Monday, May 11, 2009

Wildflower: Win Another Day...

By Chris Lieto

Wildflower is one of the races I want to win, but it will have to be another time.

I am back at home resting after Wildflower this last weekend. Getting in some recovery time, catching up on some work, and spending more time with the family. Kaiden is very active now doing swim team everyday, playing T-ball, and going to school. I always enjoy the time with my kids.

Wildflower was a good race, but not everything I was looking for. I had some really good aspects of the race, and I had some areas in the race that did not go according to plan. I am excited to fine tune those before my next race in San Jose against Macca.

The swim was not what I planned. I was expecting to be in the front group out of the water, but it did not pan out that way. I realize more and more that you have to stay focused on even the areas you think is expected. The unexpected happens all the time and before you know it you are behind schedule and trying to catch up. That is where I found myself half way through the swim, and at that time I was gapped off from the lead group, and it was too late to try and bring it back. Thoughts start going through my head, like “how could you miss that group”. I had to quickly try and shake that off and focus on where I was and what I needed to do next. I held my ground and came out of the water a couple minutes down on the swim.

I stayed calm and stuck with the plan to ride smart and smooth, especially in the first half of the ride. It took me much longer than expected to catch the lead pack of cyclists as 8 guys or so where pacing off each other in a tight “legal?” group. As I caught them there was no room to pass. So I had to wind my way in and out and through the group to get to the front. This was near mile 35 as I kept my pace going and proceeded to put maybe a minute into the group before the “nasty grade” climb at mile 43. Once I started the climb my legs were not feeling as good as they did earlier. The group ended up catching me at the top of the climb, and we ended up riding together into transition.

We all started the run together and the first miles are always fast as we ran through the windy road along the lake. Everyone was in sight, but as we hit the loose dirt trails and steep hills I started to lose ground as I was not running well up hill and on the loose ground. My glutes and hamstrings were not having it, and I had no power running up hill. Once I hit mile 6 I was a good 4 to 6 minutes down and decided to push the run and get the most out of the day. I finally hit the part of the course that is more of a rolling rhythm section from mile 6 to 10 and I was able to bring myself back into it. I was just 30 seconds behind Terenzo and Luke Bell. I kept my pace up as I was able to pass Terenzo and got close to Bell as he picked it up to the top of mile 12 before the steep downhill finish. A little too late to bring things back and was a little too far back from top 5.

I learned a lot from this and really need to focus from mile one all the way to the end. Staying strong from the get go and in contact can make a huge difference as the race finishes up. I left too much out on the course and had to settle with 7th place. I am happy with my place against the toughest field Wildflower has seen in many year. I will take all I learned from this race as I try to do from every race and use it to raise my game for the rest of the season. Hawaii Ironman 70.3 is just a couple short weeks away, and I am excited to get there and push and stay focused from start to finish.

I really look forward to seeing the next couple races unfold and I will keep you posted. Thank you very much for all your support and encouragement. See you at the next one.

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