Monday, August 24, 2009

Eric Limkemann Nationals Race Report

USAT National Championships

You win some, you lose some! This weekend I drove down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for my first triathlon national championship. I’ve never done the race as an amateur or a professional, so I was excited to participate and do another draft-legal race. Thunderstorms dominated the two days leading up to the race and I spent the time relaxing and recovering from a good 70.3 race less than a week ago. Race morning came and I drove to the race course to cheer on the age group athletes competing including Charlie Clark, Dennis Dale, and Beth Shutt. I helped pass out water at an aid station and was inspired by the tremendous athletes that came through that were well into their 60’s! I hope that I’m that healthy in 40 years! After a while, I headed back to the hotel to relax and prepare. After a light lunch, I headed down to transition for the 2:15 start. Due to the heavy rain, they had to open the flood gates in the river and the current was strong. Perfect for a strong swimmer! That is unless you make a bad decision to swim in the middle of the current instead of along the shore where the water is slower… To make a long, painful story short, I felt excellent in the water and came out well back of the leaders and with a pack of much weaker swimmers. Matt Reed and Cameron Dye made the same poor decision and I believe that this cost Matt the win and Cameron a chance of scoring ITU points. I guess we’re all the wiser for next time!
Heading onto the bike, I was in the third chase pack with 3 other guys. My legs were not prepared for the constant accelerations of draft legal racing and I had trouble keeping the pace up the hill each of the 6 laps. I made it into transition with the group, but we were 3-4 minutes behind the leaders and I was cooked! I took off on the run and gave it my all for the first of the 4 lap course. I honestly believe my first miles were slower than my half marathon last weekend. My body threw up the white flag and started to cramp. I knew I was out of the points and losing ground so I put it into cruise control and just worked to cross the finish line. I hate when pros drop out when they aren’t feeling good and I wasn’t about to stop given my experience in the morning watching the age groupers! I finished the race and felt like I had just been run over by a truck!
The race was painful, but I’m hoping it was a good speed workout for this weekend’s race in Chicago. I already feel better and hopefully a more predictable swim along with a steady effort on the bike will lead to a better race! After that, I’ll be focusing the next 11 weeks to preparing for 70.3 world championships. Thanks to everyone for their support and congratulations to everyone who competed this weekend.
Please support the sponsors: Kiwami Triathlon, ISM Saddles, BlueSeventy Wetsuits, Veritas Cycles, Hed Wheels, Newton Running, and Great Clips.

My remaining race schedule:
Sept. 27 Augusta 70.3
Oct. 4 LA Triathlon
Oct. 11 US Open Triathlon
Nov. 14 70.3 World Championships

Eric Limkemann

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