Never stop learning. I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I learn something new every time I race. I got up to the race about 1.5hrs before the start and I got my bike tuned up and a short warm-up in all 3 disciplines. I had planned on riding the bike course, but I arrived a little bit to late. I felt ready by the start and I was excited. The conditions were ideal. One of the things about this race series is that it always attracts a bunch of top high school and college swimmers that crush the swim. Well, the gun went off and I had aligned myself behind my friend, Ian Ray, who I do a lot of swim training with. The game plan was for me to draft off of him for as long as possible. He waded into the water a little slowly and before I knew it, I felt a hand on my back. The next thing I knew I was literally getting swam over from behind. This was the 1st time in my career this has happened so severely. I was literally pushed under water and had to find a space to come up. Once I came up I was behind a swimmer that had a motor boat kick. The wave was a foot in the air. I was having a very hard time breathing. Things were really tight and I couldn’t move out from behind the splashing. Finally by the first buoy, which seemed like an eternity, I was able to get around some of the swimmers. There were obviously a lot of sprinters in the group as about 5-6 guys hit the first buoy and literally stopped… I got myself back together after a few choice words under the water. I found a decent rhythm and swam the rest of the .5 mile by myself. This was definitely my highest swim effort of the season. I came out of the water and sprinted to my bike. When I got to my bike, I felt like I was going to throw up! I tried to calm myself and get out on the bike without vomiting.
Once I got onto the bike, I settled in for the 1st mile. However, once the hills came, I found myself back in the red zone and having a hard time recovering. Another tiny mistake I made was I tried to ride the hills in my big ring, because I was a bit worried about dropping my chain while downshifting. I road hard and had the top two guys in my visual path by mile 5 of the 10.5 mile course. Then we hit some more hills and I found myself spiking too high and recovering. I didn’t pass the 2nd place person, Ian, until mile 9 on an uphill section and I never caught the 1st place person. I came into transition and had what I thought was a very quick dismount into T2. I was racking my bike and putting my running shoes on when a volunteer came running over and told me that I had entered T2 in the wrong entrance and that I had to go back out and into the correct entrance, uggh. My fault completely as I’ve now done this race 6 times. The only excuse I have is that I was so focused on a quick transition that I came rolling into T2 and went for the nearest opening I saw. They would normally have roped off that entrance, but athletes were still going out, as it was the bike exit. I made up for my mistake and headed out onto the run. I was now in 3rd place and probably dropped 20-25 seconds on that genius move. I focused on my cadence and tried to avoid going out to hard as I knew my adrenaline was rushing. I caught 2nd place, Ian again, at the .5mile mark and tried to pick up my speed to see if I could bridge up to the 1st place guy. I ran ok, but it was not in the cards and I ended up finishing in 2nd place.
Post race thoughts: I’m happy with the effort. I hit higher points in the swim and bike then I have all year. I wasn’t quite ready for a sprint type effort but it was a good learning experience and a very good workout.
8 months ago