The three weeks after Ironman absolutely flew by! We stayed busy as we continued to get settled into our new home, and I enjoyed recovery which consisted of rest, some easy training, and a lot of really fun food. I didn’t know what my legs would have in them, but the Deschutes Dash is easily one of my favorite races so I signed up one week before race day. Mentally, I was excited to race and ready to push as hard as I could, physically.
The Swim – 1300m, 14:04 (:50/100y)
One of the best things about this race is that it’s now in my home town. I woke up comfortably at 5:45 and made it down to the race by around 7. After an easy setup in T1 and T2 (this is the 2nd year that the course has had two separate transitions) I took my time making it to the swim start just up river at Farewell Bend Park. On my way, a guy named Patrick came up to me and introduced himself, letting me know that he’d read my blog after trying to do some recon on this race, this was a super cool moment for me. If you are reading this Patrick, thank you and it was awesome to meet you!
The swim is downriver in the Deschutes, which makes for a very fast and fun swim. The 39 and under males lined up around 8 and the gun went off at 8:05. The first few minutes in any triathlon are always fast as you try to fight for position, and I found myself sitting in the top 10 by about 3 minutes in. Many of my competitors stayed close to the inside of the river, but I stayed in the deepest channel I knew about and found myself right at the front of the pack in top 5 position by about half way through. The swim felt quick, especially since only 3 weeks prior I’d swam 3800m in 1 hour, after a thankfully uneventful hard effort I was happy to exit the water in 4th place overall.
The Bike – 25 miles, 1:11:52 (20.87 mph)
After a 2 minute transition (what the heck am I doing for 2 minutes?!?!?!) I was on the bike. After a short climb up Columbia, racers are on Century Dr. for a tough and very honest 25 mile out and back ride. I focused on heart rate over power, and aimed to stay in the 162-168bpm range. I got passed by 3 guys on the way up, but was able to catch one right before the 12.5 mile turn around.
Once you make the turn-around, it’s all about holding a fast, aerodynamic position on the bike and descending as fast as you possibly can! I enjoyed the descent, but did say my mantra (“I’m married and I love my wife”) out-loud a few times; I took the corners carefully but made up about 30 seconds on the guys that were ahead of me. I saw my wife and brother as I closed in on transition and was stoked with a PR on this bike course of almost 3.5 minutes, a huge testament that the hard-work on the bike is paying off.
The Run – 6.2 miles, 41:07 (6:36/mi)
After a very quick transition (:52) I was off on the run. At this point I was in 8th place and within about 1 minute of 5th. Normally, the run is my absolute strength but I knew that being 3 weeks post Ironman my legs might not have their normal leg speed. My first mile clicked off in 6:27, and I found myself holding 6:30-6:40/mi the entire race which consisted of some technical trail running and a few short climbs with one, gut-buster from mile 4.5-5.
Endurance wise, I felt the best I ever have – as I don’t normally hold an even pace in an Olympic. I made one strong pass around mile 3, and ended up holding this position, closing the gap but not quite catching 6th. I crossed the finish line in 2:09:58 which was right where I hoped I’d be as my goal was 2:10. This was a big PR of almost 3 minutes for me and I was so pumped to finish with the elite guys, as this was the fastest field I’ve heard of for this race. Thanks to 10 Barrel for all of the support, Hammer Nutrition for the nutrition which was so key, and to Wattie Ink for the most comfortable kit I’ve ever raced in. Huge shout-out to Jonah Belk who finished in just over 2 hours – he is fast, humble, and has a very bright future ahead of him in this sport.
I’ll spend the next few weeks sharpening up, focusing on speed while maintaining some endurance by incorporating long runs and rides on the weekends. I plan to race a local sprint duathlon in August to test out the legs, I’ll race Hood-to-Coast and the final test for the season will be the Aluminum Man Olympic, where I will be racing for the win.
Thanks for reading and happy training/racing!