Cabo 70.3

It’s Mexico, something’s gonna get weird. Don’t get me wrong, I love racing in Mexico – almost every race is in a tropical paradise resort city, the people are welcoming, and the courses often suit me with non-wetsuit ocean swims and hot temps. But if you’re not prepared for a small dose of chaos during your race then you’ve come to the wrong place. A few examples from Cabo: finding out the night before the race that a man-made underpass was constructed at the end of the bike course and you will need to duck your head to get through it (on the bike!). Or finding out DURING the race that you have to bunny hop through the gravel shoulder to avoid a damaged section of highway. Or how about that guy out on the San Lucas toll road doing his best impression of Anton Chigurh? Anyways…

The underpass thingy. Some great ingenuity by Asdeporte here to be honest.

But this is all stuff I’m prepared for. That’s just how it is racing in Mexico – delightful and unpredictable. It’s when I bring my own mistakes into the race that it gets much less delightful. So in Cabo when I decided to merge onto Highway One via a drainage ditch, launching my aerobar water bottle onto the pavement, and then almost crashing a second time as I ran over said bottle, I was less enthusiastic about the eccentricities of Mexico. Let me explain: after a front pack swim with Terenzo, Chrabot and Tim O’Donnell, I hit the first climb out of transition hard and was the first athlete up onto the main highway. My gringo senses told me that this was the way to merge onto the highway. It wasn’t – it was very much a drainage ditch. The actual merge was another 100 meters up the road. All’s well that ends well, though, as I escaped with the rubber side down. The lead moto (who wasn’t leading yet, by the way) looked at me as if to say “what’s wrong with you?” and sped off into the lead.

At this point Terenzo and Matt laid the hammer down and I simply couldn’t match. TO joined me eventually and we worked together as best we could but still lost 1:50 to the leading duo by the first turnaround. Jackson Laundry joined us here – he’s a rig on the bike – and with his help we kept the gap at around two minutes for the entire rest of the ride. I spent the majority of it figuring out how I could make up for the 400 kcals of EFS liquid shot I spilled on the pavement 2k into the bike ride. It wasn’t so much the calories but the electrolytes I missed in the dry Cabo heat.

Cabo run
The general consensus from other athletes on course was “I’m glad I’m not Kevin or Tim right now.” Photo by Topher Riley.

Onto the run it was a full-on battle between Tim and me for the last spot on the podium. It was brutal – it got hot and windy and I was hitting every aid station to make up for lost nutrition. Neither of us could get away from the other until finally at 20k I accelerated up a small hill and kept the pressure on over the top for another 500 meters. It was enough to do the job and I was happy to share the podium with Terenzo and Matt.

The podium. Terenzo with the dominant win and Matt holding down second.

Races can be some of the best workouts you can get, and the way this race played out couldn’t have been much tougher for me. So really that was the last big session before my final race of the season, Cartagena 70.3 on December 3rd. At this rate I’ll need all three weeks to recover…