Crazy Ass Fans, unite! Jesse Bieber is back in action. After a long blog break building the Picky Bar Empire and playing Mr. Fleshman for Lauren’s Olympic Trials, I jumped in a big ‘ol race on Sunday at the Rev3 Portland. Good stuff happened. Read below.
Swim – Not Front Pack, Not Second Pack. 1.5 Pack?
Once again, thanks to some solid Dolphin Diving I had a good start. I hit the first buoy with Front Pack and navigated around with less than three back o’ the head slaps, booyah! I stuck with the pack the next couple hundred meters, going hard, but staying on it. I could see Richie to my right, who I knew was the guy to beat after his win at Quassy. Could this be my breakthrough? I think so. In your face, Front Pack! But sure enough, at about 500 meters, Front Pack made one more acceleration and dropped me. Dammit. Front Pack, you play my heart strings like a guitar.
So I relaxed/recouped/cried, let the next couple of guys go around me, and got on their feet. I felt pretty comfortable the rest of the way. I debated swimming ahead on my own a number of times, but it seemed like a lot of wasted energy for a small benefit. So I just decided to stick with it and let it play out. It was relaxed enough that I got a song stuck in my head during the swim, which basically never happens. Awesome, right? Well, no. The song was none other than the ridiculously annoying and unfortunately catchy tune Call Me Maybe. LONGEST SWIM OF MY LIFE.
Bike – Hold On For Dear Life
After an annoying swim, my initial plan for the bike was to build into the mostly flat first 10 miles, then crank it up when I hit the gnarly hilly section from mile 10-30. Well, plans change. Jordan came by me and I remembered that riding by myself in Quassy was boring, and having people to ride with in Oceanside and Wildflower (also Jordan) helped a lot. So I told myself that my new bike plan was to stay with Jordan, regardless of what he did. This was a decision that I doubted and regretted many times over the next 1.5 hours.
Instead of easing into the first 10 miles, Jordan rode up to the front and laid some smack down. I averaged ~360 watts for the first 30 minutes, then after a short downhill, absolutely hammered the long rolling climb, averaging about 380 watts for the next 18 minutes. For those of you wondering why my bike ride is measured in light bulbs, it means that I was riding VERY VERY hard, near my one hour all out effort for the first hour of a 2+ hour ride! I doubted that I would have the legs to stay with the pace – much less run afterwards. Worse of all, I was still Maybe Calling Someone the entire freaking way. Next time you think a workout is hard, try playing that song while you’re doing it. It’s a new universe of pain.
Anyway, I was close to done as we went into the last steep climb. But then, someone came to my rescue. It was none other than…SUPERWIF!, and her Band of Cheerers. I rode by Lauren, Jessica, Hallie, and Patrick, who not only cheered me one and told me my place/split behind the leaders, but were also blasting the song (below) out of the car that I’d wanted to have in my head. So I made it to the top of the hill, my outlook improved, an I stayed with Jordan the rest of the way. It was still pretty rough, but the brutal hills were done, and we reeled in a bunch of guys. I cruised into transition in 5th place.
The song I wanted, and eventually got, in my head during the race.
Run – Oh So Close
When I heard Richie had a 90 second lead on me out of T2, I knew it was bad news bears. The three times I’ve raced Richie, he either ran faster than me (Quassy) or was very close (Oceanside & Panama). Having gone super hard on the bike, I was also worried I might bonk on the run. So as soon as I caught Terenzo in 2nd place (about 2 miles in), I chilled out.
I ran the next couple of miles fairly comfortable and tried not to think about Richie up in front. I needed to make sure I finished and didn’t implode. Eventually, Terrenzo droped off a bit, and in an effort to make sure he didn’t stay with me, I must have picked up the pace. I still thought my chances were slim, so I kept telling myself to get to mile 8 before running “hard,” (whatever that means). The pace felt strong, but sustainable.
At the turnaround around 8.5 miles, I got a split on Richie, 53 seconds. I honestly thought I was still too far out. Then I passed Jordan and he told me that I “had to go now.” It honestly kind of woke me up a bit. I needed roughly 11 seconds a mile and I could catch him. Tough, but not impossible, and I was past the point of worrying of finishing, so I kicked it up a notch.
One of the awesome, and simultaneously frustrating things about this course was that I could see Richie the rest of the race. He got closer and closer. It was like your car door mirror, “Objects may be closer than they appear,” except the opposite, “Objects may appear like you’re right behind them, but really they’re like 35 seconds in front of you, dude.” I pushed as much as I could. I got splits from fans, friends, the race coordinators, SUPERWIF, etc. 30 seconds, 26 seconds, 21 seconds, running out of real estate, ah! I got to 17 seconds with 1.5 miles left, and I imagined myself doing one of Matt’s brutal run workouts, and tried to shift into my last Z4 FAST mile, come on 5 minute mile!
Unfortunately, that’s when my car broke down. My right leg started cramping just a bit. I got a bit of a side ache, and I started this weird panting/crying/moaning sound that I’ve absolutely never heard myself make before. At about mile 12, my body said game over.
It took my brain another ¾ mile to hear the message I finally shut down and jogged it in the last minute or so. Though I was bummed I couldn’t catch, I still was stoked enough to do some finish chute Hi-Fiving with the crowd.
Overall – 2nd Place, a Fastest Bike Split, and Solid Run
I’m pretty stoked with this effort. I shared my first ever fastest bike split with Jordan on our dueling Shivs (I was seconds faster than him when including the run with the bike into transition, but Jordan set the pace). That was awesome, but running a 1:12 off that effort was particularly encouraging. Yeah, I lost some time on the swim, but the course was definitely long, and I think in a bigger field, I might stay with a group going a slightly faster pace. Either way, lots of good stuff. Full Results – under pro race, click triathlon leaderboard.
Some Lessons Learned:
Transitions Matter: I used to think that transitions didn’t matter in long course racing. Well, now I don’t think that anymore. Once again, I lost to Richie by a difference in transition time. This was a total bummer in Oceanside, but an even bigger bummer here because I gave up a win. I’ve got to work on more efficient transitions. If you see someone practicing putting on his shoes, stuff crap into his pockets and jumping on his bike, chances are its me.
To Go or Not to Go? I know I lost a lot of time on the swim, but in hindsight, I think I lost the race in miles 2-6 of the run A few days away, I think I ran scared. I didn’t really “wake up” until Jordan yelled at me. I think I ran safely for 2nd place until that moment. If I had gone right off the bat, maybe I would have caught Richie by mile 10 and who knows what would have happened. He might have pulled away from me, I might have died, but he might have been hurting enough too that he couldn’t challenge. This is my one regret from the race. I wish I had gone, it may have been an opportunity lost.
I’m not going to beat myself up about it too much. You live and learn. And I am very happy with this result. This was a solid field, and outside of Wildflower, probably the best result of my career.
All Stresses Are the Same & Have the Confidence To Chill:
I’ll be honest, I was wrecked going into this race. Those who follow me on twitter and facebook know that I had a very busy, emotional, and taxing last few weeks – this is also the reason I haven’t blogged. Lauren raced the Olympic Trials, so I was in full Mr. Fleshman support mode. In addition to our presence at the trials, Picky Bars has also faced a number of exciting, but demanding changes the last few weeks, so my workload there has increased significantly.
On Friday 6/26, 9 days before my race, Matt decided to pull me way back. I basically bailed on my workouts for Friday, Saturday & Sunday, substituting them with very easy efforts. I worried I’d lose my “sharpness”, but Matt said that I absolutely had to rest. He was right. I felt absolutely terrible all week. The emotional and physical drain came on like a train of pain in the rain (first two ains happened naturally, added the last two for effect). Anyway, if I hadn’t have chilled the way I did, there’s no way I’d have been ready for this race. So the lesson is, listen to yourself, all stresses on the body are equal whether they’re emotional or physical and from exercise or otherwise. Don’t be afraid to rest. Thanks Matt.
SUPERWIF and her Band of Cheerers – This race was rad because Lauren, my family, and a bunch of my friends were there to cheer me on. It’s the only race I do in the Pacific Northwest, and it was so awesome to have people out there on the course. They gave me splits, kept me going, took a bunch of great pictures, and tweeted the crap out of that race. You guys are the best!
- Steve, Mary, Oliver and Sadie – Not only does Steve provide me with some awesome Cycleops PowerTap equipment, his family also let Lauren and I stay with him this weekend! So much fun to hang out with you and your family this weekend. Really appreciate all the help and the hospitality!
Mallory, Sean, & Joe at Specialized – You guys get top sponsor billing this week with my first ever fastest bike split! Mallory gives me crap about how every race I say it was my fastest bike ever, but it’s true, it pretty much has been my fastest bike ever, every single race! Well this one anyway, definitely deserves the title – MY FASTEST BIKE EVER! I also want to thank Mark, Mike, and Joe at WestEndBikes in PDX for hosting me on Friday night for a Q&A session. Awesome shop guys, and great to meet you!
- Charlie, Ashley, Eric, Sean, and the rest of the Rev3 Team. This was, again, an incredible event. I first met the Rev3 crew last year when they brought the first major professional race to Oregon. I am so pumped I met you guys, and so happy to be a part of your group. This was a very special weekend for all of us triathletes in the Pacific Northwest. We really appreciate it. Beautiful course, and a well run event. Can’t wait for next year! See you in Maine in 6 weeks!
- Geoff, Kody & the Pearl Izumi team – Thanks for cranking on the brand new Kit to have it ready for this race. It felt absolutely amazing, and I know it helped with the fastest bike kit. And oh so close to a fastest run split in the Transitions. Great stuff guys, thanks for all the support.
- The guys at Rolf Prima. Rack up a fastest bike split for the new TDF 60 SL! Booyah! Thanks guys! Stoked to hang out in a couple of weeks at the Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove!
- My coach Matt Dixon – As I said above (and as always) Matt played a crucial in my result this weekend. Thanks a ton man. Onward and upward.
- Robert at First Endurance – I am very surprised and pleased with how well I held up on the run, and I think a lot of that has to do with great race day nutrition. Once again, I used my race day nutrition plan, and it worked perfectly. Thanks so much for the support and incredible product Robert!
- Gerry Rodrigues of Tower 26 – We’re close, Gerry! Looking forward to seeing you in August to make one final push to Front Pack for 70.3 Worlds.
- My support crew, my newsletter subscribers, twitter and facebook crazy ass fans. Once again, I had people yelling Go Aviator! Bieber Zombie! the entire run. You guys are rad. I had a TON of people following on twitter as Lauren was posting updates. So much fun to read through them all after the race. Really appreciate your guys support!