Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 Vegas training camp and MCTC Championship

The past three years I've had some amazing spring breaks. First I spend four days in Vegas doing a training camp with the CSU Triathlon Team, then we journey to Lake Havasu for the Mountain Collegiate Conference Championship.

After a hard brick on Saturday, we loaded up our trailer (now outfitted for 45+ bikes) and prepared for our week-long training and racing adventures.
Bikes safely loaded inside the trailer
31 of us headed to Vegas Sunday morning and arrived in the early evening. The house we rented in Vegas was outstanding. Four bathrooms, five bedrooms, a pool, hot tub, beach volleyball court, basketball hoop and a master bathroom that was comparable to many one bedroom apartments.
We somehow managed to fit all our food for a few days in one fridge!
For the next four days we biked to the Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, did a few runs, swam outside and enjoyed each others company.

Taco bar night

We also met up with a CSU alum, Bailey Hinz, who is living in Vegas working as a music therapist and competing as a pro triathlete. She arranged for snacks at her local bike shop after a ride which we all enjoyed.

Thursday morning we drove to Lake Havasu. We did one last hard workout, then relaxed and recovered for Saturday's race. By Thursday night we had over 50 people in Havasu with CSU Tri for the race which was incredible to be a part of.

Going into the race, I had very little expectations we had only just started working in speed the past couple weeks. Our collegiate conference has some of the best competition in the country and despite a couple fast guys missing this year, the race would still be competitive.

Race Day

Race morning started at 5 am. I heated up some rice and mixed in two bananas and a big spoonful of almond butter. After breakfast, we headed down to set up transition. After a quick run and swim warmup, I bumped into my brother and we headed to the start corral.
I started on the far right hoping to stay out of chaos and made it to the first buoy in a large pack without taking too many punches. After a slight detour by the lead swimmers, we made our way in and out of a canal. I steadily made my way up through the pack and came out of the water just behind my teammate, Zack, in 5th position.
Swimming out of the canal loving the Roka wetsuit
I was expecting to have to make up a 1-2 minute deficit starting the bike and it ended up being about 45 seconds by the time I got to the mount line.

I started the bike with the strategy of going out hard and hoping to put a large enough gap into the field where I wouldn't have to worry about getting caught by faster runners. This was my first race riding with power. While I didn't have an exact number I was trying to stay at like for a long-distance race, I had my FTP and data from a race simulation brick to work off of.

I used the power meter to stay slightly more conservative on hills so I could continue pushing all the way over the crest and downhill. I took the lead about 1 mile in. The first set of hills came about 3 to 4 miles. They were short and punchy. After a mile or two of weaving through the neighborhood, the course has its first u-turn. I estimated a decent gap of about 45-60 seconds. Paul Stevenson from ASU was in hot pursuit of me and I knew he was a very strong cyclist. I had ridden with Paul at training camp in Tucson this winter. At the second out and back, (~mile 12) the gap to Paul had increased and faster runners had fallen back as well.

Being out front without anyone to chase after I tried to focus on having an efficient pedal stroke and even power. Heading back I made sure I was staying hydrated and took in some calories. Riding back I saw all my teammates at various points on the course which was uplifting.
Getting out of the shoes
About 100m into the run, I saw Paul just reaching the dismount line and estimated I had about 2-2:30 gap without any others in site. I planned to run hard until the turn around (about 5k in), see what kind of a gap I had, and then push with whatever I had left or run more conservative.

Heading out over the bridge, thanks to Jimmy Song for the pictures!
I reached the 3 mile mark around 16 min on my watch and still felt in control. After turning around, I saw my gap was still fairly large but decided to try and not back off knowing that however much this run hurt, it would only benefit my training and racing. Making yourself hurt during a 10k is challenging when people aren't breathing down your neck or you don't have someone to try and chase. I did my best to leave it out on the course until the last mile and tried to give everyone encouragement.

With under a mile to go, I knew I would win and tried enjoy the rest of the course. Running to the finish with teammates cheering was an awesome experience.

After the race I cooled down, cheered on teammates and got an In-and-Out milkshake with Geneva. We packed up the trailer, hung out on the beach and I was able to catch up with my brother and parents which was nice.

I was a little worried that I would have trouble gaining back speed after doing an Ironman but I think I've gotten some back. Right now it is too early for me to know if I'll be back competing at Havasu in 2016 but I would like to be involved with the team in some capacity at that race. CSU came in a combined second place which was almost as awesome as seeing so many beginners smiling their way to the finish!

Big thanks to everyone who helped organize training camp and Havasu. Coordinating logistics for that many people is not easy or cheap! Thanks to MP Multisport for the training plan, Dan Frost for the pictures, Every Man Jack and Roka for making awesome and fast products, Powerbar for supporting the team with delicious bars for the entire week, Skratch Labs for keeping us hydrated and the other members of CSU Tri for being great training partners and housemates.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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