Sunday I won the Panasonic New York City Triathlon, the fourth race in the Lifetime Fitness Series and my second win out of the four races. I’m really starting to hit my stride this season, and I’m really excited for the next few competitions.
Rounding out the podium were two awesome runners, Kaleb VanOrt and Chris Foster. The way the race played out it was an intense runner’s race, and I’m actually surprised I was able to hold off such a talented group of guys.
The Equalizer and the Toyota Triple Crown
In addition to helping me move up in the Lifetime Fitness Series, the New York City Triathlon was also the second in the three-part Toyota Triple Crown. For the Triple Crown races the men start behind the women by a predetermined handicap based on who is racing, the historical time gaps between those competitors, and the historical time differences between men and women at that race. For Minneapolis three weeks ago the time gap was 10 minutes and 2 seconds. Alicia finished 19 seconds ahead of me. This time the gap was 10:42, but I had one of the best races of my career and finished 45 seconds ahead of her, putting the time difference between us going into the final race at 25 seconds and change.
Going into the race I thought the handicap was set too high. It was 40 seconds longer than Minneapolis with a race where the course records for men and women are both five minutes faster, so less time to make up more time.
Looking back at the race, Alicia ran really well. Had I put up a run like I normally have at this race I would have been a minute behind Alicia at the finish and out of contention for the Triple Crown. It took an extraordinary performance to catch her, and the fact that I was able to put time on her has nothing to do with the handicap, and more to do with luck and the kind of day that rarely happens in the sport.
The last race will be Oceanside, where Alicia beat me by three minutes last year. So all I need is to be 2:35 faster than a year ago, plus any improvements she makes from a year ago – it’s going to be tough, but the winner gets $50,000 from Toyota so I’ll have a little extra motivation on my trainer this fall. From the results of New York and Minneapolis, 25 seconds is a blink and is highly subject to how the Lifetime Crew sets the equalizer. What we do know is that it will be an exciting race.
This was my fourth year at NYC Triathlon, and my second time setting a course record. It helped that the “slack tide” featured a ripping current in the Hudson, meaning our 1500 meter swim was just over eleven minutes long (not, however, even close to the course record held by Greg Bennett of 9:40). But even if you adjust the swim to a more typical 13:30 seen on this course in previous years, my finishing time of 1:43:25 still blows away the course record. It’s about five minutes faster than the record I set in 2011, and still a couple minutes faster than the record Jordan Jones set in 2012 (when the current was similar to this year).
What helped is that I rode a 57:05 bike split, over 30 seconds faster than my previous course best of 57:40. Perhaps we can say the 35 seconds came from my switch to the P5 from the Cervelo P3 I was riding in then, or the reduced tire resistance due to wet pavement – either way my time is on par or better than my pervious best fitness in New York. In 2011 rode a minute slower when I won NYC and a month later at Hy-Vee I won all four bike primes and held on for the first lap of the run ( with a broken foot) to earn a fifth prime before Greg Bennett finally caught me and took over for the win. I’d say things are looking good for Championship Season.
What’s better, is that on a run course that is exactly the same length every year (you can’t really make Central Park smaller), I ran a personal best 10k of 31:40 to hold off Keleb VanOrt’s race best 30:13 (which may be a run course record).
If you can’t tell, I’m stoked about how the race went. I timed it to be a final test race before my peak training cycle leading into the Chicago, Hy-Vee, 70.3 Worlds triple that starts in three weeks, and it definitely gives me confidence to be able to compare my splits to previous years and see so much improvement.
One major bummer I will mention was the bad luck Cameron Dye experienced on the bike. We started side-by-side on the 40k course, and Cameron took over the lead early, as he like to do. Within five minutes, however, he flatted out. I thought he’d likely get some help fixing the flat from the roving mechanics, but it turns out they were offering Tubes but no air or pitstop. Cam was riding tubulars (as was I) and his race was over within 20 minutes of the starting gun. I hate what-ifs after races, and knowing that Cam is also racing incredibly well this year makes me wonder what could have happened if we’d been able to race to the finish together. It certainly would have been exciting!
This weekend you will find me in Milwaukee at the Super-Sprint National Championships It’ll be a pretty exciting race, so if you’re there for USAT Age Group Nationals, please stick around and watch. With the way the course is set up, you’ll see us come by the grandstands about 14 times in 50 minutes.
Chicago Triathlon is the fifth installment of the Lifetime Triathlon Series on August 24th and it starts my three-in-a-row race set to Worlds. August 31st is Hy-Vee US Championships and September 7th is the 70.3 World Championships. I’m both excited and nervous as hell!