Jenna 4th American at Sydney, 9th overall at Monterrey
Sydney WCS: The race was my season opener and the first time that I have raced since August. I was surprisingly calm heading into the event and really just excited to get out there and test my fitness. I lucked out at the start of the race because there was an extra start spot to my right and Sarah Haskins standing on the other side of it. I thought, "perfect, I'll leave her alone, sit on her hip and have a great lead out to the first buoy." It worked, until about 20m before the first turn buoy when I got engulfed by bodies and arms grabbing at my back, pushing me down. Remaining as calm as possible, I kept trying to move forward, but the 10 seconds of treading water meant that all hopes of coming out near the front of the swim were gone. I continued to follow the mess of white water, while getting thrown back and forth from the giant ferry boat waves, and just prayed I'd make it out of the swim without drinking too much harbor water.
After a fast transition, my group came together and immediately started to pull back the gap to the giant lead group. Within two laps we had closed the gap and were sitting in a huge group of about 30 women (essentially the whole field). The rest of the ride was pretty darn slow because of all the 180 turns and the cobblestones through transition area. It was a "sit and wait" for the run, so I hydrated well and prepared myself to have a crack on the very hilly course.
I ran strong through the first lap, trying not to get too excited and worked on finding a fast "easy" rhythm. Early on in the third lap, after passing a bunch of athletes, I was caught by a small group of three women (Samuels, Dittmer and Mensink) and decided to latch on to the back of their run group and see how long I could hang for. It was an incredible feeling, easy, and it made the run the most fun I have ever had in a race. With 200m to go, I got a side stitch and, unable to even stand upright, had to watch the group leave me behind. I was sad to not have a crack at the sprint with them, but really elated to have pushed myself like that on the run. With such an incredible field at the event, 9 of the top 10 women in the world, in a field loaded with 2008 Olympians, it was definitely the most satisfying 23rd place finish I've ever had. I am also now ranked 6th in the World on the bike with the new individual event rankings for 2010.
Monterrey World Cup:
Ranked 1st, after my performance in Sydney, I got to wear the target on back this weekend. I didn't really look at it that way, since someone had to wear #1 and, I figured, it was just the races that landed me there, but it did give me the advantage of choosing any swim start position. However, that failed to really matter. Swimming in a 3ft deep, 15m wide canal turned out to be the worst nightmare of anyone who could really swim. I spent the entire 1500m with people swimming on my back and whacking into me from the left and right sides. I could not get free and basically didn't really get to swim at all. Exiting the water, I looked around and realized that everyone who I was hoping to be in the front pack with, was in the 2nd pack with me. All of the "good" swimmers had somehow been eaten alive and were now 30 seconds down from the front pack with me.
We got on our bikes and, with most of the form cyclists in our group, started to work. However, we could not close down the gap. I think it had to do with the technical nature of the course and the lack of handling skills. Realizing we were not going to catch them before the run, I made sure to hydrate and prepare for the run.
After one of the fastest T2s of the day, I charged out on to the run and tried to stay with two of the form runners who were coming off the bike with me. We had a 38 second deficit to make up, so we needed to start making our way through the runners ahead, and fast. I was able to hang on for about a lap before I got popped off the back and started to really suffer. The fatal error of the day for me, outside of the awful swim, was not latching on to the back of the next two girls who ran by me. I kept pushing, passed a few more women, and tried to find a 5th gear heading down the home stretch, but ended up in 9th, just 5 seconds out of 8th place with a 37:01 run split.
It is my first top 10 in a World Cup, which I am pleased about, but I am not entirely satisfied with the race. I had hoped to do better and it certainly leaves me hungry for a bit of redemption. It is hard when you feel like pieces of the race are entirely out of your control, but that is racing and so I move on to the next one. My next race will be The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon on May 2nd in San Francisco. It is my favorite race and I am really excited to go race myself in the non-draft format. It is a race where you can't hide because of the hard and cold swim, hilly and tough bike and the long and difficult run.
The post Jenna 4th American at Sydney, 9th overall at Monterrey appeared first on Garmin Blog.
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