Checking in with pro triathlete Matt Lieto: Oceanside 70.3
Anywho- tangent- sorry ;) So-down to the swim start with conversation and stories with Brader, Rapp, and Henning, while we wait for the A-OK to get in the 60 degree water. To the start line I line up far right with high hopes for my swim as I recently changed my stroke and am swimming faster than ever. Gun-off. The only swimmer near me I see is…Potts. Feeling good in my brand new Aquasphere Phantom wettie, might as well? Shoulders….Hip….feet….feet…feet…bubbles. Uhhh, Darn. Maybe that was less than a good idea. That did not last long, and might have left a mark ;) So.. my fastest 100 meters in the last 5 years? Likely on Saturday Next 400? Not so much ;) After that, got myself into a nice little rhythm and built my way back into the front of the second group. Out of the water in 26-NOT according to plan, but here and gone.
Onto the Speed Concept and a little effort to connect with Hoffman, Schildknecht , and off we go. Word comes soon of a 2 minute + gap and steady pace through the fast section of the course with some really strong athletes. Rapp was the next to come through, so our swim group had contained some of the better cyclists in this race. With all of us having eyes on each other, I knew we would eventually catch the front of the race and likely get to the lead. Pace was hard and strong. A few athletes tacked on, and played the drafting game, but were penalized by Jimmy Riccotello, and served their penalties in transtition. Shame on you guys, and thanks to you Jimmy for keeping it legal-ish!! Michael Weiss came by at about 40 miles, and I knew I had to keep him in sight if I wanted a chance at a lead at some point in the race. I had a bad patch, but nutritioned and got myself back on track to catch the lead with maybe 8 miles to go. It seemed as if everyone was content to just be in a group coming off the bike. I knew this might hurt, but I need to put myself out there a bit and what better time than now? Some hard effort to detach the group, and I had a small gap. Weiss crossed the gap and put a bike race type attack on me to get to T2 first. Youch that hurts. I did not let him go, and we were really putting in some watts the last few miles trying to get there first. I don’t think he expected the challenge, but we were going at it all the way to the mount line. In fact- there are a few median crossings with carpet bridges right before dismount line that I caught some air off of!! Fun!! Weiss 2 meters in front off the bike- not fun.
My hamstring locked coming off the bike and I had to do the one leg drag run to my K-Swiss K-Onas for the run leg. Onto the run now caught by the group due to less than stellar Lieto transition and my lovely cramp. Not surprisingly Henning and Potts most quickly dispatch me and I link up with Ambrose. We were running well when J- Rapp (my favorite and absolute treat to be able to race with him again) catches us and ups the pace. Right on his heels and thanks to my Garmin Forerunner 310XT I knew we were cruising- 5:30-5:40 the first few miles into the neighborhoods. Up the hill and right turn, no…no….not now…. Right hamstring NOT cooperating with the first race of the year. Bang. Cramp stops me in my tracks, and I watch the group quickly run away from me. Guys? Guys?….Wait? Dang. I decide instead of a run full of stop and go, to get this thing 100% gone before I start up again. I stretch and get it out, but about a minute gap on my running pals. ;( Maik Twelsiek comes by and offers encouragement and I am on again. Slow start, but my leg comes around and through the 1st lap back on to make my way back up to Maik. I catch my good pal and say “just a Saturday run with a pal”, he smiles and replies “yes, by the oceans.” ;) We have our little “moment”, and then get onto task at hand. We run together, than back and forth for the next few miles as we need to catch an athlete to get back in the money. There he is, we both move up a spot, but I realize I am out of the money as my energy fades. Chris Legh passes me with a mile to go and just pips Maik with a quarter to go. Cross the line 10th and happy with a job well done. For me, in April, with snow on the ground in Bend, and less than 10 rides outside in my legs= good day.
So- tired and sore legs from 13.1 running on concrete and I am looking forward to my next race. When you ask? Sunday. Ooof. US Pro 70.3 Champs in Galveston. I am excited and focused on good recovery so I can get a good result. I was 3rd American in a stacked field in Oceanside, with the 5th fastest bike EVER on course (fastest U.S), so I'll see about upping that this next weekend!!
Cheers- and thanks for caring
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