My plan for the swim was simple, swim fast, try to get a draft and stay close to the lead group. Mission pretty much accomplished. I swam pretty fast, my sighting was good, I didn’t have anyone to draft from as I was leading the second pack, and stayed within 20 seconds of the fish. A friend thanked me for the draft as we ran toward transition. The official swim time included a very long run to T1. My official time was 9:46, ranked 1 of 25 in my division, 24 of 240 overall. I still have some work to do on my swim; I need to be in that lead group.
The bike course was awesome! Except for one very short section, the roads were very smooth. There were enough rollers to make it interesting. I passed the fish in the first mile before we made it out of the Lake Carolina development. Once out on the open roads I began catching the guys from the swim wave ahead of mine. At about 3 miles in I began to throw up again and had to back off a little. I’d been drinking a grape G2 during transition setup; not good the second time around. I hammered along passing guys and holding just above 26 mph on the flats, flying down the hills of course, and spinning up them. Then I passed a Go Tri Sports athlete on an Orbea that I fought it out with for nearly the rest of the bike. I say “fought it out with” but that wasn’t really the case. I pulled us (he legally drafted) for probably 90% of the time we were together. Every once in a while he would come past me and would last for about 10 seconds out front before I would have to pass him again. About a half of a mile before returning to the development I dropped him for good and didn’t see him again until after the race was over. I later found out he owns the Go Tri Sports store.
Trying to regain compsure. You can see the volunteer going to pickup the cones I knocked over
Once I made it across the mat and into T2 things went smoothly. T2 time: 0:51
Running out of T2
I went with a no-hydration-on-the-bike plan for this race since it’s so short. Thankfully there were some volunteers just outside the run start line handing out small cups of water. I took one and tried to get a little in my mouth. I think I managed a drop or two; enough to get rid of the cotton mouth at least. I felt good off the bike. I opened up my stride a little and just mentally prepared for the oxygen deprivation that would soon set in. The course was very nice until I got to the walking path section. The path was slanted, very curvy and had many undulations that were not present on the road beside it. It was like trail running without the roots, rocks and wildlife. The path wound along for a while and then went uphill and a pretty darn steep grade for about a quarter of a mile to the turn around. It was at the base of the hill that I caught and passed two Cycle Center guys that I’d been hunting down since the beginning. Once I turned I just opened it up and flew back down the hill. I was glad when I made it back to the road. I began seeing other FCA-Eers going out and we high fived along the way as I was upping my tempo to an all-out pace at the end. Run time: 20:11, Pace: 6:28, division rank: 2 (actually tied for 1) of 25, overall rank: 15 of 240.
After the turn around of the run I had a good idea that I would win my age group but I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw my overall result. There was less than a minute of time between the 4th spot and my 8th place time. I know I have another minute in each discipline that I, with the help of my coach, can coax out of this mind and body. One of these days I’m going to win one of these races.
Thank you David for updating your blog! He may be somewhat disappointed with his results so far this season, but regardless, he's always a factor in the race and always someone I'm looking to get a time-check on after the turn around on the run. Here are some pictures of David in action that my wife took at the race:
David in T1
I'm sure my wife was actually taking a picture of my bike and happened to get David in the background :-)
David in T2
David at the finish catching his breath
David and I making sure our thumbs still work