Clermont Sprint Nationals

Clermont Sprint National Championships / ITU Pan American Cup

I kicked off my race season this past weekend with the Clermont ITU Continental Cup.  Although this race was a sprint, all athletes were able to score ITU Continental Cup points.  The weather was perfect for racing, not too hot and not too cold (not intentionally trying to sound like Goldilocks!).  The women started at 11:45 AM in Lake Louisa State Park followed by the men at 1:30PM and raced a 1 lap swim, 4 lap bike, 2 lap run (750m/20k/5k).

Many athletes were commenting that the race consisted of a “run, swim, run, bike, run”!.  Since the water in Florida lakes have been low the past few years, the beach start run was extended 200 meters, with running and dolphin diving before the swimming began.  Although the swim took just over 8 minutes to complete; at least 2 minutes of the “swim” was running and  only six minutes of swimming!  Once the gun went off, I started out in good position; however, a stumble 100 meters in cost me a few precious spots.  I conciously thought about keeping my heart rate low during the swim because I knew I had a longer trainsition run approaching.  I worked my way up to the front during the swimming portion and exited about ten seconds behind  Sara McLarty with a group of four other women.  I was glad to have my TYR Carbon Race Suit as it was fast in the water, but also very comfortable for all the beach running!

I was pleased with my first transition, not too rusty considering it has been nearly six months since I have raced!  Out on the bike I got into my shoes quickly and a pack of five started working together immediately.  It has been awhile since I have had on my race wheels, and immediately I could tell the difference in my Zipp Zedtech 404’s We had a large group only 10 seconds behind us, so we had to get organized quickly.  Out on the bike on my Fuji SL 1 RC,  I felt strong and pleased with my fitness thus far.  At the 2k mark on the bike, we had 25 seconds on the group and at the end of the bike, we extended the lead to 45 seconds.  Here is my bike file  With the race being so short, my nutrition for the race was 12 ounces of lemon lime First Endurance EFS drink!

I wanted to make sure to practice getting off the bike in front and pulled strong into transition so I could exit first.  I exited T2 in second position and once out on the run I knew I had to push it from the start since it was only a 5k.  As any sprint should be, the run was painful!  I have not completed a lot of speed training in my running training thus far, so I could feel that while out on the course.  I tried to stay with Helen Jenkins, but she pulled away very quickly and was running very strong.  Gwen Jorgensen had an extremly strong run as well, and was closing in on me; however, I was able to hold my second place position.  I had a lot of fun being back 0ut on the race course!  Now my legs feel all the sand running, nothing a good massage can’t cure!

Crossing the line as the first American earned me the title of USAT Sprint National Champion!  I have a lot of work to do this year, but I know where I stand and focused to keep onto the course of consistent hard work.  This race is turning out to be a great season opener and growing with participation.  This was the first sanctioned age group draft legal race, so that was awesome to see the age groupers pace lining, bridging gaps, etc!  I would be interested to see what they had to say about it!

Next up on the calender in the Miami International Triathlon on March 20th.  Good luck to all with your early season races and training!

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