2015 Toronto Pan American Games



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Pan American Games—Toronto, Canada July 11th, 2015

This past Saturday, I competed in my third Pan American Games. My role in this Games was very different from the previous two as I was selected to be domestique for the other two American women racing. This role meant that I was in charge of getting the other girls off the bike in the front pack, whether that meant I had to use more horse power or different tactics during the race.

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I arrived to the village very late Tuesday night (technically early Thursday morning). Due to storms in St. Louis and Toronto, my flight was delayed 90 minutes. Once I was at the airport, I waited for the bus to take me and the entire Columbian Team to the village. Unfortunately, I think we had the first run for this particular bus driver. Instead of an expected 25 to 30 minute drive to the villiage, it took nearly 90 minutes because he got lost! I walked around the village at 1 AM and finally found my room and got to sleep by 2AM!

The village was a really cool experience! It was awesome to see everyone from all the different countries and stay amongst Team USA. The dining hall was as big as a football field. It was open 24 hours a day and was always busy (I noticed this the first night I walked by at 1AM). The support staff from USA Triathlon and USOC was above and beyond for all the Team USA athletes.  We were well taken care of while staying at the village and at the training/racing venues.

 

I had the opportunity to test out the course, train with my other USA teammates; Chelsea Burns and Erin Jones starting several days prior to the race. We had several meetings to discuss possible tactics that would/could occur during the race. Last year, I had the opportunity to domestique for Gwen Jorgensen, but this was my first time domestiquing for two people. This brought upon double the scenarios to prepare for and also made it critical to have the support staff out on the course to let me know what to do and where the other laides were during the race.

©2015 Rich Cruse \ CrusePhoto.com

Race day was a fairly early start for an ITU race; 8:30AM, but normal for the typical non drafting racing I am used to. We had to check in our bikes the day prior to the race and so we had to take a 6AM shuttle to the venue race morning. Race conditions could not have been more perfect, high of 70 degrees, little wind and sunshine. The swim was a two lap, wetsuit swim, six lap bike and four lap run. The swim was calm, the bike was mostly flat with one small technical/hilly section section near transition and the run was mostly flat with one small hill we run up 4x.

CJoi4zVUwAIYofu.jpg-largeI started next to Erin Jones on the pontoon. My goal on the swim was to get out well and stay near the front. This way I am not pushing the swim pace, but near the front so that when I exited transition I could get information about where the other ladies were in the race. I swam in second position most of the entire swim (behind Flora Duffy) and when I got to T1, I did not see anyone behind me. I waited in transition another 45 seconds before getting onto my bike and soft-pedaled down the road for a mile or so. I could see a pack behind me and once the pack merged with me I attacked to see if I could get the other Americans away with me. I realized with such a big pack, I would have to either ride just in front of the pack to make the others do the work, or I would have to pull the entire back up to the four women who were up the road (there were 2 packs of two women up the road). We were just over 90 seconds down half way through the first lap and I asked Andy Schmitz (one of the team leaders) what he wanted me to do. He told me to pull the entire pack up to the front. So, I put my head down and road hard, especially during the flatter time trailing sections of the course (this was about 90 percent of the ride). I would let up during the technical, transition section of the race and some of the other women would pull through this section.

©2015 Rich Cruse \ CrusePhoto.com

After 3 laps, we caught up to the last women in the lead, Flora Duffy. Once we merged, I tried to attack, but was unable to break away solo. At this point, my legs were pretty gased from riding hard most of the ride and it would take a hard attack to get away from the strong cyclists I joined up with on the bike.

©2015 Rich Cruse \ CrusePhoto.com

The last two laps, I tried attacking several more attempts and along with countering a few other attacks through transition.  Once out on the run, I was not expecting to feel great with riding so hard, but surprisingly my legs felt better than expected. The main objective, my job, was to ensure an American could get off the bike in the lead pack with having to do as little of work on the bike as possible. Mission was accomplished and Chelsea Burns had a great run and just missed the podium in fifth position. I finished up in eight overall, but more importantly earned valuable experience as a domestique.

©2015 Rich Cruse \ CrusePhoto.com

Personally, I felt great in all three disciplines of the race. I had an opportunity to represent Team USA and glad to have this experience. Thank you to everyone who put forth so much work in making this possible.

©2015 Rich Cruse \ CrusePhoto.com

©2015 Rich Cruse \ CrusePhoto.com

©2015 Rich Cruse \ CrusePhoto.com

 

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