Yesterday was round 3 of the World Championship Series in Washington, DC. I was sitting in 23rd place on the rankings going into this race and figured with a good result I good put myself into the top 15.
I had a pretty good starting position right beside Olympic Champ Jan Frodeno on the pontoon. I had a great start. I got on Frodeno’s feet for the first 200 metres. It was a little rough going around each of the turn buoys so I lost a few positions, but I was still in a great spot. On the second loop I basically maintained my position and exited the water in the middle of the group.
I had a fairly smooth transition. There were five guys who had a gap out of the water so the pace was on right away. Everyone was strung out for the first couple kilometres but it didn’t take long for our chase group to form. There were about 30 of us trying to close the 40 second gap on the five leaders. I worked really hard for the first three laps with a bunch of other guys. We made up about 10 seconds on one lap but then lost it back… and more. There was the odd surge to get something going but after about 5 laps the pace had definitely slowed. At that point I just put myself near the front of the group to stay out of trouble and wait for the run. I felt very comfortable on the bike. My legs felt good and I was ready to run fast!
With less than one lap to go I was sitting in about 3rd spot in the group when suddenly my bike didn’t feel right. I could hear something weird. I looked down and my back tire was flat. Needless to say I wasn’t too happy! I had just rode 7 laps with no issues and then with less than one to go I flat…very frustrating! Luckily I wasn’t too far from a wheel stop. I pulled over to get it changed. I hopped off my bike and watched the entire pack fly by. Unfortunately I flatted on the fastest part of the course. It was a long, gradual, downhill straightaway and the group was probably riding over 50 km/h. I was now standing at 0 km/h watching the pack disappear up the road. At that point I pretty much knew my race was over. The mechanic was very helpful though. It wasn’t the smoothest change but I got a new wheel and continued on. I rode the rest of the lap on my own and entered transition about a minute down on the group. At that point I knew for sure I was out of the money (and a shot at any decent points) and realized the best thing to do was to save myself for Des Moines this weekend. It seemed as though a few of the top guys had similar thoughts as there were quite a few dnf’s. With my Dad and Lawrence there watching (having driven 10 hours from Oakville) I still wanted to finish the race. I decided to run the first lap at a tempo effort to get a bit of a workout in and then I shut it down for the last three laps. It was a nice long cool down that included a fair bit of profanity but a good release of frustration. It was sad because my legs actually felt really good. I think it would have been a good day…but, this stuff happens. It’s all part of racing…a crappy part, but nonetheless a part of it.
By the time I finished I had calmed myself down and was already thinking about the opportunity I have in Des Moines this weekend. Looking forward to it!