After checking out the initial start list and ticket prices for Dubai I figured it could be a great start to the season. Unfortunately, everyone had the same idea and the pro list exploded. The weather in Dubai is actually quite ideal for racing in January, mid 70’s and basically no humidity. With mostly base winter miles behind me I knew it was going to be a tough race against a very talented field. Here are my thoughts on the race.
- I feel like a broken record saying this as it seems to be the norm now in 70.3 racing, but the swim start was very aggressive. It was a beach start with a sharp right turn after about 50 meters so I was sandwiched in the middle of the pack with multiple bodies on top of me. After we made the turn, I was in the middle of two girls with a five meter gap to three women. I didn’t want to swim arm and arm with one woman on either side so I kicked it up a gear and was able to make the gap up to the lead women. One woman had made another gap and I tried to go around but she had gapped us by too much so I settled in with the group.
- I was thankful to have a non-wetsuit swim to break up the group a bit more. We came out of the water a minute or so behind the lead girl. I had a fast transition and left T1 ahead of Daniela Ryf and Ellie Salthouse.
- On the bike I tried to stay with Daniela and Ellie as long as I could but I lost them quickly. I settled into my own pace as I rode out into the dessert.
- The course had a few rollers and some very strong winds but the roads were in pristine condition so it made for a nice smooth ride. Slowly a few women caught me so I hung on as long as I could.
- At the turn-around I lost the pack and was riding with one other athlete. We jockeyed back and forth a few times headed back to transition. Riding into the last water stop with about 15K to go, she approached each volunteer with water bottles and slapped every bottle out of their hands so I couldn’t get one. Luckily I still had water and didn’t need any but I was slightly in shock. I have heard this can be a race tactic but I really feel like it’s poor sportsmanship.
- I cruised into T2 hoping to have something left for the run.
- I was a little stiff getting off the bike but after the long run through transition my body stretched out and I felt decent jogging out of T2.
- I didn’t feel bad running, errr, jogging, but there was just no speed as I went out onto the run. I kept trucking along at a manageable pace and cheered on the other athletes as they raced by. I still haven’t actually looked at the race results because it was my worst run ever by a large margin (I did have Patrick tell me).
- Not racing up to your full potential is of course disappointing but I’m actually pretty happy with my race. Knowing the training I put in beforehand I’m actually very pleased. I had a solid swim and I’m proud of myself for taking the initiative to bridge the gap to the faster group and stay with them, that bought me 30 seconds which can be very significant in a race. My bike was also solid for cutting back the saddle time and intensity quite a bit so no complaints there.
- My run, while the time is disappointing I really only had a lot of mileage and very few ‘speed’ sessions, if you can even call them that, going into this race. I’m working on some significant run changes and I have to be patient as I know it can take a lot of time, months, maybe a whole year. It’s funny because my friends and family were concerned about my run but really it’s about what I expected. I think there’s some great racing ahead I just need to have the patience to get there.
The Dubai course, goodies/treats and event as a whole was an incredible experience. If you ever want to do a destination race I highly recommend it. The race being on a Friday is awesome as it allows the weekend for some fun adventures.
Thanks to my wonderful sponsors, Gear West Bike & Tri who always make sure I’m ready to race with the best equipment and Dr. Michael at Premier Sports and Spine who has kept my body going strong through many aches and pains. I really could not perform and train the way I do without this team of people, check them out! Hope everyone is enjoying training and getting excited about the US race season again, see you out there!