I was a little concerned about racing so many weekends in a row since I’ve been doing cross country running along with triathlon this fall, but since I took the early lead in the WCCTC a couple of weeks ago and the swim at Aggieathlon was short, I decided I had to keep getting points for myself and the team early in the season while they were easy to come by. I didn’t have any good races last season due to fluke circumstances, so I am trying to race as much as I can in my last year at school to help forget about last season. The air temp at UC-Davis was pretty chilly with the start in the 40s, so I knew I could give a solid effort without any concern of overheating. The pool swim went as expected with me being one of the slowest swimmers in the field, but fortunately the bike course was perfect for me. About 1/3 of the course was on rough roads, and there were a bunch of tight turns, so it definitely favored me as someone who has been bike racing for a couple of years.
I managed to get the 6th fastest bike split while saving up plenty of energy for the run, so everything seemed to be going great until I realized I forgot to take my feet out of my cycling shoes at the end of the bike leg. Since I was having a good race, I decided to just unclip and run full speed into T2 wearing my cycling shoes. I got a lot of strange looks, but made it without slipping. Once I regained my composure from this mistake, I decided to put it behind me and just think about having a solid run leg.
As I started to run, I realized my legs had become frozen due to the continuing cold temps. Every stride felt like I was just jamming my feet into the ground since I have no flexibility in my legs, but I knew I had a good place in the race and had to just keep going and ignore the awkward striding. It never got comfortable since my legs didn’t thaw out, but I went just fast enough to secure 13th place out of 77, so I had no regrets on how I handled the race.
I had a bit of good luck in that 2 of my competitors lost track of their lap counts, which is a critical mistake in WCCTC races. One of the fastest guys went one lap short on the 3 lap run and was disqualified, and another guy that would have finished near my time took an extra lap on the run to drop himself out of contention. I made this mistake last year at UCLA, and the lesson learned is to make sure to pay close attention to lap counts and do a good course preview, especially near transition areas and the finish line. Even though none of my races this season have gone perfectly, I am pretty happy to have 3 solid results out of 3 races and can hopefully keep on improving as the season goes on.