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Real Triathlon Squad Race Recaps Late April/Early May with IRONMAN Pro Series under way

Garrick’s Full Recap of Challenge Taiwan (with Bronchitis!) on April 27

The swim start went very well. I managed to get out hard and found myself leading the chase pack early on as I was just not strong enough to hold onto the feet of the leaders. At the turn around I let a couple of guys come by me and I settled in on their feet. The way home felt like an easy cruise and I was excited for what was to come.

Getting on the bike I took the first few kilometres to take inventory and settle in. This has to be one of the fastest "hilly" courses l've ever ridden. Nothing is steep and you can carry enough speed up the hills that you don't need to break aero for much of any of it. Early on I was able to settle in to my race power and was feeling like the legs were starting to show up. At 20k I could see that I was holding the gap to the group in front and by 30k I had started closing slightly. Nearing the turn around my glutes started to get a little sore and then shortly after they started to lock up completely. At this point my goal was to just hold aero for as much as possible and make it back to transition. This ended up resulting in my lowest half (or even full) distance bike power ever and one of the slowest rides in the field.

As I got off the bike I hobbled my way through trying to psych myself up to get through a half marathon. Starting the run in almost last place I told myself that anything could happen. It was a warm day with high humidity and 21.1k is a long way to go. The glutes were not happy to start the run so I just eased into it hoping they would come around. It took a minute but by ~ 8K I could feel my stride coming back under me. Despite my stride coming back I still felt like I had to power. However, at this point I just kept my eyes up and went hunting for a top 10.

I’m very happy to come away with 10th but can't help feeling like it was a missed opportunity. Within an hour of finishing the race I was in bed with a fever. I was eventually diagnosed with bronchitis which explains a lot of how I was feeling when I tried to push in the race.

Jackson Fights to 4th Place at the IM 70.3 St. George North America Championship After a Mechanical on the Bike on May 4

My day at 70.3 St. George was going more or less as planned as I reached the half way point on the bike. I’d moved through much of the field after a so-so swim and was feeling strong. 

Then, my wireless blip button shifter fell off and I had no way to shift into harder gears at the back.

This was totally preventable. Firstly, those blips can be taped on so they won’t have any chance to move, which I didn’t do. Secondly, I didn’t have an additional set of blips on the base bars, in my mind it was a way to try to stay aero as much as possible. All this quickly ran through my mind and I allowed myself about 5 minutes to just be upset about it while riding complacently. Then I did refocus, thinking I could maybe still finish in the money.

I stayed in a medium gear, so I was at a low cadence on the uphills, and alternated between crazy high cadence and aero tuck on the downs. The flats were high cadence too but not crazy, around 120rpm. Unfortunately St. George is the hilliest course on the North American circuit so not the best day to lose shifting, I wasn’t at a natural cadence ever for the rest of the race. 

I was able to stay with the group I was in and even led the group for most of it to the base of the snow canyon climb. I then pulled away from them on the climb where I had no choice but to shift into the easiest gear at the back (still stuck in big chainring) and deal with the consequences on the descent later. I also saw riders ahead coming back to me, I was in 5th or 6th.

At start of the descent, I got off the bike twice for a total of about 85 seconds to manually shift into a harder gear (you can press the button on the rear derailleur and it will shift once, I didn’t know that at the time and took a little bit to figure it out). I still wasn’t in a great gear for the fast downhill, but alternated between spinning fast and tucking again for the descent. A few guys passed me between the stopping and the slow descending, and I finished the bike in 10th place.

Considering the ride was way more variable than normal and I had periods of crazy high cadence (peaking at 177rpm for 5 seconds), my legs felt pretty good to start the run. My dad gave me a split, and apparently I was only 2.5 minutes behind 3rd! I knew a had an outside shot at the podium. 

I ran very well the first 15km and was in 5th, only a few second back of Costes in 4th and gaining on Quenet who was fading in 3rd. We both passed Quenet in the last 2 minutes of the race, and Costes was 8 seconds ahead at the final U-turn 300m from the line. I got it down to 2.4 seconds at the finish, ending up 4th. I didn’t know the finish area closely enough and thought I had more time after the last left turn, so I started my kick too late. Another lesson learned…

I left St. George feeling mostly frustrated but also happy with how a handled the circumstances. I am certainly tired of still making mistakes in races with all the experience I have, but I suppose I usually execute a good race and the odd error is hard to completely avoid. 

As for a solution; those blips are taped down so they can’t move anymore, and I have another set on the base bars. Never will I lose shifting mid race again. 

Can’t wait to get some redemption in Chattanooga. 


Lesley Smith’s Reflection on the Greats and Not-so-greats of her 10th place finish at IM Texas on April 27

Not only was Ironman Texas my first race of 2024, it was also my first 140.6 in years. Because of this I was feeling an extra amount of uncertainty pre race! 

At this competitive Ironman Pro Series race, my main goal was to finish in the top 10. So, while there were some lessons learned and things I hope to execute better in the future, I cannot be too disappointed with my 10th place finish. 


Things that went great: bike race nutrition/hydration and subsequent stamina and fresher legs off the bike than in the past, overall mental fortitude over the distance, which will help with confidence in the future. 


Things that went not so great: defending my space at the start of the swim followed by a discombobulated T1, high humidity % struggles on the run (a recently developed weakness), which led to more of a survival mode feeling vs. 'racing' mode.


I am looking forward to more 2024 racing and seeing how the Ironman Pro Series points pan out as the season progresses!


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