I came to London excited to race. But, I may have been even more excited for the dinner one of my sponsors, Mark Holowesko, planned for Patrick and me. Patrick and I met Mark for the first time last year at a race Mark hosted in the Bahamas. We quickly learned that the Holowesko family loves good food and wine, so when Mark asked if we wanted to have dinner on him, we knew we would be in for a treat! On the Thursday night before the race, Patrick and I were greeted by Mark’s friend, Paulo De Tarso with champagne at Bar Boulud. As the night progressed, our taste buds jumped with excitement and our stomachs grew beyond full. Patrick enjoyed fine wine, while I had to stop our head sommelier, Oliver Brandenburg, from filling my glass because I knew I had a big race in two days. Bar Boulud is known for their wines, and every night they have a different gigantic house wine. On Thursday, the wine bottle was 18 liters! We may not have had any wine from the 18 liter bottle, but we did thoroughly enjoy watching the waiters try to pour from the enormous bottle. This was my fourth time to London, and by far the best meal I’ve had in London (if you go to London, you must try the BB burger at Bar Boulud – it is simply out of this world!). Patrick and I left the restaurant feeling fortunate for the many opportunities triathlon brings. This was one night we will never forget.
Fast forward two days, and I was standing on the start line ready for the first sprint distance WTS of the season (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run). Sprint distances are hard and fast. It is imperative to remain focused. There is no time for mistakes.
When the gun sounded, I dove into the water knowing I needed to have a good start. After about 50m, I noticed someone (Oliveira) starting to form a gap on me. I put in a surge to get on her feet. I was struggling to stay in her draft, but I remained focused. As we rounded the first buoy, I knew I was in good position and needed to continue to fight. The entire swim I struggled to stay near the front, concentrating on my swim technique and stroke rate. From the fast paced swim, I knew the rest of the race was going to be speedy!
I exited the water in fifth, and ran to my bike with intent. I was disappointed in my transition as I lost a few places, but I was able to stay in the front pack of 11 on the bike. As our front group started to form, girls were working hard, but it didn’t seem very organized. I tried to help as much as I could, but I wasn’t able to do as much work as I had wanted. My body was suffering but I pushed on, knowing the chase packs had us in their sights. I was happy and thankful to the girls in our group who were working on the bike. We entered T2 with a gap on the rest of the field, which was a great setup for the run. What was even better was having three Americans in that front swim/bike pack! USA is competitive and ready for the ITU world!
I dismounted my Specialized Amira and put on my Noosa Fast shoes to start the 5km run. I still did not feel great, but knew I had to continue to focus on the process and push the run. We had solid runners in our pack, and more were coming from the chase packs. I ignored all signals from my mind that my body wanted to stop and sit on the side of the road. Instead, I pushed on, looking for the finish tape. I was beyond thrilled to break the tape and see fellow compatriot Sarah Groff come across second. It was a great day for team USA!
Thank you to my family, friends, supporters, sponsors, Jamie, ‘Gong Wizards, Patrick, fans, and Heather. Your continued support means the world to me. I hope you were able to celebrate as I couldn’t have won without you. I want to give a special shout out to Amelia for keeping my body in order, Mark for the fabulous dinner, Gavin for the Special(ized) cheers, Rob for express shipping the ROKA suits to London, Jamie for his patience and time, USAT for their support, and of course Patrick for looking after me so well. I am truly blessed.
The past few weeks have included a lot of travel and racing, which means I haven’t done a ton of training (instead, it’s been more maintenance work). I am back in Vitoria, ready and excited for a solid block of training before heading to Chicago for the next WTS stop. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see my family and friends in Chicago – lots of hugs and kisses will be waiting!
Race Results can be found here: http://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2014_itu_world_triathlon_london/264326