Vineman 2014 was an unexpected 70.3 PR, still to this day, with a 4:25 overall time and 1:21 run split, one of the fastest amateur runs on a hilly course.
Vineman 2014 Race Report – https://david-welby.com/2014/07/16/vineman-70-3-race-report/
Against my better judgement I looked at this prior achievement as a gauge of past and present, old and new, good and bad leading up to race day with plenty of training analysis and race simulation. I wanted my results on race day to signify progress from where I was in my peak of 2014 to after my calf injury and training re-calibration. Then this morning at Tower 26 Ocean swim practice my swim coach Gerry Rodrigues framed up a profound and contrary sentiment, one that I have tried desperately to adhere to over my last year of relatively poor performances – we as athletes aren’t our race outcome (as in swim, bike, run results), ‘we are the process’, and not always, but eventually when we show up day in and day out to do the work good things will happen.
I did a lot of things uncharacteristically for myself in the week leading up to Vineman. Enjoying the 4th of July holiday for many days and nights in a row, going out, having fun, living life and not concerning myself too much about the sport of triathlon. Getting in the workouts but not staying true to my rest and nutrition. I justified my actions with the thought that in my peak I was still off the podium there so why sacrifice my fun and social life for a few meaningless minutes, after all I’m not a pro and the sport clearly isn’t paying any bills. This kind of thought has been churning in my mind a lot lately, and I’ve discussed it with close friends and training buddies much over the last month. As a result I may or may not have approached race day a little less than my best however what I did gain was less pressure than I ever remember feeling going into a 70.3 or any other distance triathlon for that matter. Many have suggested that difference alone was what helped make the day.
The result of my disposition, spectacularly ironic. Not only did I podium with 4th place in AG, I found out at awards with 3 spots allotted and a difference of only 50 seconds between 3rd and 5th I missed a Worlds Qualifying finish by just 30 seconds! A similar result in the past would have haunted me for the entire 8 solo hour drive home but somehow I wasn’t upset (or truthfully at least much less upset). Finally after 18 months of underwhelming performances I was reminded of why I love this sport, why the sacrifice is worth it. Because of how rewarding it is to aspire to be your best, come into T2 with a small handful of bikes and go after the leaders. Because hard work pays off and minutes, although more difficult to come by these days are worth the struggle.
2016 Vineman Race Report
Swim – 29:44 (PR)
Excluding Wildflower (27:XX) and Tahoe (0:59:XX) I have been going after my first sub 30 minute 70.3 swim for a while now, coming very close at Vineman 2014 and Oceanside 2015. Since I wanted to race fast I wanted to start with a faster than normal swim, which meant catching and maintaining behind the sub 30 group. I envisioned in my mind the red line they have been showing in Olympic swim trials that represents the World Record. My red line was a group of 4 guys just ahead of me that I fought to catch but were just out of reach. At the turn around we were forced to stand up and race walk through the sharp pebbles. I was within a few feet at the start but couldn’t keep them with me, losing about 10 meters in the process. I swam the whole way back to T1 upset about my race being over because I couldn’t push a little bit harder.
When I hit the shore I paused my watch but couldn’t see the time until removing my arms from the wetsuit. When I finally saw 29:35 (watch time) I was beyond ecstatic. It has been a rough last few weeks with many poor performances in the pool but my coach kept his cool, let me continue trusting in the process, and the result was realized on race day. Now that I’m here I hope to stay under the mark as best as I can.
Bike – 2:26:49 (slight course PR)
Despite the course PR not all went well here. I had hoped for a 260 watt average target but managed closer to 255 watts, not wanting to push it any harder than that, listening to my body. About 15 miles into the ride my aero bar snapped off at the arm rest. Fortunately my Torpedo Cage kept the unit together however it made it very risky getting into full aero, instead I was forced to place the majority of my weight on the left side, or stay on the side bars (as observed in the photo below).
Run – 1:28:13 (vs 1:21:38 2014)
I purposely made the call to ignore my Garmin heading out on the run. I wanted to go entirely by feel since I knew heart rate and pace would be discouraging. The course was hillier than I remember and I was joined by another 30-34 AG’er almost the entire way, hunting our group down one-by-one. I had planned to run, not race or jog, the first 8 miles until increasing the effort to strong 8-10 and fast 10-13. Unfortunately it was all in my head since I, and many others ended up suffering in the heat. I ended up running only two 7+ minute miles, a 7:15 and a 7:19, regrettably those 30 seconds ended up making the difference between 3rd and 4th place. Since the AG was split into 2 waves I didn’t have the chance to see 3rd (he had finished 5 minutes before me).
A spark has been litten. My Fall race schedule was uncertain up until this point but I have already signed up for Santa Cruz 70.3 since returning home in hopes of earning my spot to the 2017 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga. So few races to choose from with so many people fighting should make things interesting but nothing would make me happier then a triathlon reunion with friends from around the country with this race back in the US again.
Three-peat victory for fellow Tower26er Holly Lawrence with an incredible 8 min separation!