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Oceanside Triathlon

Lifetime Fitness Oceanside Triathlon

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Coming into the Oceanside Tri I had pretty high expectations for myself. Since I started training again this past spring I’ve been training harder than I ever have before, eating healthier than before, and having higher expectations than ever before. That said, coming off a back injury and 18 months of minimal training I found it harder than I expected to get back into shape. While I was certainly making gains I hadn’t put together a solid race in all 3 disciplines yet this season after starting to race again at the end of July. Oceanside, for me, was where I was going to finally do that.

The race-

Having been swimming better than ever this season I was hoping to stay close to the leaders on the swim and put myself in a position where I could take the lead pretty early on during the bike. Once the gun went off I knew this wasn’t going to happen… Legs felt heavy, turnover was slow, lots of people were swimming away from me. I think I was in about 10th going into the bike and figured my hopes of leading off the bike were pretty much gone as I was almost 2 minutes down of the leaders.

Once on the bike I passed a couple people fairly quickly and tried to just focus on my own race. I was having a bit of a mental struggle after having a bad swim for the first time this year. I felt like I was rolling along pretty well until about 1.5 miles in two guys came passed me. When people pass me on the bike its usually a sign that things are going REALLY poorly. Mentally I was letting the race get away from me and was worried more about about what was going wrong than focusing on the race itself. Shortly after passing them back I either looked down to get some food or water or looked back at them but either way probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever done going down hill on a bike in a race. Next thing I knew I was running directly into a giant orange cone in my aerobars at 38mph. AKA I’m an idiot.

Suddenly I was lying on the ground with my bike 10yds behind me trying to make sure I was alive and could move. A few people rode past me asking if I was ok and eventually I figured out nothing felt broken, my helmet was still on, and I was able to move. I checked my bike out, straightened my handle bars, put my chain back on, straighten my brake and figured I should probably try to get going again. Once back on I was struggling both mentally and physically. I was kind of weaving back and forth trying to get going again as one guy came flying by yelling for me to get out of the way… usually a sign things aren’t going well. I was even further back now in terms of time and place than before and had just about given up on any hopes of having a good race.

The next 4-6 miles were kind of a blur to me, I was trying to ride hard and race but I was thinking about everything except the race. At the next turnaround I realized nobody was really gaining on me though and my sister, who had come up to Oceanside to watch, told me I was actually catching people. While I wasn’t sure if she was telling the truth this kind of got me going again and suddenly I had a new sense of hope. By mile 16 when we started the loop along the shoreline I was in 7th and gaining. I tried to just keep focusing on my own effort and by the start of the last loop I found myself in 3rd just 10-15 seconds behind the leaders. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel on the run but I knew I was at least giving myself second chance to compete. Somehow by the end of the bike I found myself in the lead. If you had told me 45 minutes prior that I would be winning at T2 I would not have believed you for a second. Funny how things can turn around when you just do what you can as best you can.

I wasn’t convinced until I came into T2 to find no bikes other than the PROs on the rack… Even before the crash I had lost all hope of entering T2 in the lead and yet somehow even after spending a significant amount of time lying on the ground and fixing my bike I found myself in that exact position. I knew I was going to get caught on the run by a number of people and within the first mile had given up the lead. At that point I was back to just trying to focus on running my race and seeing what I could do. I held onto the top 3 until mile 3 but eventually finished 7th for amateurs in 1:59:00. I certainly ran a lot slower than I was hoping so on paper my race was pretty disappointing for me between the swim/bike/run splits. It wasn’t until after the race that I really realized I had blood running down my legs, elbows, hands, my back, my left eye, and my right hip. I didn’t race nearly as fast as I was hoping and I didn’t place as well as I was hoping but I’m more proud of this result than any other I’ve ever had since doing my first triathlon when I was 12. Early on in the race I gave up on myself mentally, things then went from bad to worse and I was pretty much having the worst race of my life. Part of me is very disappointed that I was in the place I was mentally at that point. A larger part of me is proud of the fact that I never even considering dropping out a possibility when I was lying on the ground. The whole of me is proud of the way that I raced from that point on. I had the fastest bike split for amateurs despite lying on the ground for awhile and bleeding for 23 miles of it and considering I haven’t been able to move since the race I feel like didn’t run half bad to hang onto 7th place.

All in all the race was a mental battle as much as a physical battle for me. On paper I lost the race. But races aren’t done on paper, races are done on the race course. On paper I didn’t leave everything I had to give mentally and physically. On the race course there was nothing more I could give. Most importantly, despite the crash, despite a bad swim, despite it being a rough day, I had an absolute blast racing. Having fun, racing hard, and leaving all you can out on the race course is what it’s all about, right? So I’m walking away from Oceanside with a +1 in the win column.

This season was about rebuilding the fire after some time off from racing. This race was the one that lit that fire. Big thanks to everyone on OTF Multisport for motivating me to get back into racing this season, Team Psycho for supporting me and the team, and Rudy Project for protecting my head and eye from further damage! 2014 was a good year, 2015 will be a great one.

#PROVEIT #ONTHERISE

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Tongyeong World Cup

Burns caps off season with top 5 at Tongyeong World Cup

Burns’ finish makes for 3rd team member with top 5 World Cup finish this season

Tong WC

Photo Credit: ITU Media

Chelsea Burns and Jess Broderick traveled across the pacific for the final World Cup of the season in Tongyeong South Korea this past weekend. With breakthrough seasons up to this point both Burns and Broderick looked to finish off the year with a strong result. Both athletes found themselves in the first chase group during the early stages of the bike but quickly helped close the gap to the leaders. With a large group of 34 athletes entering the run together the end result came down to a footrace. Burns’ who has shown impressive fitness in the latter part of the season quickly found herself at the front end of the race. While she could not keep pace with the leaders over the 10km course she ran her way into an impressive 5th place finish which is her best ITU finish to date. Broderick, coming off a break in training, finished in 34th. With Burns’ top 5 finish she joins both Broderick and teammate Lindsey Jerdonek as team members who have finished in the top 5 in an ITU World Cup this season. Read Chelsea’s race recap below-

“Though my last trip to Asia was a bit rocky, I gave it another go, traveling to Korea last weekend for the Tongyeong World Cup, the final one of the season. My season has been long, travel heavy and filled with high highs and low lows. Though tired and having earned more air miles this year than I ever thought possible, I needed to push through and have that performance that I set out to deliver back in March. The race was actually awesome and the Korean people are just as awesome. They are incredibly friendly and seemed genuinely excited to have us racing in their town and their country. I only wish they used shower curtains.

The course was hard- a hilly bike and a hill on the run (done 4 times) that made my eyeballs pop out of my head the first time I saw it. Tongyeong is situated at the southern tip of South Korea and is made up of many islands, connected by bridges. The fishing port town made for a stunning race venue.

Despite having a very average swim (that was more like an 18 minute water-treading boxing match), a group of maybe 30 came together by the 3rd lap (of 5) of the bike…. Very lucky for me! We were essentially either climbing, descending a hill or making a turn for most of the bike and it went by quite fast. It ended up being another race where a huge group dismounts the bike together for a foot race. I paced myself more than I had a few weeks earlier in Alanya and before I knew it, the finish line was in front of me and I was fifth to cross! I am happy, satisfied to end the season 16 races later with my best ITU result ever. I have had higher expectations of myself than I have achieved all season as I am no longer riding the waves and just “gaining experience” as I was much of last year. Tongyeong felt like a bit of redemption for the various crashes and disappointments I had earlier this year and I finally feel like I a, performing closer to what I believe I am capable of. I also am glad to have shown this performance to the people that have supported me this year and through my (short) triathlon career so far! Team Psycho is one such group, I am hugely grateful for their support throughout my first two seasons as a professional triathlete. It is now time for a much needed break but even just days after my last race I am planning, excited and focused for 2015!”

Challenge Rancho-Cordova

Giardini finishes 3rd at Challenge Rancho-Cordova

Podium finish is second in as many weeks for Giardini

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Fresh off the first PRO win of his career, second year team member and first year PRO Davide Giardini showed his performance at SuperFrog was no fluke by finishing 3rd at Challenge Rancho-Cordova. In a strong field that included Kevin Collington, Jesse Thomas, Joe Umphenour, and Rudy Von Berg, Giardini wasted no time in getting to the front of the race. Giardini, a former collegiate swimmer, took the lead early on the swim and led a lead group of 4 athletes into T1. Collington eventually passed Giardini on the bike but Davide began the 13.1 mile run with a 4 minute lead over former CU Boulder teammate Rudy Von Berg in 3rd place. Giardini would ultimately get passed by Von Berg while holding on to 3rd place and the second podium finish of his career. Davide recaps his race below-

“My 4th race in 3 weeks – Challenge Half in Rancho Cordova, CA –  is finally behind me, and I think I might have just found a new way to get my butt in shape: race every weekend! I was a bit unsure how my body would hold up to all this racing (and two half-ironman races on back-to-back weekends), but I’m happy to say I’m alive and well, and took home 3rd at Challenge Rancho Cordova.

Here’s some details on how the race unfolded:

With the race having been declared no-wetsuit (water right at 68 degrees), I was pretty relaxed at the start, knowing that former roomie, training partner, and overall great fellow Italian bloke Rodolphe ”Rudy” von Berg and I were gonna take out the swim hard.  It was an in-water start, which plays well on my swim strength, and as soon as the gun went off I was off the front. It was a pretty controlled swim, and I exited the water in the clear lead. I turned and saw a few people chasing, but I as committed to getting away, so I blazed thru transition (fastest T1!) and was gone on the bike. Later it turned out that Umphenour, Rudy von Berg, and Kevin Collington were on my feet, but was able to put a gap on them right at the start of the bike. All except Kevin Collington, the 2013 70.3 US Champion.

I rode hard for the first 20km, and yet Kevin was right behind me (staggered), and then he made his move on the climbs, I think somewhere around 30km. Being light and powerful as he is, I could not match his pace on the Rancho hills. I tried to keep him in sight, thinking I could reel him in on the slight downhills, but the course never seemed to stop climbing! At the end of the 90k ride, I was about 1’ down in T2. It was definitely the hardest (not fastest) I’ve ever ridden, with a 2:09 bike split on a challenging course. You can check out my Strava file of the ride here: http://www.strava.com/activities/204211574

Both the bike and run courses didn’t offer the opportunity to know where everyone else was, so I just took off and starting running my own half marathon at a controlled pace in the 90 degrees heat. Kevin was long gone, and I didn’t know whether I had 1’ or 30’ on the next guy. I ran the first 10k and hadn’t gotten caught yet, and I started believing I could pull a good result in. Rudy von Berg passed me right then at a blazing speed (on his way to fastest run split in 1:13), and after a few friendly vulgarities directed at him, I just tried to keep him in sight. I was able to maintain 3rd place, with a 1:20 half marathon and  3:54 overall time.

I’m very pleased with this result, and another podium finish at a good race. This past month was with no doubt my most successful string of results I’ve ever achieved, and I’m happy that the good results came from different triathlon formats as well: made the loser’s’ finals  at the US Super Sprints Champs in Vegas, was 4th at Tri-Cal Pacific Grove CA in Olympic-distance draft-legal, won the SuperFrog Half-Ironman in Coronado CA, and now 3rd at Challenge Rancho Cordova CA half. Maybe the Cali air is good for me!

Now it’s time to recover and lay low a bit, before gearing up for one last race: LifeTimeFitness Oceanside, which will surely see a stacked field competing for the $200,000 series finale payout. Thanks to OTF Multisport, Team Psycho, and Rudy Project for their support and helping me achieve some strong late season results!”