Just got back from Colombia where I competed at the Guatape World Cup, in the mountains near Medellin. This race is one of the hardest races in the ITU circuit due to the location of the town at 7000ft above sea level. The swim is in a lake and the bike has 8 long hills and a cobblestones section right inside the town, the run has some short and steep hills as well. This was my first race since the olympics and I was looking forward to go hard.
Since I was the lowest ranked athlete at this event I got to choose my pontoon first and picked all the way right (closest one to the screen) that meant that I had a bit more to swim but since I was at one of the corners I didn't have to fight that much in the first 300 yards. Some of the guys false started and I don't think they even got penalized for that. I had a good swim coming out of the water in the front pack on a non wetsuit swim.
Once we got to the hilly bike Chacon (my training partner from Costa Rica) and I decided to push hard every time we went uphill. This course was perfect for a break away and we both tried a couple of times but the rest of the field wasn't allowing us to get away bringing us back every time. For this type of course I had the best bike set up possible with my Orbea Orca Gold, the Dura Ace Carbon C35 wheels and having the DI2 electronic gruppo on was great, my shifting was always fast and accurate. By the end of the bike ride the pack was reduce to just 10 athletes.
Once we got to the run I put on my Brooks Mach 14 flats and a group of 4 of us got quickly away from the rest of the field, Chacon from Costa Rica , Sarmiento and Grajales from Mexico and myself.
Leo Chacon was the first one to dropped back as he's been batteling a cold all week long and told me later on that wasn't feeling good during the race. I was struggling a bit too, I started cramping right around the 2nd mile of the run and I could not push as hard as I wanted to.
Grajales pulled away with about 1km to go and I was left with Sarmiento fighting for the last two podium spots. Coming into town I kept the pace high to see if I could pulled away from Sarmiento but I had no luck and he did a good job of just sitting in behind me and wait for the sprint. Once we got to the last couple of yards there was a sharp right turn and we started the all out sprint. With the momentum from the turn and wanting to get the best line possible to the middle of the finishing shute I got into Sarmientos' way who was approaching me faster and did not hesitate to push me loosing my balance and went from sprinting to just trying to stay on my feet so that I wouldn't fall. I didn't expect him to do that and I tough that he was going to make the pass on the inside if I went wide. I know that it wasn't intentional and that this is part of racing, he came up to me right after the finish and apologize. I tried to appeal with the ITU jury but lost the appeal, case close and move on.
Here is the award ceremony:
Overall Im happy that I finally got my first ITU World Cup podium. Something that Ive been very close in the past but never got it done, I know that from now on there will be a couple of those more in the future.
Next stop will be on Saturday in Buffalo for Pro Nationals and then back to Puerto Rico !!!