As I mentioned before, I started working with coach, Kurt Perham of PBM Coaching this year and have been enjoying a slow, gradual build in fitness throughout the spring. Two weeks before Monterrey 70.3 I raced a wet, windy, hilly Moe's Better Half marathon as a tune up race and was pleased to walk away with the win and a time of 1:15:40 (Strava says I went faster). The problem with this half was that it left me sore and crippled for a solid week.
I had done very, very little intensity going into this race and running downhill at ~5:20 pace for a few of the mile splits completely destroyed my quads. I spent the next week hobbling around like I'd done an Ironman and my legs tightened up every time I tried to run. Fortunately, time heals all wounds and a massage from Dale Londos the week of Monterrey finally loosed up my legs.
I waited until the last minute to arrange some of my travel plans and booking a hotel the week of the race had me a little worried about what kind of accommodations I would be stuck with. I was a little worried that my hotel room might look something like this-
I flew in Thursday night which gave me an extra day to splurge on Mexican pastries and ice cream before the Sunday race. It was raining off and on all week in Monterrey and so my first move was naturally to take my bike, freshly tuned up and cleaned by Jason, over at Ride Away Bicycles, and spin around on the dirty streets of Monterrey to cover it with a thick coat of grit and grime. #dirtyfast
Friday evening saw the arrival of the main contingent of San Antonio contingent of athletes. I joined up with them for a nice dinner and a brief run-in with the law.
Saturday morning came and after more pointing, gesturing and some acting I was able to secure a coffee, pastry and some fruit before heading over to the swim practice. The water felt great even if my body didn't but I put that out of my head as I couldn't control how I felt at this point.
The pro meeting was at 9:30 and the great "Disc Wheel Controversy of Monterrey 2015" was a hot button topic of debate. Before every 70.3 a pro newsletter is sent out with some schedule details of the race and other important information. The format of these newsletters is always the same and the main pertinent information I look for is the time and location of the pro meeting. As a professional it is absolutely my responsibility to thoroughly read the newsletter and be aware of any important information. I failed to do so until I had already arrived in Monterrey on Friday and consequently showed up with only a disc wheel to race with. The newsletter stated that disc wheels would be banned at this race and the reason for this rule was supposedly because of the chance of high winds on the course. Those winds failed to materialize and so they changed the rule to allow disc wheels. The problem was that many pro's had flown from oversees and left their disc wheel because of the instructions in the email. The controversy arose when the original decision to ban discs was reversed. The pro's who hadn't brought a disc protested because racing a disc wheel is a clear advantage, and I don't blame them as I would have done the same. Ultimately the officials made the right call and let the age groupers use discs while pro's were not allowed to. This did leave me in a bit of a bind but I was able to secure another rear wheel to use thanks to my friend and teammate, Carlos Torres. Overall the situation was pretty messy and I think Ironman could have done a better job clarifying things in their newsletter. There were about 8 other pro's that were in the same boat as me. I take full responsibility for my lack of attention to detail but I also think that there should have been a little bit more emphasis in the newsletter about the no disc rule. This is the first race I have EVER done where disc's were not allowed. Obviously they're not allowed in Kona but that's common knowledge and has been a rule for many years.
Drama over it was time to check the bike in, relax and prepare for the next day.
Walking from my hotel to transition on Sunday morning I was glad to see that the roads were drying up and looked pretty safe to ride on. There is a section of the bike course as you bike into town and past the transition area that's roughly 1.5 mile long and is on cobblestones. It's a two lap course and so you go through this section twice. I was worried about the cobbles if it started raining as I knew they would be very, very slick.
|If you're not riding a cobb saddle than you aren't really riding|
A quick check in and no problems thanks to the armed security guards at transition entrance. I had brought a pair of throw away running shoes and so jogged the 1.2 miles to the swim start in those, did some drills and a few strides and got in my wetsuit.
The swim at Monterrey 70.3 is incredibly unique and beautiful. It's point-to-point down a riverwalk/canal that meanders through the downtown area. The water is never deeper than 4-5 feet and you are forced to concentrate as you dodge various statues and sculpture pieces. It's a great open water experience for someone that is nervous about the swim as you can simply stand up if you get in trouble.
I got out well and was on Jordan Rapp's feet up until about 400m. He towed me up to the second pack and then I came unhitched and just missed the group. I swam solo the rest of the way with one other guy about 10-15m ahead that I never could quite catch. A quick T1 and onto the bike.
The cobbles weren't a problem if you didn't mind getting your teeth rattled a bit and I didn't lose any water bottles this year. #winning I settled into a strong pace and worked to bridge up to another guy a little up the road. The plan was to ride the first 10 miles as I needed to to try and get in a group and then settle into my goal power range of 240-250. My back of course started tightening up and I did my best to work through it. Finishing lap 1 and hitting the cobblestones they were still dry so no problems. I was riding my target power which was good but Lauren Brandon, caught me (bad). Being at the back of the men's field and front of the women's field my worse fear is that I mess with their race and give them problems. Lap 2 was a struggle as we were now passing age groupers on their first lap, any of whom I think were European as they enjoyed riding on the left side of the road. It also started raining which added another dynamic.
The eventual women's winner, Magali Tisseyre, caught me around mile 45 and she looked very strong, very fast and very scary. I let her go and just focused on staying strong (and aero) the last 10 miles. Coming into T2 is where things got interesting. The cobblestones were now wet and... well, you can see what I saw as I popped over the hill to go under the bridge:
Heading out onto the run I felt really, really good. I passed one guy right away then settled into a rhythm and just focused on being patient and drinking lots of pepsi. The rain made the pavement pretty slick but it also kept the temperature cool so overheating wasn't an issue. Starting lap 2 I decided to push a bit as I was still feeling good and saw that I was gaining on another pro. I caught him about mile 10.5 and threw in a little surge to crush his soul. For the last mile I went ahead and climbed aboard the struggle bus and just tried to keep things together and get across the finish line
I pr'd my swim, bike and run in Monterrey and dropped 4min off my 70.3 pr. On top of that I was 14 minutes faster than I went last year on the same course and felt better than I ever have finishing a 70.3. I had a great race but I still got chick'd. Here's to next time and hoping I can bike #likeagirl.
Thanks to Revolution Race Team, The Cobb Mobb and of course Kurt Perham for the guidance and support. Next up is NOLA 70.3.