The 2014 tri season opened with the usual preamble that has set my course for the last number of seasons. Although it has become somewhat routine I have no real reason to change it up as they provide speedy competition and great venues and quality race productions.
Ultramax continues to put on an amazing event with TriZou and this year brought my 3rd elite win by besting Iowa legend Michael Girard and my good friend Joe Company. In the process I set a new bike and overall course record. As you can see the youngest Nickel Racing team members grabbed the spotlight.
The Kansas City Triathlon is equally as classy and I was glad to find no overlap with KS 5150 in the schedule this year so I could do both. Although a past champion in 2012, this year I was beat by a very speedy Kevin Denny and edged out by Cole Bunn to take the last podium spot. It was a bit disappointing and my first reality check on the lack of conditioning I had from my lackluster off-season. Add Denny to the list of triathletes to watch after posting a very solid 32 1/2min 10k and since then a top 10 at AG nationals.
KS 70.3...6th try and same 'ol story with a host of nutrition, acclimation, and conditioning issues. I'll be back.
I ran the table in the central KS sprint circuit with wins at Spring Migration, El Dorado, Mudwater, and Derby. A highlight of the year was reclaiming my KS 5150 title from 2012. It was nearly a race to the wire as I edged out Juan Torres of Chile by 20s and qualified for the 5150 National Championships.
A few weeks later the blue minivan was once again on the road to Des Moines for HyVee and the 5150 National championships, a race that has become one of my favorites. There is always a very competitive field and the race is very professionaly produced. This year the course was shortened to a sprint due to flooding conditions. I was fine with this as I had been battling a bug for the week leading up to the race and only decided to still go after begining to feel a bit better late on Friday. I finished 13th elite amateur and best bike split as I tried frantically to get back in the race after a horrific swim. I ended a stones throw from the top 5 of my original goal. All things considered I felt fortunate just to be on the start line and give a solid effort.
My 2014 tri season came to a close in a somewhat anticlimactic fashion as I once again tried to fake my way through a 1/2 ironman without proper conditioning. I was fourth out of the water and into first overall about 10 miles into the bike and riding pretty conservatively. My conservative pace began to feel less conservative in the final miles and several guys came around me. Out on the run I again set out at a conservative pace but could already tell it was going to be a tough day with the heat. I briefly moved up to second then the wheels came completely off in the last half of the run putting me at the finish in 8th overall (3rd age group).
Overall the year was a good experiment in quality training for short course racing but 6 or 7hrs a week of training isn't going to get it done for the 1/2 ironman distance.
I feel confident in my ability to put on a few more miles going into this next year. My current plan will be to focus on a couple of 1/2 ironman distance races in the first half of the season and my year end goal will be ITU World Championships (oly) in Chicago late September.
It really was another great year of racing culminating with 7 overall wins and 10 podium finishes. My family continues to be an amazing support crew attending almost all of my races and I can't thank them enough for what they do. My sponsors have really become a second family who are fully committed to giving me the very best support as well. I look forward to strapping on the aero helmet once again to represent the Nickel Racing Team in 2015.