by Pro Triathlete Tanelle
First off, I want to share how incredibly excited I was to race this event! The field was incredibly talented, and I was honored to race with these amazing women for my first non-draft professional race. Read the start list with everyone's main accomplishments to give you an idea of the talent I was racing with.
So, given the fact that this was my first non-draft professional event and the field was so deep, I set a modest goal for myself of finishing in the top half. I definitely exceeded my expectations with a 13th place finish (out of 32).
Leading up to the race, I had an awesome time. My homestay, Sherri, was so wonderful and accommodating. I am very grateful to the event organizers for this amazing perk as a professional in the field.
The day before the event, I was able to meet up with professional athletes TJ Tollakson and Ben Kanute. It was super convenient and helpful to me to know some people at the race. Together, we rode the run course. Then after the athlete briefing (super intimidating to be surrounded by superstars), Ben and I did a pre-race run and swim. I felt great in all three disciplines, and I knew I was ready to put out a great race!
On race day morning, I got up at 4 a.m., ate, biked to the race site, and then proceeded with my normal pre-race preparation. I finished up by jogging to the swim start, swimming a bit to warm up, and then lining up.
The swim start for this race was a deep water start, so we were called into the water to line up between two buoys before we started. I chose a position to the right because I prefer left breathing to see my opponents. This, however, was a mistake. The swimmers on my left ended up creeping past the buoys before the start, and before it could be corrected, the cannon went off for the start. Due to the waves coming in from the left, the left side racers were pushed right in front of me, causing me to have to change directions and go around. This definitely cost me some time and the chance to get into the lead swim pack. Thankfully, I felt great the rest of the swim. I kept gaining positions, which was very encouraging. The huge swells and waves definitely played to my advantage. I ended up coming out of the water in 16th—right in the middle of the group.
Going out onto the bike, I knew I had to put in a solid effort. I did my best to keep a steady, yet hard, pace for the whole ride. I ended up gaining a couple more positions on the bike which was super awesome given that I couldn't put a lot of training time in on the bike because of school. That leg definitely surprised me the most. My bike average was 24 mph which was my fastest bike split to date. My new aero helmet from DiscountTriSupply.com definitely helped! Thanks again!
Coming into T2, there were about six of us. I quickly switched into my shoes and went out on the run. The first thing that hit me coming off the bike was the Florida heat. Because I was training in Colorado, I was definitely not used to this. To top it off, I don't think I drank enough on the bike—one bottle of UR Driven was not enough. Even though I felt dehydrated and slightly sluggish (my stride tempo just never came), I put in a very solid run. I was very diligent on drinking water and Gatorade to avoid worse dehydration. This paid off, and I ran myself into 13th place.
Overall, I was very pleased with my race and the results, and I am excited to keep improving throughout the season. Given the fact that I prepared for this race while being a full time college student is super fulfilling. I just finished school, so I now have time to dedicate myself 100% to training, recovery, and nutrition. Let the games begin!
A couple takeaways from the race:
• Never be in a start position on the swim where you can be blocked in at any point.
• Bring two water bottles on the bike (one filled with UR Driven and an extra one filled with water).
Thanks again for all my sponsors including Des Moines Tri Club, DiscountTriSupply.com, Hands on Sports Massage, UR, Bike World, Giant, and all the other amazing sponsors of my amazing Z3 Elite Triathlon Team. A special thanks to Jenny Weber for preparing me for the race and all of my friends and family. Lastly, I would like to thank my Lord, Jesus Christ, for all of the amazing gifts He has given me. I hope that through sport I can honor and praise Him for all his graciousness.
Thanks for reading! Up next: Kansas 5150