The first race of the season is in the bag, and now that I’ve had a chance to process the process, I’ll share a few thoughts.
Training has been awesome this past Winter. Things are clicking and boxes are ticking. Training is life and life is good. I’ve been able to make a few key lifestyle changes that are small on paper, but all combined they add up to way more than the sum of the parts. Intuitively we know it to be true. Solid relationships, general happiness, and a feeling of peace inside add up to much more than minutes and watts on the clock. At least that’s how things roll for me.
Over the past 2 years I have been very fortunate to develop a relationship with Patrice Lemieux and Squad Cycles. Of course the bikes are awesome. Just take one look at this year’s hog:). Of course the fit is awesome. Patrice personally spends one on one time making sure that the bike is both comfortable and fast, and honestly that’s where I think the magic starts. It’s the relationship. It’s the trust. I trust the bike, I trust the brand, and I trust the fit. Patrice trusts that I will represent the brand with my best self.
Riding a cool bike is awesome. Looking good feels good and sometimes helps you race fast, but I think there’s one more off-paper aspect to sponsorship that can shape both a season and a career. It’s the belief. The sponsor believes in the athlete. The athlete believes in the sponsor. When you stand on a start line knowing that there are people who believe in you, the power is beyond what a Quarq can measure, so thank you for the power :) Again, that’s just how things roll for me.
Back to training and racing. Training has been good. Muddy and I started the season early with a big block of cycling, and continued by committing to a speed focussed swim program with Tim Floyd and Magnolia Masters. We have made some great technical changes to my stroke over the past few months and the pace clock reflects our hard work. It’s not necessarily a “swim focus,” but swim practices are certainly focussed :). A “swim focus” will likely be in the cards in the future.
Early in the year I swam a best time for 400m LC and recently the bike has been feeling great under my legs. Running is just plain fun, and fun is fast, so we just let that one take care of itself :)
Going into San Juan 70.3 I had the usual “holy-cow-i’m-super-nervous” feelings. That’s pretty normal for me, especially early in the season. I’ve tried all sorts of different techniques to manage the nerves and this time my plan was to just “go do my thing.” Swim. Bike. Run. Just do your thing.
In my case doing my thing works on the bike. It works on the run. The one exception is the swim. After San Juan, I realized that I’m just not the swimmer who can “do my thing” for the first 400m. If anything, I need to do much more than my thing. I need to race those 400m like they’re the best 400m I’ll ever swim. Lining up with 20 - 40 guys means “your thing” isn’t good enough. Today you need more. The start line calls for it.
The rest of the race was pretty good. I came out of the water, ran a bit, biked a bunch, and ran some more. Race day nutrition was pretty much on point as I only needed 2 or 3 swigs of coke along with a 30 or so swigs of water to run pretty well.
Moving on, my big takeaway from San Juan 70.3 was the start. It’s attitude and perception. This morning I was fortunate enough to swim another set with this kid named Nico. 30x50 on 50 and he held 27, closing in 26. Closing in 26. I was tired at the end of the set and held my pace. He was tired at the end of the set and closed faster. The swimmer's attitude and perception is awesome. Bring that to the start.
Thanks for reading and rest well :)