That's what folks want to know after all.
I'd sort of planned on racing this late season event assuming I was free, it's out in The Dalles, Oregon and if anybody who does Triathlon is in town they usually come to race the event so it's solidly competitive.
It's been eight years that I've been racing in the sport and in my first season I raced this thing a neo pro from Australia won, over the years the local guns, e.g. Kona qualifiers have come out to race and win it.
Long story short, I always figured I could win (or get darn close) at this venue due to the rolling hills and out & back run course. Rolling hills work w/regard to my power/weight and out & back run means you can spot folks ahead and track what kind of time you have on someone as well.
I raced it last year only two weeks after Canada and I was really just a mess, it was bad idea to race but I still did ok, and in doing it I learned exactly what I needed to do win the thing.
At the same time I've wanted to send a strong message about my leg speed since Ironman training was pretty much awful for me. I was strong last summer and that was it, I had no snap. If there was any doubt about the bike power and run speed, hopefully I've erased it.
Yes, I need to work on my open water swim performance. Still. But as long as I'm not stuck in a slow pack and have a little open water I'm fine. Not great mind you, but I'm not going to be a great swimmer.
Net, the race (and the others up in Washington this summer) validated my approach to the sport. On a good day I'm happy to put my bike & run up against anybody in the age group ranks.
On to the race:
Swim & T1:
Goal here was the same as always. Keep the front pack in sight, swim cleanly, avoid trouble. My swim was much better because I wasn't completely tired from having just done an Ironman.
Was able to do that got into & out of T1 as quickly as I could
My friend Paul warned me last year's winner was "very fast on the bike"..
I had to smile at that remark only because I knew I could potentially split the fastest bike time if things went right. Sure the guy who won last year is no slouch, he won the year before that too. He hammers the swim/bike and holds on. It has worked well, no question about that.
Started the bike and noticed my Powertap was not working. It was measuring as a "bike computer" and not giving normal readings. Ugh. My fault for not clearing it properly.
My plan all along was to ride at 100-110% of threshold (around 280-320w) where it counted.
I rode by feel the rest of the way and just worked on catching everybody.
Bike was out and back; I saw a guy really, really far in front and wondered if he was an Olympic distance guy since they went off first. More on that in a bit.
At the turn around I caught a group of about four riders, my friend Eric was in the group.
I had no intent of "riding legally" with them since they had 5 others in front of them and didn't seem to be catching them. I wasn't going to make the same mistake I did in Bellingham and not work hard enough to bridge up to the next group.
That group tailed me the rest of the way, and, in fact since I'm so light and descend pretty slowly they actually caught me on a longer descent before I dropped them again on the flats and hills.
Around mile 8 (just guessing since I had no data) I could see the next group and knew that I'd come into T2 right on their heels so working really hard to catch & pass them wasn't necessarily the best strategy since the run was where I was going to give it full gas.
T2 & Run:
Coming into T2 I wasn't entirely sure if the guy who was way out in front on the bike was in the group that I visually tracked in there. They were onto the run maybe 30 secs before me.
I could see four guys in a bunch plus one up ahead and they were actually running hard.
Opened it up, caught that group and those guys were breathing hard. At this point I was still not sure if the bike leader was in the group, so there was a thrill of "is this the winning move and I'm going to make it?"
It didn't last too long because I was by them in a flash which clearly surprised them, thought maybe somebody would try to hang for a bit but the out portion of the run favors someone with lots of leg speed and if they did try it was short-lived.
Saw the photographer and asked him how many up front.
Damn. Ok, well, I was approaching the turnaround and figured I had to be putting time into somebody.
When I saw him he was already around the turn around by about 400m.. At that point I figured that unless he was running really slow (he didn't look bad) I was going to finish second but had to keep pressing.
Well, that's kinda of it. :) The rest of the run folks kept encouraging me to catch the guy, I felt good and really went after it, but obviously it didn't happen.
If I could have seen him up ahead of me I would have gone Mach 5 for as long as it took to catch up. As it was, I just couldn't spot him.
The young guy who won is the collegiate national cycling champ in the Ominum from cycling powerhouse Whitman & he broke the bike course record by about 3min.
The standard is about 35-36min and that kid obliterated it.
Here are the bike splits:
BIKE SPLIT TIMES (MPH)
1. 0:32:22 27.81 AE Colin Gibson 22 M 686 Walla Walla , WA
2. 0:36:11 24.87 AE Evan Cumpston 49 M 695 Hillsboro, OR
3. 0:36:42 24.52 AE Jeremy Hyatt 38 M 717 Portland, OR
4. 0:36:43 24.51 AE Joe Tysoe 38 M 743 Beaverton, OR
If you take out Colin's unreal bike split then I did what I planned on doing in riding near the top split, without the benefit of the power meter. ;)
Oh, and Colin is a solid distance freestyle swimmer at Whitman too. Love the power of Google.
I just have to smile because while Colin set a new bike course record I set the run course record by a good chunk trying to catch him.
Such is life. 2nd felt as good as a win considering how competitive it was and I was up against a kid who (google him) at 6ft 3in is built like Taylor Phinney and is a national class time trialer.
Well, I need to keep plugging away through October for one more race. Whew, it's been a long season!