Saturday, March 29, 2008

TeamTBB's For Real

It's the eve of Oceanside 70.3 getting set to go to the Triathlete magazine/Zoot Sports/Timex party tonite, and I see all the action about Andy Potts and Craig Alexander. It was an epic battle. To see Crowie dig in and catch Potts in the last mile was amazing. Andy said it best: "those that think they can't seen an awesome race in a 70.3, they're wrong."

One thing nobody's talking about, maybe they didn't ask (I did) : is Andy considering doing Kona? Not only is he considering, he's doing it. I'll say it again: Andy Potts is racing Kona this October. There was a brouhaha about WTC taking away the pro slot to Hawaii for winning the 70.3 World Championships. Andy tells me they didn't take it away when he won. They offered it to him. If he didn't take it, it didn't roll down. So Andy's taking it (no word on Mirinda Carfrae, tho). Given his stacked Olympic qualifying plate this year, I'm surprised he's going for it, but he doesn't want to pass up an opportunity to race in Kona. I wouldn't either. What a great guy to get to see in the mix come October.

Posting a pic of Andy from today's race. Note his Floyd "Praying Landis" position. I'm due to chat to Andy in a few days, so will really want to know about comfort there.

So that was a good race, we all agree? So what of the women's race? You had a former Hawaii Ironman champ (Michellie Jones), a former 70.3 World Champ (Sam McGlone), the current reigning 70.3 champ (Mirinda Carfrae). You had Catriona Morrison, 2007 ITU Long Course duathlon bronze medalist. Who else...oh, how about former ITU World Champions? (Leanda Cave and Jones).

I had a little U-pick-em for the race, and one person picked Erika. In the interest of full disclosure, I had it on good source (my wife, as one of Erika's Team TBB training partners) that she'd probably raise some eyebrows.

Hello, eyebrows of Slowtwitchers? You just saw a phenomenal performance today in one of the strongest womens fields you'll see all year, and all you can come up with is "Crowie's better than Andy/No, Andy's better because he races ITU?" Please. Brett Sutton is a guy who has not gotten the credit in his career that he's due. This guy can take average talent and make it good, and good talent and make it great. He's a champion-building machine, simply put. Who else puts together camps that run all year on the only true team in this sport... in an era where TriDubai and NYPPE.com came in like a lion and out like a lamb?

Victor Plata's Team Kinesys did it this way, and it got one of their own, Vic, to the Athens Games (though I think most everyone was hoping for Doug Friman to get on there too) before the ITU killed the trade team concept in ITU racing.

But long-course racing isn't held to such ridiculous standards fortunately, and athletes are permitted to make a living. I give credit to TBB for changing the paradigm of what a tri team is, and making waves along the way. Like Chrissie Wellington. Like Reinaldo Colluci (another underappreciated talent). Like Andrew Johns. Erika's just one of those waves today. It's a 12-foot peeling A-frame, and the chatrooms are letting it pass... for two-foot, mushy stuff like "Crowie's better than Andy." How funny.

Granted, it's the first race of the year. And yes, some like Jones were training through the race. (In fact, MJ looked really good and steady today despite a fourth-place finish, and I'd put good money on her at Ironman Arizona in two weeks time_she's where she needs to be, I think).

But consider that a.) Csomor finished third here in Oceanside two years ago, before working with TeamTBB and b.) she's been working with Brett Sutton honing her game and really developing her swim. I'm just sayin, I'm surprised there's not the chatter there ought to be with this girl, or this team. She didn't just win some race. She smacked a heap of stars in a race that wasn't just a pushover race—you think Sam McGlone, one of the most bloodthirsty girls on the circuit, wanted to be shown up?

Based on the solid swim, the amazingly powerful bike and the masterful, steady 1:20 run.. Erika's arrived on the scene. She's no longer a great duathlete—she's a great triathlete. Plus she's just really friendly and fun (see the shot of her above, being really "serious" as she chased down Sam and Mirinda) which goes miles in my book. And a total antithesis to her nickname, "Morcos" (a play on letters in her last name) spraypainted on her Red Bull aero helmet... a word that means "grumpy" in Hungarian. No, she's super cool.

Csomor was also training through for Ironman Arizona. Based on her display of fitness today, I look forward to seeing what she can do in two weeks. Maybe she won't be such an unknown quantity.

Talk about a bailout, though: my friend Andrew Block of Beaker Concepts product sponsors Erika with his HydroTail. Due to a miscommunication, Erika took away a Hed Stinger rear race wheel with a Shimano freehub body for the race, not noticing until she tried to load up her... Campy cassette. Andrew, a hotshot wrench around here, swung in with a Wheels Manufacturing cassette. Matt Hoffmann, another local hotshot wrench, loaded it and dialed Erika's bike at the RaceDayWheels.com booth at the expo. Otherwise, she'd have been racing with her training wheel. Talk about "whew"—I'm sure she was glad to have her race wheel on as opposed to a beaten trainer.

On the race course, I took great pleasure in watching Steve Larsen make his return to the pro racing circuit (I even told him as much—it's just fun to watch him turn the cranks... his position is so dialed, power so naturally raw, it's unlike anything that anyone, from Normann to Torbjorn, turns out on a bike. It's just... right) He told me he hopes to find the time to do some more pro races, and hopes to get back to Kona. But it all depends on workload back home in Bend, which is his priority. He's thinking about Half Vineman. Watching him slice through the packs of riders so seemingly effortlessly was a treat to watch, and I was glad I got to see it again. I remember listening to a Competitors.com podcast with Steve after his retirement from triathlon during one of my ultramarathon long runs two months ago and thinking "triathlon had a legend in its midst and we didn't appreciate it enough." I should have videotaped it for you guys, he's that much a joy to watch ride. Next time. Well, I hope there's a next time.

Steve was rolling a tried-and-true Cervelo P3, as well as a brand-new set of Edge Composites wheels. One of the founding engineers at Lew Composites (Jason Schiers) and some of the other brainpower from Reynolds Composites (Jim Pfeil) merged to create this new brand with more experience and real engineering than most brands out there. Don't be surprised to see more pros strapping these on. They're strong and aero from first glance, and we're looking forward to checking them out. Larsen said he love them, that they were strong as he wanted. If they're strong enough for his watts... Check 'em at www.edgecomposites.com

OK, off to our party....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Erika is the real-deal. She's been the real-deal for years... winning duathlons and particularly Zofingen. That course makes Lanzarote seem easy, I sh*t you not (i've done both). If you can win Zofi, you can win anything.