Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Washington DC ITU World Cup Race Report

Here's a race report from our own Olympian Sarah Haskin's. It should be noted that both ISM athletes Sarah Haskins and Andy Potts finished 4th and were the first Americans!

Washington D.C. Race Report---June 21st, 2009: World Championship Series Race #3
This past Sunday, I competed in my second race of the season, which happened to also be my second WCS race. I finished in fourth position, just off the podium spot. The race was almost a duathlon, as race officials decided late afternoon on Saturday that the water quality in the Potomac River was clean enough to hold the event. I am very grateful of all the efforts of the race organizers and volunteers who helped to make this race happen and this race a success. It turned out to be a very nice day, as the temperatures were only in the upper 70s, as it could have been much warmer.
The race began with an unusual start, as the men went off first at 9:10AM and the women began at 11:45AM. The swim was a two-lap (750m. loop) with a pontoon dive start. I had a very good start, as I was first to hit the turn buoy, located 300meters from the start. I led the swim for the duration of the 1500 meters and was able to take home the swim prime. The swim was a little rough, with river currents and the windy day correlated to some chop on the water, but I do enjoy the rough and challenging swims as those types of swims are a strength for me.
Upon entering T1, I lost just a couple seconds as my helmet fell to the ground as I was trying to quickly grab it from my bike. The bike was mostly flat, with one hill (4% grade for 1k) and very technical course. Due to the wind, the bike was very tough. A group of about seven of us quickly made a move on the bike and worked very hard to stay away from the chase group behind us. We only had about 20-30 seconds on the chase group during the first four laps and half-way through the bike section of the course; we were reeled in despite our strong efforts. Towards the end of the bike with 1.5 laps to go, I was able to break away with a teammate of mine, Marybeth Ellis, and enter T2 with a 30 second lead!
It is a great feeling to start the run course with a lead and enter transition with just one other person instead of entering with 15 other people. I started the run with very heavy legs, as the bike was quite taxing. As I progressed over the run, I felt like I held my pace and was quickly caught by Australia’s Emma Moffat, halfway through the run, I was caught by Emma Snowsill and with about 3K to go; I was caught by Swiss, Danielle Riff. As each runner passed me by, I tried to stay with them and accelerate to their pace. I was not able to stick with Danielle’s surge with 2.5 K to go, but finished strong to keep my 4th position. So, far I have a 5th and a 4th, so I seem to be just missing that podium spot, but that is my goal for the next WCS race!
The men and the women performed well on Sunday as we each had four athletes in the top 14! Andy Potts was also fourth and the top US finisher on the men’s side. The race location was absolutely amazing in that we were riding and running down Pennsylvania Ave (directly in front on the Capitol building). After the race, a friend from college was able to give Nate and me a private tour of the White House West Wing. We got to see where our top government officials work daily, including the famous oval office (and I did see the swing set that was recently build just outside the oval office, so he could watch his daughter’s play). A new rule was just issued that no photographs were to be taken inside the west wing or the rose garden (to protect the girl’s privacy if they were to be outside playing). I thank Monte Hawkins for being so generous to spend Sunday evening with us and give us the opportunity of a lifetime! On a final note, we also got to bowl on Harry Truman’s personal bowling alley!
I have just five days until I compete in the Des Moines World Cup. So, it is all about recovery and getting ready for the race! I am headed to Minnesota to visit family and make the fairly short drive down to Iowa on Thursday.
Happy official start to summer!

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