This was my third year racing the Best of the US olympic distance triathlon.
The race, one man one woman from each state, has been run for 5 years. Friend and Timex teammate Cindi Bannink has competed in all 5 events. She rocked it again this year with a third place result. Each year that I've competed in this race, I've been so impressed with the organization and quality of the field. The event has seen 5 different locations over the years and this year's race was held in Mission Viejo, CA in conjuction with the Orange County Triathlon. As teammate Bruce Genarri can attest, Mission Viejo is one beautiful place. The course is extraordinary and very fair. The bike course has some decent climbs and decents. Neither are too steep, but good to break things up. The run starts out pretty flat for the first two miles, but then rises up to some nasty hills for miles 3-5.
The water temp on race morning was a little over 80 degrees which meant the wetsuit stayed packed away in my bike box (ugh). The conditions were perfect race morning. In fact, the entire race seemed to go very smoothly as the volunteers were well prepared and had tons of positive energy. I had a decent non-wetsuit swim, but found myself in the middle of the pack coming out of the water. The bike seemed to go a bit better, but it was hard to tell where I stood in the placings. As I came off the bike, someone yelled "2.5 minutes down" from the leader. I saw 5 bikes in transition and I quickly realized I had some serious ground to try to make up. I hit the first two miles pretty good (5:12 and 5:30), but I still couldn't see anyone. Then the course went off road and the terrain changed to a wood chip trail. I had flashbacks to my highschool cross-country days. It was fun to run on the different terrain. Finally, as I was heading up a REALLY big hill around the 4 mile mark, I spotted one athlete in front of me about 100 yards up the road. I closed out the run well and I managed to pass that one athlete, but three others had stayed out in front for the duration. In fact, they not only stayed out in front but put a serious beating down. I learned after crossing the finish line that the top two were 21 years old! Ouch, that hurts. I had a great time racing and it was a privilege to meet so many unique individuals at the event.
8 months ago