From Vineman 70.3 it was back to Boulder for another 4 week training block, feeling more comfortable at altitude I was able to explore more (venturing up to 4000m), nail the harder session and get some solid back to back weeks of training. However, my time in Boulder had to come to an end, it was unreal and really looking forward to heading back there in the future. To finish off my racing in the US I headed to New Hampshire to race Timberman 70.3, with World Champs coming up and some other racing on I was thinking it may have been a quite field but little did I know guys use this for Kona prep and the pro start list was stacked, 46 deep and some huge names in the sport. The course was challenging and I had plenty of confidence coming off a few solid weeks in Boulder so I was keen as to hit the start line.
I flew out of Denver on Friday and headed for Boston, after a slightly delayed flight and losing a couple of hours due to time difference, I didn't get to the hotel until 23:30 but was out as soon as I hit the bed. Headed to athlete village on Saturday morning for briefing and check-in before doing my usual pre-race training at race site. The location was awesome, plenty of green everywhere and the lake was crystal clear. The swim was a point to point course, bike was out and back over a very undulating route, also throwing in a couple of short,sharp hills and the run was 2 laps also undulating and a little bit longer than a accurate half.
Race start was at 0700 Sunday morning and being the first time having the single transition over here, I had plenty of time in the morning to setup and relax.
Race morning had perfect conditions, couldn't ask for better, maybe a little less humid... I was a bit shattered when I racked my bike and went to turn the Garmin on and nothing, dead flat, no power. Realized there was nothing I could do and got on with the morning. Probably the biggest Pro field I had lined up with so far, I was positioned furthest right, inside line and as expected the majority of the guys were there also, ready to go in knee deep water. We were off and straight into porpoise, I got about 5 dives before I was swimming at the front, equal with about 5 other guys. The pace was fast and it stretched out pretty quickly, I missed being overtaken on my blindside and a gap of 20m was created between myself, Dye, O'Donnell and Potts. Dye attempted to bridge O'Donnell came around me at the half way point and I decided to stick on his feet as Potts was just behind me and I knew these guys could ride.
NZL was out first with a 30sec gap and Dye with 10sec on our group of 3. Super quick transition and I could see both the riders up ahead, Dye was getting away fast and I was on the rivet trying to keep O'Donnell in my sights and Potts was behind me. We caught the lead swimmer within the first mile or so but that was the last we saw of Dye. Once I hit the hard climb I was able to start doing some work and passed O'Donnell, the hilly courses have suited me and this was no different. I rode hard with the guys trying not to lose much time on Dye, he had put 3mins into us by the half way point. We had the motorbike with our pack several times and no dramas, a couple of times I got stuck at the back where it would compress at the base of a climb and I had to go hard and pass all the guys to avoid getting penalized. Definitely burnt some matches doing this but far better than being in the box for 4mins. We were able to maintain the 3min gap on the way back coming into transition with Potts and O'Donnell. Thanks to the guys at Colorado Multisport for the loan of the Zipp Disc again, awesome shop to deal with, very helpful.
Those guys nailed their transition and were out on the run together, I was a bit off and hurting. Trying to remain composed but still run solid was tough, the first mile was all uphill. Going through each aid station all they were handing off was water or Gatorade and I desperately need coke or a gel. I hit the turn around feeling slightly better and grabbed a gel soon after, although cherry-lime didn't sit too well and finally grabbed a coke just after mile 4. I didn't get any faster and was passed by Wurtel, Griffin and Reed on lap 2 but my pace remained pretty consistent to come across the line in 7th position with a time of 3:58
Stoked with my result at Timberman against a very strong field, awesome experience to race alongside these guys. Good way to top off my very successful season in the US, I spent a few days exploring New York but am now writing this back home in Australia. I have one last race at Sunshine Coast 70.3 before I will have a couple of weeks off and start preparing for the 2015/16 Australian season ahead