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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hy-Vee Highs, Lows Leave the Hall.

Last year I wrote about this race in a bittersweet way. I won a shit load of cash by leading a 3xlap, 3xprime swim, but I finished with an embarrassing result. I've got a smile on my face to say I reversed those fortunes in this years edition of the Hy-Vee 5150.

The Course

A very untypical course for a non-drafting Olympic distance. More ITU in nature, a lot of corners, obligatory u-turn and some punishing asphalt inclines to weather the body and drown the soul.

Swim- The new course had me yearning for a return to last years river swim. In the week before the race, they relocated the swim from the river in the middle of town to a static lake, removing any challenges we were to face in the river. The river swim in Des Moines is next level; fun and hard. But the Mid-West drought has left the river depleted and uninspiring for the race directors. Two laps instead of three laps meant only two primes were on offer this year.

Bike- The bike course is next level. As said, 18 corners a lap x4 makes for a hard course, especially with some good kickers thrown in. A course of this natures takes the advantage for the typically good strong riders like Cam Dye, and hands the advantage to the technically capable. Throw in some wind, some shitty tarmac and a brutal strong field, this is the leg that would make or break any athlete.

Run- Slow and hard course. 4 laps, with hardly a flat section on the course. You're either running steep down, steep up/down, or up/down 1-2% grade. How strung out the field was by the end was testament to the challenge of the run.

Conclusion- a course worthy to hold a championship race, but the river swim is always a treat.

The Memory

This is a big money race. This is what I've trained for all year, focused on all year, and I sure as hell wasn't going to walk away with last place pay cheque. There's two ways I can make money at this race. Blast every prime worth $5,150 each (10 on offer), and hope to finish the race just to collect the primes. The other way is to go for one or two primes, but save myself for a good result. I tried the first option last year, but despite making $20,000, I wasn't really happy. A good result is what I was after.

I knew I was swimming well, so I went about my business getting to the front and showing my chops for the first prime. I got to the line first, but was swimming scared that someone would out sprint me. A few guys were talking shit before the race about these primes, and maybe someone wanted it more than me, you never really know.  The second lap was a different story. After the 30 second run in between laps, I dove back into the water a little more depleted than I would have liked. I was happy conceding the the next prime to the willing to save my body for the rest of the race. Gomez took the lead and I settled in third. The second swimmer (Dye? Not sure) ended up dropping Gomez' feet before I realised, and I didn't want to bust myself chasing down a gap that we would get back on the bike.

I took to the lead on the bike early and tried to consolidate, but Ben Collins pulled me in, and with 10 or so guys swarming like Charlie to avoid stagger violations, I knew I just had to sit in the bunch and stay clean. A few guys blew off the front on the ride, Benno, Barney, D. Thompson and Ben Collins sporadically got away. I was riding with a lot of good runners, but wanted to stay cool and save as much energy for the run. I knew the hard bike course would be sapping the weaker guys every second, so I just wanted to continue with my own race.

I was right about the demands of the bike leg, and a lot of guys little triathlon bones crumbled early on in the run, maybe even before the end of the blue carpet. I felt good coming off the bike, and wanted to capitalise on the other's tired legs. I even ran in front of Gomez for all of maybe 10 seconds,and thought I was awesome running with Alistair until I realised he was just having a bad day. I felt strong the entire run, but never really had enough pace to run up to 6th. I finished in 7th, in what is maybe my best complete race ever against the best non-drafters in the world.

Hard work certainly pays off, and even if I have shit results for the rest of the season, it will still to me be a break through year. A professional pay cheque in the bank means more motivation for next year, with bigger dreams and bigger plans. A special thanks to everyone for the support in the lead up to the race, and the nice words afterwards. I like everyone who cares to feel a part of my journey, and always know that every detail in the tiniest never goes unnoticed. I'm a lurker and see everything :)

And of course, eternal thanks to Hy-Vee for the world class event. There's only ever good reports from this race, and it's with good reason.


The Evidence


  1. Burgerman you were magnificent,you made our day after night flight from Amsterdam,arriving in Singapore to scan the race results.
    Your ever loving Oma. xx

  2. Josh, time to come home for a great coffee. Your shout of course.
    See you soon. Love you,
    Mum and Dad xx

  3. Burgzzz! The first pic above is money! I painted a finish line in front of your foot so the podium has been unofficially (who needs officials anyways) changed to Burgs, Gomez, Kemper. Yeah buddy!

    The Aussie torpedo churns up the water once again for a swim premi!

    7th place baby! The number of completion and perfection. So happy for you man!

    Oh, and I hope Cervelo Airlines is treating their pilots better nowadays with a more generous benefits package :). It was rough back in the day workin' the double shifts with no auto-pilot. I see everything. I'm a lurker as well :).

    And lastly as I wrap up this rambling mess of random jargon which could suffice quite nicely as a sedative for those lacking adequate shut-eye, I would like to make a serious note...My prayers of comfort are with all those who lost friends and loved ones 11 years ago in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and to the families of the fallen and wounded soldiers who willingly gave their lives so we can live ours. We will never forget! God bless!

    -TJ Mad Fan