Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Scott Tinely's Race Reporto

I flew out to San Luis Obispo to compete in Tinley’s non-drafting international race which was the final competition of my four-week racing block. I was hoping to end this little block on a good note. The bike course was gradually rolling with some sharp hills right before and after transition, and the run course was very hilly and technical. The morning of the race it became apparent that the weather would not be cooperating, and it began to rain.

After a short run warm up and a decent swim warmup I headed over to the starting area. The swim would be two laps. I thought that the course looked obvious at first glance and really didn’t put much thought into it – I doubted that I’d be leading on the swim… So the starting horn blasts and off we go. I started right next to Brian Fleischman, the heavy race favorite. I was able to get out a bit quicker than Brian, who was on my right. To the left, there were one or two guys about even with me. Feeling surprisingly good, I lifted the pace and clearly moved into the lead. It was completely unexpected but also a rush. I was about a body length ahead with Fleischman right on my feet. I make the turn at the first buoy and continue to hammer. The second buoy is approaching. I didn’t know whether I was supposed to continue straight or bang a left. I went left. It was wrong. A few strokes later I looked back to see that no one had followed me, and the people in the lead boat were screaming at me. I quickly corrected my mistake and got back on course in about 5th or 6th position. Fleischman had capitalized on my mistake and had opened up a little lead. I bridged back up to 2nd place and led the chase group out of the water just over 20 seconds behind Fleischman. Kevin Collington and Victor Plata were right on my heels.

There is a steep hill coming right out of t1. It feels awful to start off a 40k tt with your legs burning. After I descended the hill I began to put my feet in my shoes. Plata passed me as I was doing this. After getting my feet fastened I began to go to work and passed Plata back. I worked on getting into a nice, high-cadence rhythm. A few miles later, Kevin Everett passed me and we rode together (staggered of course). We traded off 2nd place for most of the 40k. It began to rain harder and about halfway into the bike it was pouring. Absolutely miserable conditions! At the bike turnaround it was clear that Fleischman had about a minute on us. Also, to my surprise, Everett and I hadn’t dropped Plata, and he was hanging out a couple hundred meters behind us. It made me nervous that the 2004 Olympian and strong runner was so close nearing the end of the bike course. Because of this I rode conservatively, trying to save a little something in my legs for the treacherous run course. With a couple miles to go I tried to pick up the pace a little bit to see what would happen. I began to put some distance on Everett and Plata, however, they both caught me right before going into t2.

I had a fast transition and headed out in 3rd place behind Everett but in front of Plata. The 2-loop run course had a turnaround at 1.5 miles, so I was able to see Fleischman and timed how much he was ahead: about 58 seconds. Also, Plata caught me at this turnaround. I expected the two of us to battle it out and hopefully push each other hard enough to catch Fleischman, however, Plata began to fade and I eventually put about 3 minutes on him. (He later told me that he had totally spent it trying to hang with me on the bike…) The run course was tough, but I was concentrating hard on working the hills and maintaining a fast rhythm. At the run turnaround on the 2nd lap Fleischman had 44 seconds on me, and I doubted that I would catch him as I had only gained about 15 seconds. When I saw Plata at that turnaround he started screaming at me to go after Fleischman. It was intense, but it was the motivation I needed. With 1.5 miles to go I gave it everything I had. I could see Fleischman up ahead and was closing on him. There was a giant hill with a steep decent just before the finish. Since it was wet out and you couldn’t hammer the downhills, I knew if I was going to catch him it would have to be before the top of the hill. I totally spent everything I had but came up just short. I made up 30 seconds on him in that last 1.5 miles, but Fleischman held on for the win with me 14 seconds back. I had the day’s fastest run split.

All in all I was extremely happy with the race. I had some good speed in the water and was able to ride hard but still run well off the bike. It was a great way to end my 4-week-in-a-row racing block.

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