By Brad Culp on 12/05/10 at 9:33 pm
This past Saturday I raced my second Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series race of the year. The race was in Downtown Seoul, South Korea. This was my first time to Seoul, however in 2007 and 2008 I spent a couple of weeks in Cheju, Korea in preparation for the Beijing Olympics. Cheju is known as the Hawaii of Korea as it is a tropical island south of the mainland. Cheju is a beautiful island landscaped with tropical greenery, mountains and bright blue oceans. The look of Seoul is much different than Cheju in that it is a massive city with a population of over ten million people and has an extensive city skyline.
The race took place at the Han River and got underway at 10:25am. The swim was a 1000-metre loop followed by a 500-metre loop in the chilly, 15.2 C degree water. This was my first Series race to wear my new TYR Hurricane wetsuit, which felt smooth and comfortable in the water. I had a great starting position and almost immediately was on the feet of Kerry Lang, who was having a great swim. Once we reached the first buoy, Kerry was on the feet of Hayley Peirsol and I was in third position. By the end of the first lap, we had opened up a 15-second gap and extended the gap to 28 seconds once we exited the water and headed off onto the bike course.
I felt very strong on the bike on my Fuji SL 1 RC and wanted to push the pace to make the girls behind work and chase. I realized that I was going to get caught by the larger pack of women behind me, but I was prepared for an attack once the groups merged. I wanted the bike to be hard and aggressive and with the tight corners in the race, I felt a breakaway was possible. I attacked shortly after the packs merged, but I was unable to get a response from any of the other women to attack with me. We still had a chase pack behind us, so I felt it was important to keep the tempo of the group high to keep the second pack from merging. With so many strong riders in the second pack, we were unable to hold off the pack with two laps to go on the bike. Throughout the bike, I again tried a couple more unsuccessful attacks, but really focused on getting off the bike in front. I was happy to have another strong transition and exited near the front of the 25-women pack.
Once out on the run course, Emma Moffat took off very quickly. I ran the first 2K very hard and really wanted to get as close to Emma as possible. Right around the 4K mark, I started to hurt and around the 6K mark I was really struggling to hang onto the pack. I think I may have burned one too many matches for my run legs during the bike segment and also from taking out the run very hard at the start. I ended up finishing 10th overall and remain in 8th for the World Championship Series rankings. Congrats to Daniella Ryf for the win and an amazing spring finish! The goal of this race was to be aggressive throughout the entire race and see what would happen. I love to push myself from start to finish and although I may have pushed the envelope a little too far on the bike, it is important to know where your limits are and to test your body.
I have included a picture of me at the finish line looking a bit fatigued. I noticed my time on the clock reading 2:01:55, but when I crossed the finish line I thought I remembered seeing 2:01:49. Afterwards I learned that my official time was 2:02:02. Once seeing this picture, the moment all came back to me: I was standing on the timing mat with a load blaring noise going off (my chip was hitting the map but not shutting off!). So, lesson learned: Make sure you cross the timing matt completely when you finish and do not just stand on the matt! At least no one was close in front or behind so I did not lose a finishing spot!
Nate and I head back to the U.S. today. It has been a whirlwind of travel and racing the past six and a half weeks, and now it’s time to settle a bit and get back to some consistent training.
I also want to wish all mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day (the most important job in the world). I know I would not be where I am today without my mother’s love and support growing up and continued love and support today.
For more on Sarah, visit www.sarahhaskins.com