Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pro Eric Limkemann Checks In

Augusta 70.3/Los Angeles Triathlon Race Reports

Last weekend I was down south at the inaugural Augusta 70.3 race. I added this race at the last minute after qualifying for World Championships at Lake Stevens last month. I was excited not only to be racing the distance again, but also to compete against a very strong field looking to secure the last few spots for Worlds in November. I drove down Friday with Ashley and spent the night in Blairsville with Jim and Claudia at their amazing lake house. It would have been much easier to stay all weekend, but we packed up and drove the rest of the way Saturday and I got ready to race.

Sunday morning, I was happy to hear that it would be a non-wetsuit swim since I’ve been swimming fast, but unfortunately we would be swimming downstream with a very strong current. I lead for about half of the swim then tucked in behind Brian Fleishman for the rest. We came out of the water in under 20 minutes thanks to the current and I came out of transition in the lead and feeling great! My first few miles on the bike felt a bit sluggish and it went downhill from there. I struggled through the bike with a woeful 2:24 bike split and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull off a strong run that I’ve been working on for so long. Luckily, my legs came around and I was able to run a respectable 1:17 split to finish in 17th place with a 4:04. This is my fastest time to date, but the swim current may have helped a bit! The bike split needs to come down a lot over the next month or so if I’m going to be competitive in Clearwater!

After the race, we drove back to Blairsville and had a great time recovering and relaxing on the lake. My down time didn’t last too long though as I packed up the bike and headed out to LA first thing Friday morning…

I arrived in Los Angeles Friday morning and met up with my host for the weekend, Roger Nurnberger. Still a bit fatigued from the previous weekend, I went for a quick swim and bike on the beach to loosen up and get used to the California surf. I was in bed nice and early thanks to the three hour time change. Saturday was a great day of race prep and relaxation capped off a picture perfect pre-race meal and early bed.

Race day came and I was treated to yet another non-wetsuit swim. This week, instead of a current, I was treated to man-eating waves! Given my poor showings in rough water, I was a bit nervous, but managed to have a good swim and come out of the water in the lead pack! (Slowtwitch had a picture of me citing me as first out of the water, but my split time doesn’t have it that way… I definitely wasn’t first to the timing mat at the entrance to transition!). I jumped on the bike with about a pound of sand in my suit and took off on the bike. I felt better this time on the bike, but still had a less than stellar split time to put me 14th and exhausted heading into the run.

Fortunately, my running has been consistent lately and I was able to hold 5:42 miles which are my goal for the half marathon down in Clearwater. I have no top end speed coming off the bike, I was passed my Simon Thompson and another racer to end up 16th. Definitely not the result I was looking for, but I know what I need to do between now and November.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my racing over the last two weeks. Thank you to Jim, Claudia, Roger, and Diane for sharing their wonderful homes with me. Also thank you to Brendon of Utopian Coffee for coming out and supporting me in LA. As always, thank you to my sponsors who make it possible for me to race: Newton Running, Kiwami Triathlon, BlueSeventy Wetsuits, ISM Saddles, HED Wheels, Veritas Bikes, and Great Clips Salons. I’m back to training in preparation for 70.3 world championships and getting very well acquainted with my bike trainer. The website will be updated shortly. Until next time, enjoy the warm weather while it lasts!

Eric Limkemann

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