Spirit of Racine Roundup

July 18th, 2011 by

Let me tell you – this week has been a busy one; starting off with a trip to Switzerland , a couple days at home to pack (read: procrastinate) and head on over to the US for 6 weeks of training and racing based out of Boulder. En route was a visit to Trek in Waterloo, Wisconsin – more on that soon, but this weekend it was time to exorcise the racing demons and get my first Ironman 70.3 in over a year on the score card… step up Racine, Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Nice to back up on one of those podium things again!

This past week has been a series of ‘firsts in a while’ – racing back to back weekends including both transatlantic travel and and a longer distance event (in fact that is a ‘first in a while’ all on it’s own) and indeed getting used to travelling again seemed like a first at times. All good fun though and part of the journey ahead – this journey of finding race fitness once more.

Talking of journeys, I had a fun trip over to Racine from Madison on Friday afternoon courtesy of the K Swiss expo truck. – It travels from race to race across the country and was en route to Racine via the Trek factory – happy coincidence I thought! Once here in Racine I was being homestayed by the wonderful Behrends family… I am now a (re)fan of all things cartoon thanks to Zach and Lilah (age 5 and 7!)

Apparently summer arrived in the MidWest just in time for us this morning – word on the street was that it’s been hovering around the kind of temperatures the Shire would be proud of until recently. Today it was 32C. And humid. Of course it was. – I usually like racing in the heat … just with some time to get a tan beforehand though.

Being back and racing in the US felt good though. – The events are just so much bigger with more excitement and atmosphere – transition had over 2500 bikes in it, the whole town was in lock down and there were 90ks of closed roads to get out on. It wouldnt happen in the UK!

After the poor(er) swim of last week in Zurich I was aiming to get out as hard as I could and try to set a good tempo. After a live rendition of the Star Spangled Banner from the race director over the tannoy (he was good!) it was time to hit the waters of Lake of Michigan – it is big, one of the Great Lakes no less (and not in any way to be confused with the Atlantic Ocean – I wouldn’t ever be that dumb, oh no, not me …)

We exited the water as a group of 5 – eventual race winner Paul Ambrose did a magic act that involved putting 7 minutes into myself, Steve Hacket and Craig Alexander by T2 which was impressive riding. I didn’t feel fantastic out on the bike today, in fact I rode with power for the first time and was contemplating giving the computer a serious throw as it confirmed I was doing a perfect job of heamoraging watts as the ride lengthened… work to be done.

my new Speed Concept with little Lilah from my homestay on board

The run was always going to be tough. By now it was warming up nicely and I was looking for shade in desperation at every street corner; there didn’t seem to be any readily available. I headed out of T2 in 3rd place and held onto that position till just shy of the 10 mile marker. It wasn’t pretty running but it’s a start and thats the main thing. I hung on to the finish to take 4th place in what was a competitive field.

I’m happy with how it went today. Other suffered even more and it has been a long time since I got to the finish of a long course race, so I have to be (and most definately am) pleased.

Work to be done, as always, and that is going to be done in Boulder, Colorado. – I fly out of Milwaukee tomorrow lunchtime to go see for myself what this multi sports and outdoors mecca is all about.

There is a beach – it must be the seaside, right?

Full results are here