This was my 4th time racing Buffalo Springs. Was 3rd overall. Read on...
Buffalo Springs is a special race to me as it was my first (and only...so far) 70.3 win back in 2009. It's a hot, hard and honest course. This race wasn't originally on my schedule at the beginning of the year. However, after cramping issues in Panama 70.3 earlier in the year, and my poor performance in the heat at IM Texas, I wanted another opportunity to race in hot conditions. So, I made the long solo drive from Flagstaff, Az to Lubbock, Tx to race. Unfortunately, we didn't get the hot conditions I was looking for, as a cold front came through and the temperature was only in the low to mid-80's!
I honestly didn't know what to expect going into this race. It was 6 weeks after IM Texas. During those 6 weeks I took the first 2 weeks of some much needed recovery, two weeks getting settled and acclimated to 7000ft elevation in Flagstaff, Az, and then two weeks of some decent training. I was excited to race as this is one of my favorite courses that always brings tough elements.
The swim was wetsuit legal which was ridiculous. The water temperature was 75 degrees which is quite warm for a 1.2 mile swim. I wore my newRoka wetsuit and loved it (product blog coming soon). I had a good start and tucked in behind Amanda Stevens. Laura Bennett gapped us a bit at the beginning and we never did bridge the gap. Felt strong and comfortable throughout the swim. With less than halfway to go my legs felt as though they were burning up and I started to panic that I was overheating. At that point all I could think about was getting to the swim finish as fast as possible so that I could get out of my wet(hot)suit.
I hit T1 about 30 seconds down on Laura and 20 seconds down on Amanda. I was excited to hop on my bike as I love this bike course. There's some flats, hills and wind. Just what I like. I tried to push hard from the beginning but my legs weren't responding. My watts were low so I stopped looking at the garmin, and rode by feel trying to catch whoever was in front of me. Really focused on my nutrition and made sure I got all my calories in. My legs finally started to come around halfway on the bike and I just kept the pressure on the remainder of the ride.
Off the bike in 2nd and wasn't sure how far behind I was. Just as on the bike, I did not feel great at the start of the run. Again, focused on my nutrition and getting my feet to turnover as fast as possible, hoping my legs would come around. There are 3 pretty nasty hills on this course and I felt like I was crawling on every single one of them. At half way I was 5 minute down on first place and 2:30 ahead of third. The legs were starting to come around and I was feeling good the second half. I knew it would be hard to catch first, but I felt confident I could hold off Laura. There were definitely some good patches and bad patches during the run. At mile 12 Laura came storming by me. Ugh... I tried to go with her but the pace was a bit too fast for me at that point in the race. I ended up 3rd by 25 seconds! Still a solid effort on the day and happy to be on the podium.
Next up: Vineman 70.3
Thank you to all my sponsors for your continued support!