Thursday, March 14, 2013

First Race!

On Saturday was the Clermont Sprint Pan-Am Cup. It was my first race as a professional as well as my first draft legal race. Leading up to the race I was so nervous. (If you'd like to read more about the lead up to the race I have a blog on USA Triathlon about that...USA Triathlon: A Time for Firsts Blog). However, the great thing about triathlons is that the swim is first and I find as soon as the gun goes off I am completely calm. I raced out into the water and after being pummeled for a bit I found myself off to the left of the mass of athletes but somehow in solitude and still on target for the first buoy. Rather than get back into the mess I decided I would rather swim alongside the group. Going around the first buoy was difficult and physical, but after that swimming felt smooth and I just tried to keep picking off swimmers ahead!
Coming out of the water I was right on the back end of the lead swim pack. I ran up the beach and had a great transition (fastest of the field woo hoo!) and got on the bike. Going out on the bike I was a bit behind the group and in my head two subconsciouses were working against one another going back and forth with "I can't catch them"..."I can catch them"...but I'm happy because the "I can catch them" side won, and I latched onto the group!
I'm pretty new at the whole group riding thing and considering we averaged 24.6 m/h for the race I had never gone around turns at that speed and wasn't so comfortable in the group. I struggled with staying with the group around the turns and would sling shot off the back. Then I would catch up and the nice thing about catching up is it gets so much easier once you're back with your group. The other athletes in the group were athletes that have pretty awesome athletic resumes and it was great to be up with them. They were fantastic at communicating and telling me what I needed to do/not do in a nice way and I tried my best to work with the group and take my turn at pulling.
Yep that's Sarah Groft's butt in front of me, she got 4th at the London Olympics.
So after 4 laps of fartleking the bike it was time for the run! And I was tanked. I didn't do much on the run, but I also didn't lose my position. I ended my race in 7th against a competitive field and was so happy! There were five Olympians in my race: Sarah Groff (USA), Vendula Frintova (CZE), Radka Vodickova (CZE), Paula Findlay (CAN) and Helle Frederiksen (DEN) as well as a few other well known respected triathletes that I also look up to. Even though I didn't really set many expectations for this race other than to finish and not get last in the race, I definitely exceeded them! It was a great start to the season and I am excited to compete in my next professional race...Saturday at the Sarasota ITU Triathlon Pan-Am Cup!