Red Peloton Cycling Team

World Triathlon Long Distance Championship Almere-Amsterdam 2021


The travel was interesting because one week before I left the Netherlands changed their policy on allowing Americans into their country…but I (and the other athletes) got an exemption from the Dutch Olympic committee to enter without quarantine. We needed vaccination and recent negative test (we also needed a negative test to return, and it’s free in Holland and ez to schedule).
I felt off in terms of time zones the whole time, but my bike and clothes all arrived with me. At worlds you never really know who will show up, but the person who had beaten me in Spain two years ago didn’t come. And then depending on where worlds is, you have more local talent in general, so I expected Dutch, Belgian, and German athletes to be strong. Because of covid, there were very few non elite athletes. Some years you get people who qualified but have no real chance at a medal; there were less of those this year.
The swim course was two loops, and while sometimes at worlds the course is short (to allow for faster times) this one was a touch long. Because it was so windy in the am it had a section that felt with and against the current. In the against the current section it was really choppy and difficult. The morning was cold and I had gotten stiff waiting to start, but felt good in the water and while I’m not an elite swimmer, I swam well enough, and swimming as I did didn’t take much out of me for the bike.
After the swim and before the bike I slammed a bottle of beta fuel which had electrolytes and about 400 calories, and then ran to my bike and then ran the bike out of transition.
While on the bike I had two bottles behind my saddle, one with electrolytes and one with beta fuel, and another bottle between my bars and another in my fuel cell. I consumed 800 liquid calories plus 12 sis gels in about 4:15 of ride time, so almost 240 an hour in addition to the liquid calories.
My plan in terms of bike pacing had been to chunk it up into 15 minute blocks. The first two hours I ranged from about .7 ftp to .75, broken into specific 15 blocks and then repeated. At this point I was 26 mph so 52 miles into the race, and right on my pacing and speed strategy.
It was hard to tell where I was in the race, but I figured I started the bike in maybe 12th overall. Because there are other races happening at the same time and I’m passing people like crazy it’s hard to keep it straight. I figured at halfway I was in first overall, and had some decisions to make…did I just want to continue my current pacing which would be easy for me or take it up to about .78/.80 ftp. I decided that it would kill me if I took it easy and there was someone in front of me, also I wanted to show respect for the race, so for the next hour and a half I was about .78 ftp and just crushing it. I had one 5 mile segment under 10 minutes, and the rest in low 10s to mid 12s. Turns out I was not in first overall, as I passed another couple people in that period. I then got a cramp in my right quad…and got worried, had I gone too hard and would now come to a crawl as it cramped with each pedal stroke. I ate my last two gels and rode standing for about 2-3 minutes. The cramp went away but I backed my watts off to about .7 ftp for the next 10-15 minutes and passed one more person.
When I crossed the finish line the team USA people told me I won my age and got second overall.
I then was escorted straight to doping control. No warm down. No shower. All of the forms took about 45 minutes.
I’ve never ever taken any doping products, not when I raced in Europe and certainly not now. But I was still like…I hope I didn’t consume any bad meat or any of a million other things athletes who test positive say caused their positives.
Then it was a nice shower and waiting to talk to my teammates and see how they had done. Bucky Wile had set a huge pr. Blair Saunders had gotten second in his age. Phillip Young had gotten third in his. Amber Smolik had won her age and gotten 3rd female.
I had averaged 26 mph for 112 miles.
None of us could stomach much of anything in the post race meal but warm broth.
I got a massage from the team masseuse and then had my podium and medal ceremony.
As the guys I ride with know, this has been a huge goal and with Amber’s (my coach) help, something I thought was a reasonable one. I’d like to win again next year;) in case you’re curious.
A couple more pics of Blair and I post medal ceremony, Amber Smolik and I post medal ceremony with our golds and flowers, and the crew during an awesome ride through holland am I front of a castle from the 1600s.
Kurt Holt