- Swim: 21:55 (shortened swim 1200m with a 750m run)
- Bike: 2:19:42 (2nd fastest to the world champion Ryf)
- Run: 1:24:12 (not happiest about it but ok)
- Lessons learned are at the end!
Race morning I woke up around 4:15, rested in bed, and got everything else ready to go. I ate my 4 homemade blueberry muffins around 5am and we were out the door around 5:30am. Got to transition and checked my bike over (brakes), left my nutrition, and zeroed my power meter. It was about 500m (just over a quarter mile) walk to the swim start where I ate my sour geckos around 100 cals instead of a gel. They had to adjust the swim because the water was too rough due to 25-35 mph winds with gusts up to 50mph. We swam 2-600m loops in a boat harbor with yachts 5+ times bigger than the house I live in.
Swim: It was an in-water start with 12 of my BFFs who, when the horn goes off, try to tear you to shreds. Thank you so much to Blueseventy for the fastest speed suit and the best fitting goggles out there! My swim has improved so much over the last 3 weeks (swim camp with Tim Floyd) so I was excited to see what the result would be. The swim was slightly confusing since it was brand new and they didn’t have too many buoys to mark the course. I found some good feet and went with them. I generally gauge how hard I am going in the swim by how often I have to take a breath. The first 1/3 of IM Malaysia I was breathing every 2 strokes, but in Dubai I never took a breath more frequently than every 3 strokes. It was a good pace, but not my race pace. There was an Australian exit between the loops (we had to get out, run up some stairs and dive back in the water). The second loop wasn’t any different. The run to transition was 750m in the SAND which kept getting softer and deeper.
Bike: I knew all the girls I swam with had exited transition in front of me so I would have plenty of people to catch. I had absolutely no idea what position I was in (7th into transition but right with 5th, 6th, and 8th out of transition). My coach, David, and I had talked about the different scenarios that could happen and what to do in each one. Since the swim was shortened we knew that people would be closer together on the bike and that people would hammer the bike a little bit more. In the days leading up to the race I had been able to bike in some pretty strong wind and discovered that I, unlike most, found it easier to push more watts going with the wind than against it. I think it is because I push too high of a gear into the wind. (After my coach did an analysis of my cadence, we realized I actually have close to the same cadence with or against the wind.) Riding into the wind is a lot like riding up a hill, you need to ride in an easier gear.
I was also asked about my “choice” to ride a disc. That was mostly answered on Facebook earlier by my coach. I did not really have a “choice” of riding a disc or not; the only choice I had was how deep my front wheel would be. Like my coach said, discs have a very bad rap for being dangerous and hard to ride in winds. As someone who became terrified of wind after Kona 2014, I can say a disc rides better than a 404 combo. You don’t get jerked around with a disc, just moved “gently” from side to side on the road. I was honored to be able to ride on Cantu Cycling Wheels and can say they rode like the wind!
In terms of strategy, I started the ride out holding the watts I was planning on holding the whole time. I caught a couple women and made strong passes since I have heard too many stories about people trying to get others drafting penalties. I went past the last woman in my sites and found myself in no man’s land. Eventually I saw two cyclists in the distance. I thought to myself, “Oh perfect! I can catch up to them and then we can work together on the way back in. I’m going slightly faster than them, but the savings of legal drafting with them will be worth sitting in with them.” I kept closing the gap as the turn around approached. I was looking at the people coming back to try to see the first woman. I was just about at the turn around and was convinced that I missed Ryf (reigning world champion) when I saw two women in red working together. It looked like Ryf and Steffen but I was sure I wasn’t THAT close to them. I was still 30 seconds back from them and when they saw me they had a “Who is that?!?” look on their face. I tried to surge a little to catch up, but they surged too and we slowly drifted apart. I had one spectator tell me I was the 3rd woman, but I didn’t quite believe him. I caught up with a male pro having a bad day and we worked together the last bit. My watts were about 35-50 below goal when I legal drafted behind him, which should give you an idea of the head winds we faced!
Dubai was the inaugural race for my new QR PRsix (the green hornet or green flash if you ask my parents). I am SO happy to be a partner with Quintana Roo this year and hope to prove in my races that their bikes will ride the best. I also was able to use TriSports to get tires and latex inner tubes for my tires!
This is the first race that I didn’t stop at a single aid station. I had two bottles of nutrition (240cals each) and one bottle of water. I finished all of that by the time I hit T2. I also had 4-5 sour Geckos. I used to be 100% fueled by candy so I had to keep it real :).
Run: I started out feeling so easy and strong! The crowd at the beginning was awesome. I had a huge smile and was so pumped up! I heard the announcer say “what a bike ride” when I came out. Coach David told me before the race that people would probably think that I hammered the bike and was going to completely blow up on the run. So I had that as motivation! I was showing them I was one of the big dogs! I had “believe” written on my left hand and on my right, “calm inner drive to conquer” from a DTD original quote. The first loop was good. I was hitting the paces I was supposed to. The start of the second lap I got caught. We ran together for about a mile and then the 3rd place male passed us and she went with him. There was probably a 20+ second difference in the pace and I knew I couldn’t hold that. This is where the race went down hill. There is always room to improve in EVERY race. I can both enjoy the result and analyze the result to become better. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her and I knew that the person behind me wouldn’t be able to catch me. You can see a huge difference in my paces when this realization came. In hindsight you never know what will happen. You are in a competition so you should compete! My legs were pretty dead by the finish line. I had to take some time off due to a pulled intercostal and oblique so need to add my strength program back into training now that I’m feeling better. Thank you Buckeye Running Company for the shoes to train in and race in!
I did my typical leap across the finish line and was literally cornered by so many video and still cameras. It was a fun experience. I still can’t believe that happened. It feels surreal. My coach has known that I am at this level for months, but I had yet to believe him. Going into this race he said many, many insightful, helpful things, one being “Jocelyn, the best thing you can do for me is believe in yourself!” I didn’t let fear rule me from the start line to the finish line. It was the calm inner drive to conquer that lead me to the result I had. It will be that same calm inner drive that will lead me to another great result with “the big dogs” in Ironman New Zealand.
I would be so ungrateful if I didn’t add some credits in here as well! Thank you so much to all of you that have cheered me on and encouraged me in this awesome, crazy, fun dream of mine! Every little word of encouragement truly means so much! Thank you to my parents who took care of Emilyn for these last FOUR weeks! This was only possible because of them! Thank you to my husband who does so much for me to be able to train and compete like I want to! Thank you to my two amazing sisters! We have a text message thread title “Iron Ladies” and correspond everyday about something! You guys are the best friends I always wanted! Thank you to my amazing coach David Tilbury-Davis! He has taken me from professional to becoming a world-class professional in just 6 months time. Thank you so much to Tim Floyd of Magnolia Master’s for letting me take part in the most useful 3 weeks of my training to date. My swim has gotten faster and my RPE in the water has gone down. Thank you to both my homestays in the Woodlands, the Quinn’s and the Miller’s for making your home feel like home to me! Thank you to all my sponsors for the support to be able to accomplish my goals: Quintana Roo, XrCEL, TriSports, AudioFlood, Beyond Exercise, BlueSeventy, Bonk Breaker, TriggerPoint, Buckeye Running Company, Reser Bicycle Outfitters, Therapeutic Medical Massage LLC, and Impact Health Centers.
Things to implement next time:
- Next time go with the lead pack and hold on. Tim Floyd of Magnolia Masters advised me that my times in the pool are just between pack 1 and 2 so I should fake it with pack 1 and hold on as long as I can until one race I hold them the whole time.
- Ride in easier gears going into the wind. Doesn’t kill your legs that way.
- My coach and I discussed my decision to surge and try to catch Ryf and Steffen. It was the right call, but I should have made that decision faster. These decisions need to be made in a couple seconds rather than a few seconds. That can be the difference between having people with you or not. In hindsight I should have done 300 watts for a couple minutes to catch up versus trying to do lower watts over a longer period of time.
- Discs are better than no disc. I will always ride one when allowed now.
- Be ok with having different warm up plans for different weather. You don’t ALWAYS have to get in the water. Don’t look to others for what you should do, but rather have your own plan that you know works for you.
- Get back into strength training.
- I actually need to practice transitions. You can’t just do it during a race and expect to get better at it.
- Have a mental game for if/when you get passed
- Take in more calories on the run and practice it during workouts.
- Do more of my running outside versus on the treadmill.
- Always compete until the finish line no mater what.