Off Season, Tucson, and Bariloche 70.3

Much has happened since my last post way back in December. Not necessarily with me, but throughout the world in general, I assume. I’ll be ignoring all of that and focusing in on the important stuff: food I ate, virus strains I spread, training I did or did not do, and races I botched. I will attempt to do as little writing as possible because I have some sick pics to do the writing for me.

It all started with the Oregon trip, during which Adelaide, Maybellene, and I took two weeks to visit family and friends in mid December.

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A beautiful winter day on the Oregon coast with my parents and Jacques, hoping for 25-foot swells.

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Maybellene with her new pink harness, compliments of Jacques, her dog uncle.

The dogs miraculously didn’t cause any crashes.

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Hiking with my mom in the land of ferns, trees, and moss.

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Jacques found a watering hole just in time. Dehydration had been setting in for quite a while.

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This place is called “Multiple Falls” I think.

 

Back at home, Adelaide and I began the long process of learning how to skate ski, because I want my next sport to have blood doping in it too!

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By mid January, I’d had four weeks of off-season and had been sick for 100 percent of it. First because I’d picked something nasty up two days after Indian Wells, and then because I’d swapped colds with our friend Spencer in Bend. The cough was gone when it mattered though, and I began dabbling with training again. My motivation was low though, in part because Adelaide’s hip labral tear was too bad for her to start training, and also because I was just depressed for some reason.

I’d string together a few good, hard sessions but then have no desire to do anything of quality for the next few days. This depression and period of low energy went on until the beginning of February, when I finally got my mind straightened out and was ready to start quality suffering once again. Then I got sick. Super sick. Adelaide got it a day after me, and we both spent three days in bed, panicking, in between fever, as we missed out on our Tucson training camp. We eventually found the energy to pack the car, get the house ready to Airbnb, and drive to Arizona to meet Chris, Justin, and Blake for our annual winter training camp. 

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The dinner ritual of Mexican Pile and Jeopardy.

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Photo evidence that I do wash my bike.

I had a hacking, and sometimes throwing up, cough throughout the entire Tucson trip, which meant that I had to keep the intensity low for most workouts. I was happy to be in the sun, to get into a routine, and log some long hours nonetheless. Adelaide’s hip held strong, which was even more important. We drove home on a Monday, I packed on Tuesday, then flew to Patagonia on Wednesday. Probably not the most ideal race prep.

Bariloche 70.3

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Bariloche did not go as planned. My cough finally cleared up (for the most part) in the easy days leading up to the race but I was heavily fatigued from all the compounded travel and the 36 hours of training packed into 9 days—all while coughing my lungs up.

I lost contact immediately in the swim, though limited my losses to 1:41 from the leader out of the water, Justin Metzler.

I didn’t feel horrible early on the bike, but I also didn’t have much pop. I moved into 2nd place by 16 or 17 kilometers, though hadn’t made up any ground on the race favorite, Santiago Ascenco. Throughout the next 15 miles (yes I’ma switch between metric and imperial whenever I feels like it), I slowly lost ground on him. My power continued to drop as my legs caught up to reality, and I eventually lost an additional 90 seconds on him in the last 19,000 meters, 789 and 2/3rds feet, and 41,020 millimeters, putting me almost 4 minutes back by T2.

Confident that I could hold onto 2nd, since I had around 2.5 minutes on Tim Rea and over 5 on Justin, I spent the first half mile throwing up on myself, because nothing exudes confidence more than barfing. Try it for your next promotion; your boss will surely give you that raise once she sees how far you can projectile vomit during a coughing fit. It feels good and looks cool too!

With lead legs, I plodded on towards mile 1, feeling as shitty as I looked and most likely smelled. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get going. I was completely zapped from the bike. By kilometer 3, my bowels decided to join the fun, urging me to just try it. To “just see what happens if you keep running without using the porta pottie, bitch.” I gave in a few kilometers later, and stopped to make brown boom boom. Tim passed me shortly after and I was now nearing total mental defeat.

My stomach started bubbling and groaning, adding one more obstacle to my worsening situation. Justin passed me a mile later, which put me in 4th, having lost over five minutes in less than five miles.

I spent the rest of the next lap getting slower and slower, until I heard 5th place (Andre Lopes) rapidly approaching from behind. I decided to try surging to hold onto 4th for as long as possible, in an attempt to at least pay for my plane ticket down there, and found that my legs were starting to come back to life. All I needed was a 10 mile warm up. My fastest three miles were my last three miles. As I put a handful of minutes into Andre in those last kilometers, I angrily thought that if I’d just had that energy from the beginning, I could have kept 2nd—a stupid and pointless thought since there is no place for ‘ifs’ during a race. I spent the next few hours wallowing in self pity, then headed out for a long, late-night dinner, where I struck up a conversation about how horrible socialized healthcare is with a Canadian nurse who was sitting at the table next to me.

Given the late start to the season, and training hard while sick, my Bariloche performance is probably what I should have expected. I wouldn’t change things though, since a long offseason is necessary to make real gains, and the Tucson trip is one of my favorite times all season. I’m refocusing on the run this year, which I believe is the most important leg for me to improve if I want to stand on that top step this year. Next up is Oceanside, where a top six would be amazing given the field there. Thank you once again to my sponsors, A-Squared Bikes and Vision Tech USA, for setting me up with the fastest bike gear possible.

If you enjoyed this blog, or if you did not enjoy it, please consider donating to the Marine Mammal Center to help save the sea lions, who are suffering from human-caused over-fishing, pollution, and climate change. If you provide proof of donation, I will send you a card with a hand-written sea lion poem or triathlon poem of your choice.

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