Well 2011 is over. It was a sporadic season. I was severely undertrained through the spring due to grad school and coaching. This was visible at the Gear West Duathlon where I was pale, husky and slow. Things were looking brighter at Manitou but a silly swim error cost me my strategic advantage and the win. I spent 4 weeks in Norway to watch Jorgen and Maria get married but did not train as much as I had hoped to. This showed at Challenge Aarhus where I rode well but got tired and had to jog the run. If you were wondering, jogging in a pro race is extremely depressing. The time spent in Norway was well worth the cost to my season. Thanks to Anders and Martin I have an arsenal of very colorful expressions in Norwegian.
Upon returning to the US in July I got to lead most of the inaugural Twin Cities Triathlon in Saint Paul. It features a bike course that is both challenging and fast. Unfortunately after a great ride I came up short on the run and took 2nd. The following weekend was OptumHealth Performance’s annual IM Wisconsin camp over in Madison. The camp was a blast as usual. I was unsure of what to do with the rest of my season at that point and decided to take a shot at Wisconsin. If nothing else racing pro at Wisconsin is a great opportunity to show off for all the MN tri geeks who go to watch.
Through August I got myself into shape for Wisconsin. Brewhouse was fun and my first and only win for the year. Two weeks before Wisconsin I was thrilled to have a bike-centered pro race in town at the TriStar 111 in Maple Grove. I had won the Maple Grove olympic last year and knew that the race organizers did a good job. The 111 was a perfect tuneup for Wisconsin. This turned out to be my best pro result of the year as I claimed the final podium spot in 3rd. Nothing better than getting paid.
My race in Madison was a disaster. Someone got a gap early in the swim and I went bananas to close it and this 500 yard hard effort at the beginning blew me up. I suffered horribly the rest of the swim. Pro tip- don’t skimp on your swim training.The bike started ok and just as I was starting to find a rhythm I got my first ever flat in a race. I timed my tubular change at 8 min and went from 5th to 15th. Knowing money went 6 deep and that I needed a great ride to be competitive for that money I lost all motivation. I could not imagine going through the hell of a marathon for no chance at a PR, a good place, or a check. It was embarrassing to drop out but I figured it was better to try and race again at Branson 70.3 the next weekend. Unfortunately I got unlucky a second time and flatted out of that race as well.
I wrapped up the year at IM Florida with a 10 minute PR. All I really wanted from the race was to go under 9 hours and I was happy enough with my 8:55.
Looking ahead to next season I am excited to see what is possible with a more consistent approach. Grad school is over and going forward I will be able to focus on training, racing, and coaching with OptumHealth Performance without major interruptions. I will also have more time to devote to blogging, tweeting, and generally being an amazing ambassador for my sponsors. If you are not already following me on twitter @dpalmertri then you should get on it. I have consistently been voted in the top 3 funniest pro triathlete tweeters. In addition, my tweets are filled with the latest scientific research on training as well as accurate product information. The surgeon general himself advised avid triathletes to review my tweets for health reasons. If you feel this kind of dynamic and thoughtful representation would benefit your company then please contact me immediately.
On the coaching front I am excited to be playing a bigger role in the Minnesota Junior Elite Team. If you are young and an ambitious MN triathlete you need to get on this team. Also, there may be an opportunity for new triathletes in MN coming soon. If you know someone who is considering getting into our sport but has no idea what they are doing have them keep an eye on the OHP website.
As always, a big thanks to OptumHealth Performance, Gear West Bike and Triathlon, TYR, Enterprise Lighting, and my man Harvey Skees. I look forward to racing to better results on behalf of these companies in 2012! Here is my preliminary 2012 schedule:
-Rev 3 Knoxville Olympic
-Gear West Duathlon
-Pigman Sprint or Buffalo Olympic
-Twin Cities Triathlon Olympic
-OHP IM Wisconsin camp
-Rev 3 Wisconsin Dells Half Iron
-TriStar 111 Minnesota
-Rev 3 South Carolina Half Iron
-Rev 3 Florida Half Iron