June has truly been a month of racing. I raced three times this last month (June 2, 23,30) putting together some great results and finding the will to fight to the very end. I struggled last year, whenever I was not in a good position I would just give up. This year I am back to my old self, fighting to the bitter end. Finally this mentality has paid off over the past few races.
The first race of June was set in the beautiful island of Victoria. This is the 4th time I have raced here is a row and I love this venue. It is in such an amazing part of Canada and the course reflects that.
I have been working on my swim starts a lot this year. In a slightly smaller field I was able to put that skill to good use. 300m into the swim I was out of the chaos and in third place. I felt that I was moving well so I chose to moved up into second place. Eric Lagerstrom had already taken a commanding lead in the swim so I settled into my own pace. At about 700m Cody Beals came around me. I yielded the position to him not wanting to get into a fight him and slow us both down. I stayed on Cody’s feet for the rest of the swim know that is was a good position and pace. We came out of the water about 90sec down from Eric.
I went through transition quickly, gaping Cody and putting a little time into him over the first few km but by 5km he had rejoined me. At 10km Cody made his move launching a savage attack. I chose to do a longer drawn out counter attack knowing that he could not hold this surge forever. Threw 25km Cody still was within 10sec of me, but as we entered the flatter part of the course he started to pull away. Over this time I had been gaining on Eric and brought his lead down to about 45 seconds. I then had to ride solo till 60km of the bike when the main group of Sam Long, Nathan Killam and Nich Chase caught me. I floated to the back of that group. And over the next 30km I tried to stay in touch but missed a couple of opportunists when Sam and Nathan surged. I stayed focused on running fast and riding the last bit of the bike well. I came of the bike in 5th place with only about 30sec to Nathan and Eric.
I felt good and I was motivated to run down some guys. After the first few kilometers had over taken Nathan and was gaining on Eric. I had found the flow in the run just felt like I was effortlessly flying across the ground. I came up on Eric and was able to see the podium in my sits for the first time in two years. I stayed relaxed as I passed him. He put up a flight as I went by holding onto the same speed that I was going for a good kilometer. Then he had to settle into his own rhythm. I was firmly in 3rd place by 8km and slowly gaining on 2nd. Over the second half of the run I slowly brought down Cody’s lead to 2nd but he had put too much time into me on the bike. I came away with an amazing 3rd place against a strong field of men. I am super happy with 3rd place. It feet so great to finally get back on the podium after almost 2 years of just missing those coveted top 3 spots. And I am motivated to stay there.
Next up was Ironman 70.3 Trembant, after three weeks of training. This was the fifth time I have raced here and I have had a good record of 2nd or 5th place at this race. So this year I really wanted the win. I went into this race knowing that it would be a huge fight and my plan was to take all the risks that would give me a shot at winning. Going in with the 'first or last' mentality.
After the f16 fly over and the fireworks Ironman 70.3 Trembant was underway. I had one of my best swim starts and was able to get up with the lead group and new that this was where I had to stay if I wanted a shot at winning. About 700m into the swim the pace just was to high and I got dropped from the lead group slowly floating back to the chase group. It was not perfect but there were some top ranked swimmers in the race and I know that I still had a shot to catch them on the bike.
I came out of the water in 9th and went full gas for the first 30min, riding with my friend and training partner Jackson Laundry. I knew he was in great biking shape and would be my ticket to the front. Again I but all my energy into bridging the gap knowing that was the only way to win the race, at 30km I had brought the gap down to about 20sec but I just could not make the final jump across to them. So finally after riding way over my 2 hour power limit I had to back off so I would be able to run. I still believed that if I could keep them in range and when I had a great run I could move up into their ranks.
I came off the bike in 7th about 6min down from the next group. I knew this was going to be a lonely race but I was not going to back down. It took 11km till I saw then next person. But I was moving well and by the end I had moved up to 5th place.
I was pleased with the way I raced this one and took all the risks even if it did not pay off. I planed to do the opposite race strategy in Ironman 70.3 Steelhead a week later. Racing my own race and getting to the finish line as fast as I could, not trying to react to other peoples race plans.
After a focused week of recovery I was back at it again in Michigan.
IT was a calm morning ad I started the last race in June. I was able to have good start and move up to the lead group early on in the race. Unlike Tremblant I was able to stay with the lead group the whole race and even felt relaxed like I could have swam a little faster.
I came out of the water in 4th place and moved up to 1st by the time I got out of transition. Andrew Starykowicz and Joe Gambles over took me early on in the bike and I let them go since I was focusing on my race and not theirs. At 20km into the bike TJ Tollakson came by and I new that he was the guy I had to ride with. I buckled down and settled in behind him as we slowly upped the tempo. I was able to keep it within my power range as we chewed up the road. Finally at 70km into the bike we re-caught Gambles and after that things settled down as we prepared for the run.
I came into transition in 5th place behind TJ Tollakson and Joe Gambles. I was able to exit transition before everyone else in my group. Butting myself in 2nd place with Gambles hot on my heels.
The run was a true battle. Gambles and I ran side by side for 10km. Every time one of use made a move the other quickly countered it. Neither of use could get the upper hand. At 11km Gambles got the upper hand on me and gained a lead of 45sec over the next few kilometers. I never gave in and continued to fight. When I passed the 18km mark I could still see him. I told myself, ‘I was not going to let him get away.’ Some how I mustered a final charge to the finish line. I was slowly clawing back the gap that he had opened up. When I finally crossed the finish line I had cut his lead in half. Coming away with 3rd place at the end of the day.
This was one of my best races in the past two year. I am very happy with the battled that I had and how I never gave up the chase. Races like this are what I live for, the true dog fights on the run, when you are running shoulder to shoulder for miles.
This race was also the second fastest time I have ever posted for a 70.3 triathlon. Covering the distance in 3:49:28.
It has been a great month and I am now taking a week off to recover before I get back to work for two month and build into some late Aug and Sept races.