First, it was a great decision to compete this year. The races motivated me to get outside on days I couldn’t have bothered. I learned to skate ski, a tough process, one I might have thrown the towel in on if it weren’t for having clear goals. I also liked the preparation and taking pride in what I was doing. It created a bond with the ski club and the other competitors, and really anyone who competes at anything in some capacity, that I felt strongly.
Second, I probably shouldn’t have won. The best all around athlete dropped out before the PPP. I was still giving myself a chance, but it was faint. And with the flat tire I got in the PPP and my novice kayaking, there was no way I would have come back from the deficit.
It’s funny, but I think the Moose Chase 30k skate race was the best event for me this year, in terms of how I felt, and how close I came to reaching my true potential. And the Downhill was the opposite, finishing furthest from my potential. I failed to execute my game plan, and came up far short of where I should have been. The field was stacked but I’m definitely capable of a top ten finish. The PPP was unfortunately interrupted by a flat tire and my time/finish place really didn’t reflect the effort and preparation I gave it, but I won the alpine portion and rocked the run and nordic ski.
I think I can win next year if I focus on a few of my weaknesses. Obviously, the nordic ski can go better. Even though I had strong race, the truth is, I had only been nordic skiing for about 3 weeks prior to the race. So next year I expect everything to go smoother, and be much faster. I will prepare for longer and be much more ready. That should put me in a really good position to take the lead going into the PPP. Once again I will have high hopes for the downhill, and hopefully I can put it all together and finish where I know I can.
The PPP will be my biggest challenge. I not only want to finish strong in order to win the Triple Crown, but would love to win the PPP itself. I will need to focus on the biking and the kayaking. Looking back, it was unrealistic to have such high hopes for this year. I had only biked a handful of times in the previous year and a half. Even though I see myself as a good biker, it was not bike season and I had taken a serious hiatus. On top of that, I’ve never done a road race and have no clue how to pace myself. The race is so long and weird that its tough to know how much gas to give it. Next year I will be more prepared. And finally, given that the guy who won the kayak was a good 12 minutes ahead of me, its obvious I can improve. Maybe I’ll learn to roll and get a downriver boat, or maybe I can just work on technique and kayak fitness. I went in with one day of kayaking under my belt, not nearly enough to be competitive. The PPP winner beat me by 2 minutes, and I’m pretty sure I had him on all the other events, minus the bike, so in other words, I still could have won without the flat tire.
I loved jumping back into competition. It made me really happy and I will certainly take that lesson and sign up for more in the future. Because if you aren’t training for something then your basically just wanking off and not actually striving to be better.