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September « 2010 « James Cunnama’s Blog


Archive for September, 2010

America, meet James Cunnama…

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point, Full-distance; Sandusky, Ohio


My first full win!


So this past weekend we headed up to Sandusky, Ohio for my first race in the continental-US, the Rev3 – Cedar Point. My goal was to make an impression in the States. I think I achieved that… But it wasn’t all plain-sailing.

We headed up to Sandusky on Thursday, with my travel and nutrition sponsor for this race, Brian from Personal Best Nutrition – he did all the driving there and back. Thanks Brian! Heading into the race I was feeling good, but that is never a good measure of how your day will go in a race this long.

At the start of the swim I felt really bad. It just felt like my body was not firing on all cylinders and my arms were heavy. I soon lost the small group and ended up swimming the final 3000m completely alone. Oh well, it is just the start of a long day, all is not lost yet. Onto the bike I was a few minutes down on the leaders, but not in a bad position and soon found my rhythm. About 5miles in I heard the rumble of a motorbike come up to me:

‘Number 17. Pull over. Put both feet on the ground and stand down!’

WHAT?! WTF? There is no-one around me? Did I drop a bar and am guilty of littering? Nope. Apparently I was guilty of breaching the Stagger Rule. (I will bite my tongue on this, but… the rule is idiotic. I was more than 50m behind the rider ahead, and not catching him. There is no way in hell that I could get any advantage what-so-ever at that distance, no matter where I was riding. Why encourage athletes to ride in the middle of the road, especially when there is no road closure?! USAT’s role is to make the race safe and fair for all participants – this rule does the opposite. Staggering indeed. …And this is me biting me tongue.) Four minutes later I got going again. Oh well, it is just the start of a long day, all is not lost yet… I tried to keep controlled, but I rode angry for the next 170km’s…

I got off the bike with what I think was the 2nd-fastest bike split if you take out the 4min stop, just behind a group of guys, including Jason Shortis and team-mate Keegan Williams, but a long way (19mins!) behind the race leader, Bjorn Andersson. I was sure Bjorn would blow, but when you are that far down you have nothing to lose. I went out hard. Shortis went out just as hard. It really felt like I was running half-IM pace, but Doc had told me I could have a good run, and if old-man Shorto could hold this pace… (just jokes buddy ;) ) I caught Jason at about 7miles but our pace was similar and he would prove to be the man to beat today. I got a split to Andersson at 13miles – he was now 9minutes ahead… At 14miles I passed him for the lead.

Shorto was still close behind and although I was running well, better than I ever have, he was not dropping back! With about 7miles to go I hit a bad patch and was really hurting! Apparently Doc was telling people that if the camera stays with me I will win… as if I have an ego or something… ;)  I over-heard the spotters tell the camera-man that Shorto was less than 90secs back. I was seriously in the hurt-box. Then the camera went to see Shorto… Oh dear… The next two miles were the hardest of all my racing miles in my life and Shorto got to within 55secs of me. But with 4miles to go something clicked (and the camera was back on me…:D ) and I was back in the zone. I don’t know the splits as I don’t race with a watch, but I was flying for those last few miles and finished with a 2h43:35 run split! Yes!

Crossing the line first, in my first race on the US continent was one of the best feelings I have experienced in my life. The only thing that could have made it better was if my family and friends were there… but I will experience that when I win Ironman SA next year… ;) Race results here.

A big Thank you and Congrats to the Rev3 organisation. They did an exceptional job in their first full-distance event. And the idea to have the race at an amusement park (Cedar Point) was ingenious – I just wish I had time to ride the 17 roller-coasters! Next time…

Of course congrats to my team-mate, Amy Marsh for winning the ladies race in style. It was great to have teamTBB do the double and seeing her out there on course was very motivating! And Keegan for toughing out 4th place despite a less-than-fantastic build up to the race after his crash in Challenge Copenhagen.

And, finally, a big raspberry for my side-kick Scott. He slept in the back seat while we drove the bike course. Then proceeded to attempt a third lap when only two were required, taking himself out the race… I know it doesn’t have wings, but the rubber chicken may need to fly across the Atlantic this week…

Onwards and upwards…


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