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USAT National Championship: Outcome

Yesterday I raced in the USAT National Sprint Championship in Milwaukee. It rained most of the night but the weather was perfect by the time the race started: cloudy and cool. I was ranked 17th and there were several All-Americans competing, but I thought that if I executed the plan that my coach, Heather Collins of Monarch Fitness Coaching developed I had a shot of finishing in the top 10 and making the podium (USAT has a really big podium).

Swimming has always been my weak link, but over the years I have gradually improved. My primary objective in the swim leg was to stay on course and stay close. There were fifty-two of us in the wave and I managed to stay with the crowd. Got bumped a few times, but no damage. I was 10th coming out of the water.

Transitions in triathlons are critical. In my last race in Tuscaloosa, I went into the second transition in 2nd place and left transition in 4th place. I didn’t want that to happen again. The day before the race, when I racked my bike I walked through several times the path I had to take to come out of the water and get to my bike. It’s a big transition area with over a thousand bikes so it is important to know exactly where your bike is. I was Row E, three racks in. When I got out of the water I ran hard for the 200 yards to the transition area. I passed three other swimmers on the way to the bikes. I had a good transition.

The bike course was mostly flat and only 12.7 miles. My goal was to really hit the bike hard. I wanted to average over 20 mph. The only “hill” on the course was an interstate highway bridge. I stayed in aero for the entire race, which is a major improvement for me – as in past years I haven’t done that. I covered the bike course at a 20.4 mph pace.

When I went out on the run course I was in 11th place. About half way through the 5K segment I passed another runner in my age group. Because of problems with my knee stemming from my last race (“overuse”) we had decided I needed to take off time from running. So, I didn’t run in May or June and then in July I started doing easy jogs. I didn’t do any speed work and that helped my knee to recover, but I knew that I would not have a fast run. I finished at a pace of 8:26.

I wasn’t sure where I had finished, but Suzanne had been tracking me on her phone and she told me I was 10th. It was a great feeling. When I started racing, I had a goal to finish in the top 10 for my age group in the Triathlon National Championship. The closest I had come before this year was 18th. It was a real thrill to finally achieve that goal and get to participate in the Awards Ceremony.

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Congratulations on the strong finish! It must be so satisfying to pull off swift transitions and hit so many of your goals for the race.


James Wesp
James Wesp
Aug 12, 2021

Nice work Len. Im sure you're a Joy to watch but not to race against!!😁

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