Cozumel was the first race that I did after the World Championships. It was an incredibly hot race in an amazing part of Mexico. It was really nice to get back to racing. I got a bit beaten up in the swim but was able to have a very fast bike on a very flat course. I caught the lead group about 60km into the bike, and once I got out on the run I began to pay for that very fast bike. I was able to finish in 10th place. After the race I returned to Poway, California to re-group with the Triathlon Squad and coach Paulo Sousa. I needed the dry desert heat of California to prepare for my next race.
Two weeks later I drove from Poway to Henderson, Nevada, home of the Ironman Silverman 70.3. The day of the race called for strong winds but cooler conditions. The swim was non wetsuit but the waves were massive. After a good warm up, the field of 30 men lined up. I lined up beside my Triathlon Squad teammate Jason Pedersen who was doing his first 70.3 race. After a few light-hearted words with him, the count-down started. The gun went off and the water exploded as all of us took off. I was able to find a group of swimmers and hide from the waves for a while. Eventually Cam Dye and Michael Raelart pulled the swim apart and I was stuck chasing the group solo. Out there alone in the lake I felt the waves crashing into me. All I could do was take the beating and keep my arms turning over.
When I came out of the water I noticed that the person I had been following was Jason. As I ran into transition I heard that I was 2 minutes and 30 seconds down from the leader and in 13th place. I was not pleased to hear that number, but I put it in the back of my mind and stuck to my bike and run plan. I jumped onto my Cervelo and started to get into my power zone. Jason took off like a rocket and it was very hard not to go with him. The bike course was very windy and hilly, through a spectacular landscape. As we rode through the desert the wind gusts pushed my bike all over the road and I was glad not to be riding a disc. I slowly chipped away at my deficit. At 45km Cody Beals went by me like I was standing still. I let him go and do his own thing. By the end of the bike I had worked my way up to 6th place. But, unknown to me , Michael Raelart had been disqualified for drafting on the bike, so in fact I was moved up to 5th place.
I quickly got my Saucony run gear on and started in on the hilly course. I had felt solid on the bike, but I felt like I was floating on the run. The course was three laps and essentially either up or down. When I had started the run I had heard that the leaders had 4 minutes and 30 seconds on me. I worked hard on the down-hills and hit the up-hills very strong. By the first lap I had worked my way up to 3rd place and was chewing into the lead. I over-took Cody Beals, who was in 2nd on the second loop, and finally at 16km I ran down Cam Dye. Once I had moved into 1st place I put it into overdrive to make sure I did not lose it. When I crossed the finish line I thought I was in 2nd place since Michael Raelart had continued to race. I was so happy with 2nd , but when I found out I had won I was over overjoyed. This was my first Ironman 70.3 win!
Congratulations to everyone who finished on a tough course and congratulations to all the Pros. It was one heck of a race out there!
I am now back in Poway, California training for Miami 70.3 in a few weeks.
This win did not come without a lot of support.Thank you to all my sponsors: C3, Kinetico, Royal Containers, Caledon Hills Cycling, Saucony, Nineteen, Compressport, SMITH Optics, Vorgee, Polar and Awake Chocolate.