The PTO World #3 has put together a string of solid performances since reverting back to coaching himself, both domestically and away from home. He shared his satisfaction with the result in Singapore, but knows he has more room to progress.
Dissecting the race on his YouTube channel after the race, the Boulder native underlined that his swim still needed time to come together, but was full of confidence that things will fall into place over the next twelve months of training and racing.
“I’m happy but I’m unhappy”
Reflecting on another fifth place performance, having finished in the same place at the PTO Tour US Open in Milwaukee two weeks earlier, Long gave a typically candid rundown of his race.
“I’m happy but I’m unhappy. For me, in the swim, I was seeded second to last and I came out second to last and to be honest I knew in my head I would be swimming alone and emotionally when you’re out there as an athlete it’s tough.
“It was hard for me as I feel like I’ve put a lot of effort into my swim, I’ve improved a lot but it was so flipping hot, it was like swimming in a bath and my body was overheating. I just really had to stay positive on that swim, as good things take time.
“Coming out of the water, the crowd was electric, and that made me think okay, let’s just get to work and when I got on the bike, I just got to work. I was still overheated from the swim and it took me about five laps to cool down on the bike. But then suddenly at lap five, a lot of people who were in over their head started to come back to me and that was really encouraging.”
“I was really happy with my commitment”
Coming off the bike in ninth place, Long set his sights on replicating his top-five performance from Milwaukee and ended up in an epic battle with Dane Daniel Bækkegård over the final few laps of the run.
“I got off in the run in ninth place and my goal was to match my position from Milwaukee, a top-five. I quickly caught a few guys and then could see Daniel Bækkegård ahead and aside from Lionel [Sanders] I think I’ve had so many battles with him over the middle distance.
“I spent the final lap chasing him down and right as I was about to pass him, Denis Chevrot came flying past like a cheetah and so I thought, okay here it goes and tried to go with him, and that was the first time I’d raced all day after feeling like I’d done an individual time trial in the swim and the bike.
“I was really happy with my commitment to chasing and ended up in fifth, two fifth place finishes in the PTO Tour this season which I’m really happy with, as I don’t think I’ve finished outside of the top ten in a PTO race.
“Next year I am going to continue working really hard on the swim and I think it’s within grasping distance. Once I’m in that main pack I think it’ll be a completely different race.”