Robious Landing Tri is a very fun sprint race with a longer than normal 18 miles bike, it ends up being a great practice race for Olympic distance. This was my third trip down to Richmond to race it and I definitely had high expectation for myself going into the race. The focus on training has been on bike and run in the last few weeks since Rock Hall. I am still training about 9-11hrs/week and getting my swims in with mostly speed focus aiming for that 21min 1500m swim at Nationals. I knew that some of the top guys in Mid-Atlantic would be there, and I had to be on my game.
After making the 4.5hr trip in heavy traffic on Saturday while eating a few handfuls of Cheez-Its, was very happy to be in Richmond. Tori and I ended up having a delicious Pasta Dinner at Edo’s with friends Kelly and Lina, who was also racing and planning her race before Para-Nationals in Santa Cruz. It’s always a great to see a friend racing well and being able to share a race together!
Race morning, we got word from the race director that the water level in the James River had risen so much that the debris and strong currents made the swim course unsafe for all. The 650m swim was switched into a 0.9 mile trail run making the event a duathlon. After checking in and setting up my transition area, the 7am start was fast approaching. It was a cool, muggy morning and the fog was thick. Tori warmed up with me briefly for 10 minutes; I remarked that the trail run in the foggy woods and on the roads would be interesting and a challenge. I definitely know I didn’t get enough warm up in (something to focus on for Nationals for sure), but knew I wanted to be towards the front of the run start and had to get there earlier rather than later.
At the run start they decided to put us in wave of 8 leaving 30 seconds apart. I was in the second wave and took the lead in that wave running the 0.9 mile in 4:54 while nearly getting taken out by a few roots and low branches in the process. As I came into transition, I realized my watch had somehow frozen or malfunctioned in the multisport setting and realized I’d be racing blind since I was unable to reset it. Not what I’d planned, but I know I could go off perceived effort. I was only a few bike lengths behind the past winner and my legs already felt terrible. As I tried to keep him in clear view through the dense fog, 3miles in I could no longer see him. I felt like I was working so hard, my pedal strokes seemed uneven, I tried to remain focused looking ahead only able to see 20-30feet. I should have known better than to wear my sunglasses, the bike course was a foggy mess and I eventually tucked them into me trisuit. As I came into T2 I saw a clock around 55 minutes in, bike split was in fact 49:08 and 2 minutes slower than the past event. That’s when I realized how much I had severely underestimated my effort. I was nearly 4 min back from 2nd place heading into the run.
I headed out of T2 hard and ran on effort on the winding single track trails adjacent to the James River. I was about half a mile back at the turn around. Tori and Kelly were on the course cheering and giving me updates as I kept pushing. There we’re a few guys behind that we closing fast and I knew they had had a great bike split. I crossed the line in 3rd and waited for the later waves to come in. I was immediately handed a read out of my split by Go to 11 Racing team member and saw I had run a 17:24 off the bike. I was thrilled, something that I have been struggling for years was my bike to run and I was finally able to get into the groove and crush a run.
I ended up 4th out placing 5th place by only half a second. The net result was 4th Overall and 1st in the 25-29 Age Group. I know I hadn’t had anything close to my last bike performance at Rock Hall; I came out of it fairly content with my effort and feeling it was another good workout race in the lead-up to Nationals.
I ended finding the Girls and we went onto the course to cheer Lina along the run as she finished her race strong. Some things went well, others didn’t but I had a great time out there and got to see friends! At this point, I am uncertain if I will try to squeeze in another race as a workout or mainly focus on the training for the next 6 weeks. Big thanks to Coach Ben for helping me stay focused on the goal and Tori and Kelly for waking early on a Sunday morning. One thing is for sure, Cheez-It will be along for the journey!!
1:12:50 (R1:4:54 T1:0:48 B:49:08 T2:0:38 R2:17:24)