Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Vineman 70.3

The Vineman 70.3 course is perhaps one of the most scenic courses I have raced as it twists and turns throughout the vineyards of Sonoma County. It was a great race weeekend shared with my parents & friends from Boulder and San Diego. My dad even joined me for my pre-race swim early Saturday morning and I was impressed with his ability to complete a deck change. Saturday afternoon I was invited to speak at the Iron Prayer service hosted by FCA Endurance (http://www.fcaendurance.org/) which was great.

Swim (28:00) - The swim takes place in the shallow waters of the Russian River. It is typically a fast swim with the current coming back to T1, but the swim times seem to be a bit slower this year. I found myself in the first chase pack which included Greg Ramaly, Melissa Ashton, Sam McGlone and a few others. It was a comfortable swim and I exited three minutes down from the lead men. Grabbing my bike I was intent on riding strong and bridging the gap.

Bike (2:23) - I love this bike course! It is quite technical with all the blind corners and rolling terrain. Within the first 5K I caught a few athletes who had exited the water just ahead of me and rode within the legal draft zone over the next 10-15K with a small group of three. Tim Sheeper and I exchanged posititions several times. Once on one of the few flatter sections I picked up my pace in an effort to drop Tim and ride into the athletes who I knew were just ahead of us. My push allowed me to open a gap on him and for the next several miles I continued to ride hard and focus on fueling. I was feeling pretty good and soon rode up on and passed Pete Jacobs from Australia who was first out of the water. Pete re-passed me and was able to open up a gap. I continued to work knowing the longest climb on Chalk Hill was nearing. I passed Brent Paulson from Canada leading up to Chalk Hill and rode well over the final 5K of the course. Vineman 70.3 is unique with two different transition areas and riding into T2 I saw Peter Clode (one of my teammates), Pete Jacobs and Torsten Abel as they headed out for the run. I figured they were within striking distance as I exited T2 in 12th position.

Run (1:17) - Like the bike course, the run was scenic and challening with the rolling terrain and several good hills to keep us honest. This run course was very well managed to ensure a fair race with the corners and turns being closely watched so athletes could not "cut" the tangents. Within the first 3K I caught my teammate, Peter, who was having some cramping issues. We exchanged some encouraging words and I simply focused on my effort and fueling through the aid stations. I did not see any athletes in front of me until entering the property of La Crema Winery near the half-way mark of the run. Intent on securing a top 10 finish I pressed the effort and passed Pete & Torsten as we rounded one of the small ponds of the winery. This would be the position I maintained crossing the line in 4:11.

While a bit disappointed to be over the 4:10 mark, I was grateful to race in good health on such a beautiful course. I want to thank my sponsors for their continued support as I work towards Kona. A big congratulations to all my friends who raced over the weekend at various races!!Thanks for reading!

Keep it smooth...

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