BIT historically has had a very small pro field; this was often due to the fact that it often fell during 70.3 World Champs and WTS Grand Final. However, the timing of the event was much better this year, working with the schedules of both short course and long course athletes. The field while still on the smaller side was still very good considering prize money only went 6 deep.
The days into the event went smoothly. I felt pretty good, but definitely nervous to race such a talented group of women. We completely lucked out with the weather; it was cool, clear and sunny. I was worried about the pollution but it was a non issue this year.
I had a great swim, getting on the feet of the strong ITU swimmers. We exited the water over a minute down from Lucy Hall and Non Stanford. I lost some time to the ITU girls on the long run to transition, but I had Paula and Lisa Norden just behind me. I went out really hard on the bike, trying to bridge the gap to the Ashleigh Gentle. I caught up to Andrea Hewitt, Barbara Riveros and Sophie Corbridge. I did my best to go around them hard and willed Paula, who was just behind me to do the same, but we just couldn't shake them. The head winds were strong making the 7m draft zone very advantageous. Parts of the course were also very narrow and technical, which can cause groups to bunch up. I even found myself getting caught up once on a downhill without a safe way to make a pass. I personally didn't see any draft marshals on the course so it was definitely on the athletes to follow the rules on their own. On the long climb up to the temple I lost touch with Lisa Norden who was riding unbelievably well. She was able to close the gap to the front of the race while I ended up losing a little time in the final 10k due to burning a few too many matches in the first 30k.
Photo property of Rocky Arroyo
I came off the bike in 6th place but with 4 other girls within seconds of me. I felt like I was moving okay initially but the girls were pulling away from me quickly. I felt stuck and unable to get my legs to move any faster. The stairs destroyed me and I'm confident this is where I lost even more time. I crossed the line in 9th place, pretty disappointed in the outcome, but not necessarily disappointed in my performance. I had a great swim, and bike power was well within my normal range for an Olympic distance race. Where I fell short was the run, and I think that had everything to do with the way I rode this particular 40k. My file is jammed with really big power spikes whereas when I looked at my previous files from St. Anthony's, Alcatraz or Philly I rode much more steady. Lisa did an amazing job of riding steady and making moves on the most difficult parts of the course. I got caught up in just trying to close the gap as quickly as I could and burned multiple matches before we even got to the climb to the Temple. I'm glad I went for it and did everything I could to put myself in a position to at least battle on the run, but if I get to race there again against a stacked field like this I will ride it a little differently to set myself up better to run well.
The short course women impressed me so much. Some of the athletes were on road bikes with clip ons and still moved so well (ahem, Ashleigh and Non!). The level of racing is getting elevated every year and while I already knew the ITU girls were crazy strong swimmers and runners, they can RIDE! I also need to take a moment here to praise my old friend, Radka (Vodickova) Kahlefeldt. We hadn't seen each other since the birth of baby Ruby, so it was so wonderful to see her and meet Ruby. If you follow our sport, you know that Radka is having an incredible year and is racing better than ever! Here is what amazed me; Radka often travels BY HERSELF to races. People, picture this: in her left hand she pushes the stroller and pulls her bike box, in her right hand she pulls her luggage. She arranges for help/ nannies at races so that she can get her workouts done and race. Seeing Radka balance being a Mom to Ruby and all the normal pre race activities was so impressive. Getting to spend time with all these athletes was one of the coolest parts of this event. We got to see old friends and make some new ones too!
A massive thank you goes out to IMG and the entire BIT organizing staff for putting together a wonderful event and experience for all of the pros. I will now transition back into my long course training as I prepare for the double of Coquimbo 70.3 and Waco 70.3. Thanks for reading!