The culmination of my season for the fourth year in a row was the US Open in Dallas on 10/10/10. My history at this race goes something like this…first year = 9th, second year = 16thish, 3rd year = 19thish…and this year it came full circle as I placed 9th amateur overall once again. I did however come away with some hardware since I was 2nd Open Elite Amateur in the race that basically excluded the lifetime fitness championship wave and pros.
This year the race got a new home in Rockwall TX and did away with the point to point race which made it better for spectators. The swim was off the pier of their beautiful harbor and a really nice location for the start and finish of the race. The elite open wave went off 5th and was a dive start from the doc which was the first time I had encountered that type of start but I have to say it was as much fun as it looked! Although a better start performance for me then in past seasons I still found myself unable to latch onto the lead handful group of guys and settled into my pace by myself. By the end I was just catching a couple of my group as we exited the water. Time = 23.29
What a fun transition…Out of the water we ran UP a pretty steep homemade ramp, ran UP a walkway to our transition, then mounted our bikes and immediately had to bike UP the steepest section of the entire course for 30 meters. That’s enough to get the heart pumping. Needless to say I did not repeat my performance from last year of having the fastest T1.
The bike was not a challenging course but a bit technical with lots of turns. There were a few rollers as well but nothing major. I biked a bit conservative knowing me legs weren’t as fresh as I’d like and I knew I could gain time in the run. The most enjoyable part of the day was to finally be in an early wave which made the course nice and open. I only encountered a few other cyclists from my wave and even reeled in a couple women pros and one male pro before I returned to transition. Time=61.55
The run headed right back up the hill out of transition for about a half mile. I kept my strides short and quick to combat the fatigue I was feeling in my legs and was thankful to hit the top and be able to start striding out more on the level. I rolled through the first several miles at 6min pace thinking I’d have no problem dropping the last 3 to sub 5.45 on the return trip which was cumulative down hill from the turnaround. Unfortunately history repeats itself and I made the same mistake I made the last 2 years at this race which was to avoid the provided powerade due to worries about indigestion from not having trained with it. At 4.5 I bonked and immediately knew I should have taken the discomfort with powerade opposed to the discomfort of bonking. I decided to take it at the mile 5 aid station even though it was too late and of course it was the one station that didn’t have it so I went on by. 37.45
I faked the last mile getting passed by a couple of pros in the last downhill and coasted across the line like a car that just ran out of gas in 2.05.05. I was pleased to finish with no major problems and in the top 10 for not feeling 100% at the start. My sponsors and support team were just amazing this year cheering me on at all the events and making sure I had what I needed to compete. I’m already looking forward to next season.