This past Sunday, I competed in my second LA Tri. The first time I toed the beach for the LA Tri, it was my first non-drafting race and my first win of my professional career. Back then I was still riding my road bike, but my equipment, the course and the competition was completely different this time around! As excited as I was about my first win back in 2005, I can’t complain about second place for the 2009 race, as I feel this was the most competitive non-drafting race I have had the opportunity to compete in so far in my career (although I will get the opportunity again in five days in Dallas!!)
The race began at 7:20 AM (five minutes behind the professional men). We had a beach run into some incredible surf and chop. I don’t mind swimming in the waves and chop once I am past the break, with the exception of trying to find your way in the water (which is tough). The waves make it extremely difficult to find the buoys! Fortunately, the surf was not as rough as 20 minutes before the race during my warm-up. I did get lost a couple time and the lifeguards were trying to steer us in the right direction. I had a good swim and ended up exiting the water 15 seconds behind Haley Peirsol. I had an average transition, just feeling a little jostled from the waves and did not get on my bike as quickly as I would have liked to, so I will focus on both of my transitions for next weekend.
I started off the bike hard. I knew that STRONG women were behind me on the bike chasing and I had to put my head down and go. The bike course is challenging as it is mostly false flat uphill, so it is quite a grinder and requires massive power. About halfway through the bike section, Juile Dibbons biked by me and I focused on staying with her, then Daniella and Lisa. For the next five miles I focused on staying with the women and did not lose too much time to them. Heading into the last turnaround with about 5 miles to go, my legs hit a wall and I lost almost a minute to the women on the last section. I just focused on keeping my cadence up, as I was experiencing some muscular fatigue. I headed into transition just over a minute down.
Once out on the run, I felt good. After how my legs felt at the end of the bike, I did not know what to expect. After the first mile, I could see Julie and just kept a good tempo up and worked my way up to her. After half-way, I realized Daniella was about 15 seconds ahead and just gradually worked my way up to her. Lisa was having a great day and I knew that catching her was out of the question, but I was pleased to work my way up to second. I crossed the line not leaving everything out on the line, as the entire run I was thinking about Dallas the next weekend and wanted to leave something for Dallas!
Every athlete heads into the race with the goal of crossing first, which is my goal for next weekend. I know I have to race smart and just go out there and give it 100% for that day. Dallas has even more amazing athletes than Los Angeles, so I am welcoming the challenge and going to give it my best. I am currently leading the Race to the Toyota Cup Series and my goal heading into the final race is to finish up on top of the standings. This is my last major Olympic distance race of the year, so I would love to finish with something to smile about!
I leave for Dallas on Thursday afternoon...
Have a great week!