New Orleans 70.3 Race Report – Trev

I’m sure most of you have heard that the New Orleans 70.3 ended up being a bike/run event with the cancellation of the swim. The waves weren’t horrible on race morning, I think the issue was more the fact that the wind prevented them from dragging the buoys out to form a course.

I swam in the lake on Saturday with a couple other athletes and it’s safe to say the waves were quite ridiculous at that time. It’s one thing to swim in a 4 or 5 foot swell in an Ocean, but when the waves are that high in a lake that’s only 10 feet deep – half the time your plowing through waves and taking a stroke in mid air prior to landing in the trough. Was not pleasant. Like I said, however, waves weren’t like that at all on Sunday morning, but the wind was still blowing strong.

Initially they were going to do a mass start at the far end of transition. Essentially trying to simulate an exit from the water…but without the swim. That would have been ridiculous. Over 40 male pros all plowing in to transition at the same time and getting on their bikes. Shoot me now. It would have been a draft fest. Thankfully a couple guys asked for a vote on the situation. A unanimous decision made it a TT start at 30 second intervals. Most of our numbers were in alphabetical order giving me a start position near the back. I was lucky enough to have two very strong athletes starting behind me – Axel Zeebroek and Dirk Bockel. Yes, Bockel does indeed start with a “B”. I think he must have registered late to have a number behind me, especially seeing as he finished 5th last year.

My original plan for the 90km bike this time around was slightly different than Oceanside. At Oceanside I went in with a goal wattage and simply kept it within that range as best I could for the entire ride. That left me off the back of some groups that could have been good to ride with, but it also let me run well. For New Orleans the plan was to race the bike and put myself in contention for a top 10 heading in to the run. I’d say I did just that. The first half of the bike was blasting head wind. Typically that’s where a higher output will pay-off the most so I really laid in to the first hour of the bike averaging 339 watts. I wasn’t looking at averages during the ride, but new for damn sure I was not going to be holding that same effort for the entire 90km. It hurt. Once we hit the turn around(s) I kept the pressure on and focused on keeping the watts above 300. In my opinion it was a very fair race. Everyone seemed to be on their own with no groups forming. Just me and my power. Below is the chart of the race power output. As you can see there was hardly a moment without pedaling, and a clear drop in output in the last 20 minutes. A bit of that was on purpose – a quick pee, a couple changes in position to help alleviate some discomfort, and a higher cadence to get myself ready to run. All said, a solid 322w normalized for the 2:09:50 it took me to cover the distance. I’m not that heavy, at 165 pounds, and I’m pretty aero if you look from the side. I would have thought I’d be faster than that with that kind of power, losing 2-3 minutes to a handful of guys, and over 6 to the winner of the day. Crazy. Maybe a few things to look at aerodynamically from the front. Really hard to tell from a photo, but you can see it looks like my chest is pretty open in this shot. At 6’3″ I probably smash into a fair bit of wind.

I was again pleased with my run. My legs were hurting far worse than they were coming off the bike in Oceanside, but to keep the run split in the mid 1:16’s lets me know I can ride really hard and still run well. Getting off the bike I could see Axel Zeebroek in front of me – he started :30 seconds back and passed me on the bike within 10miles. I knew to beat him I would have to catch him and run another 30 seconds into him by the finish. I started off with a way too fast 5:19 first mile and a 5:25 second mile, yet I didn’t close the gap at all. From there I had to settle into a pace slightly more comfortable and hope that he would fade in the last couple miles. Unfortunately he didn’t. It was really hard to judge where I was relative to anyone else. You simply had to run as best you could and hope it worked out in the end. You could get an idea based on bib numbers, how far ahead someone started, but it was far from exact. This did keep me running hard, but it was really not the same as knowing exactly where you were in the field. One thing is for sure, there was no slowing down in the last mile, as is sometimes the case once your position in the race is locked up.
I knew coming to the line that at least two guys had beat me for sure. Zeebroek and Dirk Bockel. Bockel caught me in the last mile, and knowing that he started 1.5 minutes back off the start line I figured I did pretty good. He would have in contention for a top 5, and 1.5minutes back would give me a decent placing for sure. Regardless, I was flat out to the line – dreading coming 9th and missing a little payday by just a couple seconds. I did end up coming 9th, darn it, but a good 40 seconds back of 8th and 1:47 out of 5th. That’s quite a bit of time and not something I feel I could have gained by racing any differently.

Solid day. At first glance you would expect that the lack of swim would have helped my placing on the day. It’s not that easy to say that, though. Yes, there were 2 or 3 guys behind me that would outswim me by over a minute for sure. But, because of their good swims they also end up with a group of cyclists that cause them to ride really hard and potentially see them blow up. All said I would have rather had the swim regardless of what it did to my overall placing. I just missed a great group in Oceanside a couple weeks ago and was keen to see if I could get in with those guys at this race.

A little walk down Bourbon street post race

It’s been a great start to the year. Next up…probably Rev3 Quassy and Boise 70.3 after a month of training in St. George, Utah.

Sweet. I bet you the owner of this does not wear spandex

View from my homestays backyard/dock.

~ by trevorandheather on April 20, 2011.

One Response to “New Orleans 70.3 Race Report – Trev”

  1. Great race Trevor! Most of us can only dream of holding that Wattage for that long… a shame about missing the payday by one spot though.

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