Friday I travelled down to Los Angeles to compete in my first Elite race. Friday was rather Uneventful, Lauren one of my core supporters travelled down with me for the weekend to watch and take part as much as she could. unfortunately we left a little later in the day which was a plus and minus because there was no traffic but we were both tired when we were taking our turns driving. It was a beautiful drive though, coming through Santa Barbara there was a large lightning storm that was passing through and lightning storms are just awesome while your driving if you are the passenger. Unfortunately during that part of the trek i was the driver so I didn't get to watch it too much but just being in the midst of something that powerful is incredible. we check into the Fog harbor Inn in Marina Del Rey, a very quaint inn about ten minutes from the race venue. The hospitality was wonderful but let me tell you there was one woman at the front desk who was just in awe of the sport triathlon, she could not believe that it only took 2 hours to finish this grueling race and thought I was getting prepared for the Marines or the Navy Seals. it was hilarious hearing her keep repeating " a mile swim a 25 mile bike and a 6 mile run" over and over again trying to put it together in her head thinking is that really humanly possible or is he just yanking my chain... Got settled in the room and went back upstairs to confront the hospitality lady. Walking through the office with my bike she just could not help but asking "how are you supposed to ride that thing it looks like you would lay down on it" After a short half an hour explanation of how to ride and why due to aerodynamics I was able to get back to the room and hit the hay!
Saturday morning was great woke up at six to a rerun of the ITU World Championship Grand Finale. Those Brownlee brothers are phenomenal I can't wait to get to that level and line up with them to duke it out. Went for a morning swim at the swim venue and checked out to see if it was possible to walk to the course from the hotel, It was! The water was so warm compared to here in San Luis Obispo a very warm 67 degrees. After my morning swim I headed back to the hotel for breakfast and a quick cat nap. After my nap Lauren and I headed to the shoe store so i could get some brightly colored laces and Lauren was going to try on some new running shoes but unfortunately that didn't work out we'll get that taken care of soon. Next we headed back to the hotel Lauren got to take another nap while I had to head out to race registration and the Pro meeting that was unfortunately mandatory. After signing my Berto in and myself Half way (yes Halfway) I headed to the Pro meeting. Let me tell you, there is no way you could make the Herbalife building more confusing. Luckily i spotted another elite athlete and followed him. He looked rather experienced in this. Turns out it was Cameron Dye, good guy to be following to the meeting. That was probably the most nerve racking part of the weekend, sitting in the Pro meeting all I could do was sit there saying to myself Greg Bennet 2 time Olympian and many time world championship race winner, Cameron Dye crazy hair and super fast biker, Lisa Norden Olympian 2 time winner of LA and me, a few amateur wins and the youngest by at least 6 years. The most important thing I learned about the race at the meeting is you are running through a movie set for the new Batman movie so don't be alarmed if there is snow and New York everything around you. You are not going the wrong way (I thought that was quite cool). After getting to the hotel we did a slight walking tour of the area surrounding the hotel and watched the boats and paddle boarders. At around 5 my coach Dave Sullivan came to the hotel and we all headed out to dinner at the cheesecake factory next door. I had a delicious Lemon Herb Chicken it was fantastic. After we had eaten dinner Berto finally showed up (not a big surprise) unfortunately he was caught at work and got stuck in an accident. He too had dinner we sat around talking about racing and the good stuff while Lauren went back to the room. By the end of the night we went from two people in the room to 4 people with putting a twin size air mattress in the room two bikes and a bunch of other tri equipment everywhere. Lauren was definitely a trooper with three men and a bunch of stuff i applaud you!
Sunday was race morning wake up at 4:30 thinking man where did the hours go. As quietly as possible Coach Dave, Berto, and I were off to the venue. We arrive at 5:00 and start to set up the transition area. Unfortunately there were no lights and luckily my coach as awesome as he is brought a head lamp so i could see what I was doing. After a half hour of screwing with my bike wheels and getting changed I was off to warm up. warm up felt great I was hitting stride went back into the transition area to check my bike once or twice. I was just about warmed up and I saw 4 or 5 officials piled around my bike and I became to stress what is wrong what is wrong, finally I went and asked and luckily I had no problems they were complimenting my set up and the simplicity of it all. 10 minutes before transition closed one random guy racks with the elites and slams his bike next to mine and his bars got stuck on mine and i walk in thinking something happened and luckily it just got stuck on mine. I was rather upset but it happens. 5 minutes before the race started I broke my goggles out of nervousness and luckily packed two pairs. I get into the water and was relieved to find it just as warm as yesterday.
And from here the race begins it was a mad house getting in the water first time i did dolphin dives which is jumping off the bottom doing a butterfly stroke multiple times until your out deep enough to swim after that it was war. I unfortunately swam to the wrong buoy which was the exit buoy and had to make up ground being one of the fastest swimmers in the field i moved up from last to 5th by the end of the swim I just kept thinking I was as my coach puts it Gilligan lost at sea and I would never make it back in. I definitely need to work sighting in the off season. I managed to get out though in 5th place. With the swim I had I should have been out first but could of would have should have. After having a flawless transition the fastest in the whole race actually i was off on the bike. i was not able to get warmed up until about mile 5 but I was still not feeling great until about mile 12. after that i was able to turn it up and felt great. Coming into transition I was able to once again flawlessly move through even though i had to run nearly a quarter mile before racking. I had the 3rd fastest T2 on the day. Coming out of transition I felt great good tempo and good technique. I could Hear both Dave And Lauren up the road yelling and screaming as well as a awesome cow bell. I didn't look over to them as I had two elite guys in front of me within a few hundred feet, Dave and Lauren Both yelling stay on there feet test them let them have it. We get to the mile long climb and i pass both of them run down the mile hill and loosen up pass another Brazilian guy in the elite race and I am just fired up at this point. we get to the turn around point and one of the elite guys I passed still clinging on to me waiting to see me crack I made it up the climb again and cramp right in my side I'm huffing and puffing trying to hold off and felt myself slowing i ended up getting passed by him with less then a mile to go we end up duking it out back in forth to the finish my coach yelling somewhere only 90 seconds to go anything can happen we keep fighting it out I hear Lauren telling me to go go go near the chute and he ends up toeing me and passing me. I ended up 6th overall. Couldn't complain I had the run of my life by 2:20 and my bike was within a minute of my best, my swim was about 3 minutes slow. sitting in the finish chute I realize i'm bleeding in my shoes and get taken care of just a few popped blisters but a bit of blood. After a long drive home we ended up safe and sound in all it was a great weekend couldn't ask for much more!