Thursday, September 5, 2013

The 2013 Grande Finale: Last Kick at the Can…..

After a mechanical-problem riddled race at the inaugural Challenge Penticton (you can read ALL about what went down HERE,) I had to decide what the last race of the season was going to be. It was a tough decision, and after lengthy discussions with Coach Björn, we had it narrowed down to two races:

- Austin 70.3 Texas, which was the originally planned finale of the 2013 triathlon season (October 27th);

- Ironman Arizona, which is a bloody fast and competitive race, but would give me the chance to flex my iron-distance-trained legs (November 17th.)

Austin 70.3 was my last ever 70.3 race as an age-grouper, the defining race in my career where I realized I could race in the pro field. The course reflects my strengths, with a hilly and rough ride and run course. The weather is GENERALLY (because as we all know, NOTHING is a guarantee,) warmer and drier, which also plays to my strengths (give me a veritable sauna to race in and I'm on cloud 9.)

IM Arizona would be a first for me: with a flat, fast course, bland temperatures (cool at race start up to only the mid 20's, and DRY,) and a large competitive field, it would be a great chance to use my created fitness and test myself against a phenomenal field.

Some of the big questions we had to answer:
- can I go longer right now, or can I go faster over a shorter distance?
- Do I want to race on a more ideal course for my strengths, or one that lends to the bike work-horses?
- Do I want to finish my season in late October, or push it through to later November (remembering that I started my season March 3rd with Abu Dhabi International Triathlon)?
- Do I really feel like 5-6hr rides on the indoor trainer through late october/early november?
- Do I need to PROVE to myself or anyone else that I CAN do an iron distance race? (Although I did complete my first last year in Penticton at Ironman Canada 2012.)

The biggest question being, as I am racing as a pro:

- Which race do I think I can perform the highest at (regarding placing)?

Taking these things into consideration, as well as the fact that my good friend and teammate Rachel McBride was also going back to defend her title, Björn and I made the final decision:

Austin 70.3 Texas

I'm happy to be going back, it's a fun place to race, and the BBQ scene in Texas most certainly makes for a gastronomically exciting experience for the beginning of the off-season! I will also get to race alongside fellow Lower-Mainlander Anthony Toth, and my Arizona-based buddy Jesse Vondracek (who was so kind as to host me during my Tuscon training camp in April this year.)

I'm excited, I'm feeling healthier than I have in a long time, I'm feeling very strong, my run legs are FINALLY coming back, and I know this will be a great experience. After all the things that went wrong at Challenge Penticton, I'll be mentally hungry for a good race.

I believe everything happens for a reason; perhaps the mechanical troubles in Penticton happened so I could come to Austin with new ambition and a spring in my step?

Guess we'll find out soon eh?

Happy training everyone! For all those people done their race season, enjoy some downtime and enjoy life!

Nathan

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