Bonjour, les Fans de Folles du Cul!*
I raced on Sunday. It was hard. I finished 3rd. I am happy. Here’s how it went.
*Side note – turns out google translator should not be trusted for translating “Crazy Ass Fans” into French.
I Led The Swim – GPS File
For like 20 meters. Seriously. Mostly dolphin diving, but I was on my game! Booyah! As soon as I couldn’t touch the bottom any more, I fell back as usual. But I held my own and can say that this was probably one of the better swims of my career. I eventually got dropped on the second buoy, but held on tough just counting strokes until it was done. The wetsuit was awesome. I came out of the water just a couple minutes behind the leaders and 20-30 seconds off the main group.
Bike: Putting in some work – PowerTap / Strava File
After a hard run through transition, I started in a better position than I expected, being with all the guys I was keying off of – Richie Cunningham, Tyler Butterfield, Taylor Reid, and Cody Beals. So I allowed myself to relax and take the bike relatively easy for the first 15-20 minutes. Then Cody came by and started riding hard, saying to me (rightly) that there was no way we would hold off Lionel (Sanders – uber biker/runner, 4th at Worlds last year) at our current pace.
I didn’t really expect us to hold off Lionel anyway, but knew that it would be worth it to try and push and see if we could break up the group. So after a big pull from Cody, I swung to the front at the turn around and put in some work. I rode hard in the lead for a solid 20-30 minutes, and made a sad trombone sound to myself when I looked back and the group was still with me.
Stay With Him
An hour into the ride, at the base of the longest sustained climb on the course, Lionel came by. I decided before the race to ride with Lionel as long as I could. So even though I was a spent from a big pull at the front, I recommitted and hung in there. We rode hard and steady for the next 30 minutes. Each time it seemed like a small gap would open up behind me, Tyler had enough to bring himself and everyone else back to us. No breaks. More sad trombones.
As I came off the bike, I knew I’d put in a solid effort – my split was 90 seconds faster than World’s, and 4 minutes faster than this race last year! But I was in a position to win, so I was going to keep myself on the line as long as I could.
Run: A Poker Game – Strava / GPS File
Lionel, Taylor and I were step and step from the outset, and as expected the pace was no joke. Taylor comes from an ITU background, and he outran me last year at NYC Tri, so I knew he was ready to run as well. I tucked in and stayed relaxed as we clicked through the first 10k of the rolly course in 33:20 (5:20/mile pace)!
— Kiet (@tri_kiet) June 21, 2015
It was around then I knew I wasn’t going to hold it the rest of the way. But I held my cards close to my chest, hoping that at least one of them was bluffing as well, and waiting for someone to crack. I kept telling myself – “one more mile, one more mile, one more mile.” I’d yoyo off the back for a minute or two, lose 3-5 meters, then force myself to get back on it, and close it up. It was hard. I got very tired.
Around mile 8 the pain really came in and I started to worry about blowing up. I forced myself to stay with those guys to the next turnaround – another 1.5 miles – knowing that I would at least see if anyone was close behind me, and if anyone behind me saw me, they would think that I was on it and still keeping pace, therefore giving no reason to chase me, ha!
As soon as I made the turnaround out of sight, CRACK, SNAP, BANG! Bonk, blow up, rubber band snapping, whatever you want to call it. It happened. I went almost immediately from 5:25s to 6:15s, and it felt just as hard, if not harder.
I don’t know if it was nutritional – I did eat a little less this race because of the sustained work on the bike – or if it was just that I was really, really freaking tired, but the last three miles were a serious struggle. I did every trick in the book to get myself across the finish line – focus on your form, 4 minutes strong on 1 min off, only 10 more minutes of running, this isn’t that bad, yada yada yada. I told myself everything I could think of but there was no fooling the pain.
After a 7 min last mile, I crossed the finish line. Happy with the result, but definitely spent.
How Could I Have Raced Better
For better and worse, that’s the question that all athletes ask themselves after a performance. My swim was pretty good, a few small things here and there, but nothing major. A great step forward.
Playing the Game
I don’t know if it would have mattered, but I could have rode more conservatively. Potentially it would have been better for me to just sit in the pack and wait for Lionel to come by – knowing that he was going to eventually anyway. Then I might have had the energy to break away from the group with him, as opposed to helping drag the group along with him. Maybe I could have made a more conscious, harder move when I did try to break away before he came by. Whatever I did do, I spent too much time in the wrong area – using a lot of energy, but not gettin much out of it (pulling away from anyone). As a result, I think I started the bike with heavier legs than I could have.
I don’t think I could have run any differently. I ran to win it. Hoping that one or both of those guys would crack. But they didn’t and I did. That’s how racing goes.
Overall – Great Progress
Overall it was a really great race, honestly. Maybe one of my best overall performances. I finished over 4 minutes faster than last year and over 2 minutes faster than I did at Worlds. I had solid performances across all three disciplines (minus a few tough miles of running). It’s clear that after 18 months of injury and 12 months of catching up, my fitness and athleticism is coming around to the best it’s ever been. I’m in a great spot heading into my final training block for 70.3 Worlds and excited to see what I can get out of myself. Thanks as always for following along!
Thanks to Lionel and Taylor for the crazy push on the run, and Tyler, Richie, and Cody for the same on the bike.
Big thanks to Mont Tremblant organizers for another ridiculous event. This is seriously one of the best out there, and I highly recommend that anyone give it a shot. It’s an amazing venue and the community comes out in support of it like no other.
As always, thanks to my amazing sponsors for the continued support. You guys make this possible!
Jaybird – As always, big thanks to all the support you guys give Lauren and I throughout the year!
Dimond Bikes – So much faster. What else is there to say?
Red Bull – Oh man, I literally think Red Bull got me across the finish line. Was great to have it on the run out there at the aid stations. Thanks a ton for all the support guys!
Refuel by Digipower – Thanks for the support, guys! Got some great shots before and after, loving your products.
Accenture – Thanks for the support, guys! See you guys in NYC in a couple of weeks!
Finally, thanks as always to my family, friends, coach and the DOZENS of crazy ass fans! Appreciate it all, guys! Next up is NYC Triathlon on July 19th. Hit me up if you’ll be there! I’ll be at the Accenture booth at the expo at some point, come say hi!
Finally, Happy Belated Father’s day to my pops, who always tells me I can do whatever I set my mind and body too. And thanks Jude and Lauren for the Father’s Day gift via FaceTime.