The Road to ITU World Triathlon Chicago: A day with Alex Libin

With just two days to go until the ITU World Triathlon Series in Chicago, Z3 athlete and coach Alex Libin was kind enough to give us a first-hand look at race familiarization day for the Elite Men!

imageI woke up this morning to another cool and foggy day in Chicago; it feels more like Seattle at this point. I went for a little jog and a quick look at the course set up. I couldn’t really see too much, but I did get a chance to look at the narrow two-person-wide exit ramp that we will be using for the swim. There’s going to be a log of congestion there!

I ran around the Shed Aquarium and finished up back at the hotel where I was lucky enough to grab some breakfast with the USAT mechanic, “Sherpa,” who has a suite on the 24th floor of the hotel. The suite allows him to fit all the bikes in his room, but even more importantly, it comes with free breakfast!image

After breakfast, I headed back to my room where I laid in bed with my full belly and planned everything that I needed to bring for the bike and swim course familiarizations later in the morning.

When the time rolled around for me to leave, I peeled myself out of bed and picked up my bike from “Sherpa” the mechanic. It was all shiny and ready for the sun that had finally broken up the fog outside.

imageThe bike course was about as expected; lots of U-turns, even more corners and a fountain to whip around just for good measure. Luckily, all of the roads are fairly wide so real estate while on the bike shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Regardless, positioning will still be critical, as some of the U-turns come one right after the other.

Last I heard, Lake Michigan was running in the 50-degree range, but it seems to have warmed up a lot since then. Today, the water temp was a nice and comfortable 65 degrees; wetsuit legal and cold enough that you won’t really overheat. I got to try out my new HUUB wetsuit and I was very happy with how it performed. Best of all, the zipper breaks apart if you yank on the string, so I’ll have and easy and speedy T1 come Sunday!image

After grabbing lunch from a Cuban cafe down the street, the rest of my day was really laid back…literally! I lay in bed in and out of sleep until dinnertime. I wrote a pre-race report and did some visualization practices, which worked up my appetite enough to go and find some dinner with some of the other guys racing.

I’m ending my night with some leg shaving and stretching, and then it’s off to bed and into race shake out mode tomorrow!

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for more on Alex’s road to the ITU World Triathlon Chicago!

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