Oregon Dunes Triathlon: Sand is always fun right? ... right?
And so it begins. The offseason for me was filled with changes that were unforeseeable but certainly not terrible!
On the life side I am officially attending Arizona State University in the fall and will be moving down to Phoenix (never fear, I will be racing all summer long in Oregon still!). I am extremely excited to be studying with the legendary double bass player Catalin Rotaru as well. The whole musical experience will be great I am sure. On the sponsorship side I am no longer with Planet X but I thank them for their support over the last three years. I also heartily welcome the truly awesome support from Simply Cycle and Mark Lipchick at Fast Carbon Wheels for hooking me up for this season as well. I am continuing on with a rad new kit from John Landino at Death Row Velo and keeping it clean with help from Sweat X. And I am beyond stoked with the awesome support and beer Ninkasi Brewing is doing for me. They are truly one of the best companies in the Pacific Northwest.
The Oregon Dunes Triathlon is the first open water swim race of Oregon and thus making it the first race of my season.
My training has been solid over the offseason but with some significant breaks due to some annoying bouts of illness and of course my over two week trip to audition for graduate schools. I felt confident at the start of this first race but very very nervous still. I was however glad my training partner Garrett and friend Thomas were going to be staying the evening before in Yachats with me before the race as they to were racing! But as race morning came and my number had mysteriously not been printed or shown up... I was a bit on edge.
I met a few other sprint racers and one intrigued me, a tall, lanky kid from Utah named Ty who judging by his equipment and other races he told me he was racing, he was gonna be a fast one. After cheering Garrett and Thomas on in their earlier standard distance race I warmed up and hit the water to wait out the last few seconds before the 2016 season got under way, nervous to say the least. The only thing keeping my mind off it all was the water.
Luckily within a few the gun was off and we were on our way. I as always took an outside line through the first turn and found myself in the lead. I assumed I would not be making time on anyone but to my surprise I was. At about the halfway mark I knew I was moving well, however I didn't feel it. Swimming still sucks for me, I just have gotten better at dealing with the suckage and now go a bit quicker. But today I was much quicker, exiting the 750meter swim in a mere 8 minutes 45 seconds. I had a lead out of the water! Still a confusing feeling for me.
I flew though transition and mounted my new bike and took off. I worked hard over the first few hills and when I turned my head to see if anyone was behind me, there was empty road. Capitalizing on this, I worked harder. The bike was a blur and I remember very little other than really pushing the pace up every climb and carrying my momentum to the next. This 10.5 mile course feels like 20 since the longest flat part is maybe 30 feet. It is a tough one. I came through a little over 26 minutes crushing the former bike course record. knew I rode fast but still, since this was the first race, pace is still something I am getting a feeling for. But hey, I'll take a fast bike split any day I can get it
I overcooked transition. Lets just leave it at that.
Oh the run. The true test. I went a bit quick through T2 and behold of course I was stitching. I made it through 2 miles before they were bad, This run is an absolute killer though. The trail is a real single track affair. As I wound my way through the first mile i felt strong still but as the 2nd mile is all up hill I was starting to feel my stitching tighten and I focused on relaxing, which sort of worked. The stitches were never crippling but slowed me down for sure. As I wound my way through the final mile of single track every bump was not helping me relax at all, neither was my speedy, non relaxed transition. Honestly as I started to slow I thought my attempt at a course record was gonna go the way of the Betamax player.
As I struggled through the final mile I finally saw myself in front of the giant dune that was the finish. I knew I had it in the bag but worked my ass off to the top anyways still hoping for a course record.
After I crossed and greeted my amazing support crew of my girlfriend, Sarah, and my parents I was told I had broken the previous record of 57;26 by a solid two minutes to make it 55:21! Yay!! I was also stoked. I am also very proud of Garrett for his 3rd place finish overall in the Olympic and Thomas for a nice 3rd in his AG!
Thank you to Best in the West for a great race and a wonderful day out on the coast. For now I'll be focusing on a more fluid run, drinking some needed Ninkasi and getting ready to graduate with my Bachelors in Music Performance soon! I'll look for everyone out there at the Blue Lake Tri on June 4!