Friday, April 6, 2012


Texas was a wild weekend! It was the first race of the season for Rich, who is in great shape and was on fire to do well. Unfortunately, things don't always work out to plan.

Rich is a great swimmer but has worked even harder on his swim throughout the off season, so he knew he could come out in the lead pack and ahead of Lance, but this wouldn't happen this past weekend thanks to a wetsuit tear. That's right...his sleeve ripped right in the beginning of the swim.
6 Inch Tear in wetsuit sleeve made for a rough swim!
 Apparently Rich accidentally poked a hole in his Phantom Suit thus causing a 6 inch tear that allowed water to leak in during the entire swim. Imagine swimming with bricks in your suit...especially at the pace these guys swim at, and trying to stay up front! That's what it felt like for Rich. Definitely did not make for an easy go for him and literally wore him out as it would anyone. He came out 1:15 down off the leader. Not where he wanted or needed to be!

Once on the bike, he started tearing his way through the field. As one of the top bikers in 2011...he knows he is even stronger now, so he knew he could catch up to the lead pack.

You can see Rich here on the left passing TJ Tollakson as he is trying make his way up to the lead pack. He's hammering it!

On a misson!
 Unfortunately, again...was just not Rich's day. Rich actually caught the lead pack and was in good position but then flatted and had to wait for support putting him down almost 20 minutes. Not a good spot to be in when you are chasing points and trying to earn a paycheck. I know that some age groupers don't understand how the professional side of the sport works, but how could they? It's more than just a race and a finish for these guys. It's our life, our income, what we eat, sleep and breathe daily. It's our everything. Some were seemingly 'amazed' at Raelert's comeback when he flatted, but little did they know that support was in sight of Raelert when he got a flat and his bike was fixed and he was back in the game in only 2 minutes. 2 minutes out of the game is much different than 20 minutes out and not really much of a comeback. See, Rich wasn't so lucky. Support had basically just driven by right before he started to flat. He went as far as he could as the tire continued to flat and finally had to stop. He stood waiting for the support vehicle to come back by but once his new tire was on...he had lost 20 minutes. Now for those who understand the difference between 70.3 and 140.6, it's impossible to make up a 20 minute deficit in a 70.3 for the professionals, not so much in an Ironman, but this was not an Ironman and unfortunately there was no point for Rich to carry on, to shatter his body on a run that he would never catch up on. No pay check, no points...just a battered body. He make the best decision.  It's not easy for the pro's to walk away from what they work so hard for, trust me. Imagine working so hard for months and to have to walk away because of mishaps beyond your control...if it's devastating for the age grouper, imagine how it feels for the pro's. Several great pro's DNF'd this past weekend but I dare say that they have any less guts or class than any of the other athletes!!

Also, a friend of ours...Jordan Jones passed Lance at the finish line taking 6th place and I think his performance was amazing. I have known Jordan for the last four years and he is a super nice guy. It's been disheartening to see hateful comments about his race finish. A race is a race to the finish and when money and points are on the line, you do everything you can to get there before the guy in front of you. Good for him and there was nothing wrong with what he did by making a pass at the last minute. I can bet you that Lance will never make the mistake of slowing down the chute again. Don't slow down until it's over...not in this game.

Texas was bittersweet. We had a wonderful time, yet left upset about the race. The were so many things different having Lance around for sure!  The VIP lounge was amazing and we enjoyed some great food and company. It was really neat to have Armstrong around with his girlfriend and family. He brings loads of attention to the sport and truly is amazing to the impact that it has.

So what's next...Rich is planning for Kona qualification so races are being selected carefully. He does want redemption from Texas so looks like we'll likely be traveling again in a couple weeks for another Ironman 70.3 in New Orleans. This one wasn't in the plan but should be fun. Not having brought home a paycheck from Texas was a bitter pill to swallow but as our friend Julie says..."onwards & upwards, there's always another race."

 You can read Rich's race report here:

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I can totally understand why a lot of AGers look down their noses at pros who DNF just because they have mechanical issues on the bike. If you don't have a better perspective on the circumstances, it just looks like they are all sour grapes and want don't even want to play if they aren't going to win.

But I totally get why Rich did it. It is just the nature of the beast. WTC doesn't pay well (or at all) that deep into the pro standings and it hurts everyone. It forces mid-pack pros to drop out and makes the action behind the lead pack(s) that much less intense/entertaining for the spectators.

Like it or not, people at least have to respect his foresight and ability to think beyond just his finishing place at TX.