"The Training Diaries" is a monthly series of posts by Lindsey Jerdonek, a DC Tri Club member, and third-year professional triathlete. In January 2012 Lindsey quit her day job and made the move to racing as a full-time pro triathlete. You can follow Lindsey's Blog where she documents this new endeavor or follow her on twitter.
The San Diego World Triathlon Series
Earlier this month I competed in the San Diego World Triathlon Series (WTS) race. The second stop on the WTS circuit, the race also served as the second US Olympic trials race (the first being the London Olympics test event last August). WTS racing is the highest level of draft-legal racing and this was my first time racing at such a level. And how did it go? It’s fair to say that I received an ass-whooping.
I was 33rd on the wait list when the initial start list was posted a month before the race and did not think I would get the chance to race at first. A WTS event is limited to 70 athletes per gender with a maximum of 6 athletes per country, although the host country is allotted more start positions, meaning I could get in. Surprisingly, enough athletes dropped from the start list that I earned a start. It made sense for me to race from a development standpoint, even though I’m not yet on WTS level.
The Race: Before the race starts, athletes are announced by ranking and pick a spot on the blue mat. There are slim pickings when you’re one of the highest numbers!
With the blast of the horn, we were off. I am the butt without a name on it:
The 1500m swim was broken into two 750m swim laps. I came out in 35th position on lap one, smack dab in the middle of a huge pack - so far so good! See, lots of home girls:
On the second lap I was overwhelmed with the roughness in the water, and despite my coach’s warnings of how violent these swims are, I found myself dropping farther back as the second lap went on. Also, my endurance is a work in progress. Exiting the water I dangled off the back of the pack and lost ground running through the sand to transition. My transition was one of the slowest and those are crucial seconds you can’t give up in this kind of life-or-death racing. Here I trailed a Canadian out of T1:
I did not join up with the pack immediately in front of me, even though they were SO CLOSE. This left me with a lonely 40k ride. I thought it was funny to have had pre-race worries about riding in a large pack and here I was, riding solo:
I always had the foot on the gas, but when I saw girls behind me being lapped out by the lead pack, my motivation surged to new levels. I set a goal of not getting lapped out! I rode as hard as I could in the closing laps. It was great to hear “Go Lindsey” around the bike course from the DC Tri Clubbers who were out there to race themselves. IT REALLY HELPED ME. Thank you.
I finally reached T2 as the last athlete to not get lapped out and was surprised at the continued crowd support. Chants of "USA!" followed me as I ran out of transition even though I was in last place. Not long into the run I called it a day. Having run out of fluids during the bike, I was dehydrated and decided not to do more damage with the Columbia Triathlon the following weekend. With the disappointment, I cried and hid for a while after handing in my timing chip.
My race did not go as I expected, but the experience was invaluable. Now I know the level required to be at WTS level. I also learned that you have to be spot-on with all of the "little things" in order to have a successful race at the WTS level - swim positioning, transitions, pack riding, etc. This will take more practice in race situations.
Laura Bennett punched her ticket to London with her third place finish, joining Sarah Groff and Gwen Jorgensen—both qualified at the first event last year. I walked away with more experience (my spin on DNF) and look forward to the build to 2016.