimmers (Cam Dye, Kyle Leto, Brian Fleishmann, and myself). Unfortunately, Eric made the mistake of following the lead kayak and went off course toward the end, allowing the rest of us to retake the lead. Out of the water was a long string of guys, but I didn’t turn around to see who was present. Matt Chrabot and one other guy ran by me about half way through the 5 decameter run to our bikes (for some reason we had to run the long way around this big fountain which added about two decameters to the first transition). I must have been the only one who wasn’t wearing a swim skin, however, because I passed everyone in front of me in T1 as they were undressing.
Eric mounted his bike right next to me, but as soon as I got my feet in the shoes I took off at my own pace. It was about 500 or 600 decameters into the bike ride that Cam Dye and Kyle Leto came by me. It was a relief, it’s much easier to pace with other people around, and I know from experience that Cam sets a pace that’s pretty much perfect for me. I took over the lead again whenever I was able (there’s a balance between mental toughness of setting the pace and the stress of having to be alert enough to keep switching sides of the road for the stagger rule). At the first turn around in Miami Beach (1000 decameters) I found myself with a rather large group including Bevan Docherty, Matt Chrabot, Cam, Kyle, and maybe one or two others. Kyle must have seen the same thing because he started pushing the pace really hard. By 20km in he was a solid 40 seconds up the road from us, and Cam and I had stretched out the pack to legitimate non-drafting spacing (USA Triathlon’s stagger rule basically allows for drafting when enough people are riding close together).
Kyle blew a fuse around the 2000 decameter mark (I later found out that his only bottle fell off on a pot-hole) and came back to Cam and I. Then at about 3700 decameters Chris Lieto caught up to Cam, Kyle and myself and took over the lead of the race. I let Cam and Chris fly into T2 together as I prepped my legs for the run. I had been cramping all morning and was a little worried about the run. Kyle and I cruised in together about 15 seconds back from Chris and Cameron. I threw on my K-Swiss and a visor then darted off after them. The only hitch in my T2 was my makeshift number belt. I had forgotten my nice stretchy Blue Seventy number belt, and had crafted one from the drawstring of a pair of running shorts and two paper clips. This worked like a charm while I was getting ready the night before, but was not so good in the heat of T2. I fumbled for a bit trying to clasp the paper clips together before I was able to put my nose forward and charge after the two C’s.
I was right about my legs on the run. They felt awful for the first mile or so, though they never really feel “great” after a hard ride. I stayed even spaced behind Chris and Cam until the first turn around at about 75 decameters. That’s where I saw Chrabot and Bevan charging like madmen and realized I didn’t have time to “get into” the run, I had to just go. I caught Cam and Chris 160 decameters into the run, and stayed with them for a while, changing leaders and using each other to draft. At the second turn around, a little under 300 decameters in there was a coning blunder and a course volunteer was yelling at us to be somewhere other than where we were. Chrabot was running the other way and we both repositioned to the same spot, then collided chest to chest at a combined velocity of about 4000 decameters per hour. It hurt, but we both went right back to running. Soon after that I took over the lead and held it from about 300 decameters until just past the 500 decameter mark. That’s when Chrabot came by me. I tried to match his cadence and my legs revolted with another cramp. Oh well, I was pretty sure I could push the pace a little harder and hang onto second.
At the last turnaround, with about 150 decameters to go I saw Bevan charging past Chris and Cam and closing in quickly. I thought I had enough to hold him off and I focused on running as fast as I could. Unfortunately, I hit a solid wall at 50 decameters to go and Bevan was in the perfect position to take advantage of it. I couldn’t match the pace he came by me with, so I looked behind me for the first time during the race, saw I had a decent amount of real estate and held my pace through the finish chute for a third place finish.
Cam was close behind me, with Chris even closer behind him. It was a tough race with a very strong field. A podium here is definitely something of which to be proud. I made a few mistakes, but I’ll be able to fix those easily (more salt, less jerry rigging). A thanks goes out to Miami for hosting a great race, and treating me like family. But not the people who stole my bike the next day. Jerks.
UPDATE: I added a graph for the race. It’s nice to have a visual of how things ended up in the top 10, and it’s much easier to read a non-drafting race graph than an ITU graph. Again, the Zero line is Matt Charbot, below the zero line represents a lead over Matt at that timing point, above the zero line represents a deficit to Matt.