Race Report - Bronze Medal ITU Worlds September 2010

If you missed the excitement on TV, here is the report direct from Stephanie Kieffer on the races. Race Report from Worlds:

Stephanie Kieffer

It is 4am and I am wide-awake so might as forward to George my race report. A few notes from before the race.  The pool complex there is awesome - two 50m outdoor pools, 2 water polo pools, a dive tank, water slides, and an indoor pool.  The bike paths not so awesome, they are really just wide sidewalks.   Loved the food (except at the closing ceremony).  It was great fun being there with Robert, Clarke, Alli and Dave (and Suzanne…but she is always there).

The race report needs to start with Saturday, rain, rain and more rain.   Suzanne and I know this as we watch the Sprint triathlon and the U23 women in the rain.   It was great to see Robert and Alli race.  If you have not heard Alli likely did her run on a broken toe.  The cold and damp go to be too much and we opted to watch the men’s elite race on the computer and slept through the bike part.  Although the rain slowed in the afternoon, transition was still a mud bath when we went to check the bikes in.

Race morning arrives and our cab is waiting for us.  I have to pause.  We rented an apartment that was on the 2nd floor but we have 5 flights of stairs to walk up and down.  They have ½ floors.

Weather was perfect, hint of warmth and cloudy and then clearing.  The roads were almost dry.  I had opted not to go into the water earlier in the week as it did not look nice and the swim seemed pretty straightforward.  It was an “M” shape, no current, and large white marker buoys with no other white things (like boats in Australia) in the background to challenge sighting.  No chance for a swim warm-up.

I had a new experience on the swim.  I had a great start, no panic and no need to sprint off the pontoon so I was able to build to pace over 100m.   There was one woman keeping pace with me and I noticed her swim over to my feet and there she stayed.  I could not drop her.  I had the odd tickle of my feet.  The last 400m I even picked it up and still could not lose her.  I pulled us in at 19:02 (you are welcome).  It was a short swim but it was likely a sub 20 minutes pace which is pretty cool.  I was passed going into transition and relieved to see that it was not the GBR athlete that I had expected.  There is a new wetsuit in my future as I tore the back of the neck and it is pain to get a good enough grip to undo the Velcro.

About 3km into the bike I flew by the woman that passed me and foolishly thought that would be the last I saw of her.  Bike was pretty uneventful, flat, fast and I was taking the turns quicker than those around me.  Looking at my time, I think I should have been able to pull off a little quicker bike.  It was a great course and part of me wanted to do one extra loop.  I only found myself in a middle of a pack once but it was less than 2km from transition so I eased up and gave the legs a bit of a break.  Back into transition and still in 1st place.  Opted to run bare foot through transition and put my shoes on when I was off the mud.  Unfortunately, I broke my quick laces as I was putting my shoes on and wasted time tying the lace.  Took off on the run and felt pretty good.  At 1km I realized that the woman who was on my feet in the swim was back again. We ran shoulder to shoulder until about 3.5km.  At one point I even picked up the pace and started to pull away.  At 3.5km energy drained from my legs and she started to pull away.  The woman in third place passed me 1 km later.  She actually flew by but then slowed but not as slow as I was going.   I had hoped that more competition on the run would bring out a faster run time in me but that was not to be.

One good thing is that both women just entered the age group so I have 4 more years until the rematch.  Suzanne can “play” with them for the next few years.  Sadly she did not have the race she had hoped as her achilles failed at 5km.  She opted to keep going and hung on to 4th.

At the closing ceremony I had an interesting chat with the 2nd place woman’s coach.  I never realized the target on my back was so big.  He knew exactly how we would compare against each other in each discipline.  In fact, I think I was integral to her race plan.

My legs are feeling good and injury free so I think it is time to really focus on that run.  Yes Alan, I will take a little time off but maybe not 2 weeks.   While my mind is not made up yet, I am leaning to going to Beijing to re-claim a title.