I love the Desert Triathlon as an early season fitness test.  It always has a challenging field of talented athletes, a good crop of local friends, a low key atmosphere, and a course that really helps you guage where you are in your training and what you need to work on in the upcoming months.

Racing  Hard!  Thanks to Tyler Olson for this picture.

Racing Hard! Thanks to Tyler Olson for this picture.


Coming into the race I had not raced a triathlon since my explosion at Ironman Arizona last November.  As in the Surf City Marathon last month, I was not sure what to expect.  I knew my fitness was coming along, but who knew how I would respond in the triathlon race situation??????

I have been consistent in my sport specific load/base/strength training.  Hill repeats on the bike and run, and countless hours in the pool geting my body ready for the “beat down” it will take in the upcoming season.  I am trying to train myself to not only be able to go hard minute after minute in a race environment but I am also trying to gradually train it to go hard day after day with quick recovery.  This takes a lot of trial and failure.  Coming into the Desert Triathon I had trained 24 total hours in the previous 6 days with no real rest or recovery.

As in my Surf City race, I really wanted to focus on a few aspects of my racing at the Desert Tri.  So when I get to my “bigger” races I am more preppared and aware of what to expect from my performance and my body.  At this race I wanted to focus on pushing hard the entire course of the swim while trying to maintain proper posture and really enlongating myself to create the least amount of resistance against the water.  On the bike I wanted to focus on my watts and try to keep the watts around my threshold number which is 315w.  On the run I wanted to see how I felt coming off a 40K threshold effort and how long it took to get my legs back under me.

Here are my findings.  In the swim I pushed hard the whole way.  The group left me immediatly but I remaind positive and stuck to my focus.  I tried to focus on my posture which I felt I did.  I was swimming to the right a bit which is the side I breathe to, so I know I must work on my right side hand entry.  I came out of the water in 18:37.  Pretty far back from the leaders, but I felt great as I ran through transition.  No fatigue and I had pushed my limit the entire swim.

On the bike I wasted no time geting after it.  I didn’t need the time I usually need to settle down and get my legs back.  I found my 320-330w number I was expecting to hold and I held it.  At my current 170lbs. that equates to around 4.2 watts/kg.  My average for the whole ride was 319w and 26m.p.h. which included the turns where I had to come to a very slow pedal becasue of the debris in the road due to the stormy week leading into the race.  I had never consistetly held an effort this high for this extended period of time.  I felt great and I felt as if I was getting stronger as the ride went on.  I think I am going in the right direction in regards to my bike performance.  I have a long way to go to compete with the best in the sport but it was a step in the right direction.  My bike split was 56:59.

I quickly threw on my GoSpeed 2’s in transition and sped out onto the run course.  I felt loose and ready to attack.  I passed a few guys on the first loop including my buddy Max Biessman and my good friend and Skechers/Champion-System/Cynergy Cycles/Tower 26/Clown College Teammate Reilly Smith who both let me know how many and how far up the leaders were.  I had moved into third with 1 loop to go.  I was hauling.  I pushed and pushed and pushed.  I could see the second place guy half way around the lake.  I didn’t think I could catch him but I was there to test my fitness and see what I could do so I pushed some more.  My legs were light and I was focused.  At the last turn of the second loop I saw the 2nd place guy.  He was 50 meters ahead of me and the 1st place guy was 50 meters ahead of him.  I was rolling but the problem was they both saw me.  They picked it up as well.  We sprinted into the finish within seconds of each other.  I had finished in 3rd place, happy with my effort.  My run split was 29:44 which comes out to 4:56/mi(It was 6 miles, not 6.2).

Later, while packing up in transition, the 2nd Place finisher came up to me and told me he had unintentionally cut the run course and he had already told the race officials about it.  What a class act!  It was a fun race and I had enjoyed racing hard with these fellas.  It was too bad he was DQ’d because of a course error.  He was leaving it all out there as well.  So because of this I had now offiicially finished in 2nd place.  Like I said, we were within seconds of each other, so the shorter route he took did come into play.

It was fun racing amongst so many friends and athletes.  We had a great contingent of Red Performance Multisport atheltes out leaving it all on the course which made me extremely proud.  Thanks to everyone out there for the on-course motivation and words of encouragement.  Also thanks to Skechers for some FAST GoSpeed 2’s, Profile Design for getting me a set of 78/Twenty Four series Carbon Clicher Wheels(All I can say is WOW!), Powerbar for the energy to keep me going all race long, Champion System for my good looking kit and for the official kits of Red Performance Multisport, Cynergy Cycles for taking such great care of me and my ride, Tower 26 for pushing my limits, and to Trifit LA for allowing me to spill gallons of sweat with gallons more to come in the near future, and a special thanks to Megan for helping keep me stress-free going into the race.

Looking forward to racing Ironman Cabo in a few weeks.  For more a more “hands-on” race report listen to my podcast “Jim and the Other Guy.”  RACE HARD!

My Skechers ?Cynergy/Champion System Teammates/Podium Mates Reilly Smith and Carly Johann

My Skechers/Cynergy/Champion System Teammates/Podium Mates Reilly Smith and Carly Johann




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