Here's my looooong list of excuses/encouragements to make me feel better ... 1) I'm not focusing on short course triathlon 2) my run volume has been super low in the last 4 weeks as I've been getting over an injury 3) I finished 10 places higher than last year 4) it was a very deep field today 5) I was less than 30 seconds off 7th place.
I said in my prediction post that I'd be happy to be in the top ten ... and I'm trying ... really, I am (it's just not working that well). Speaking of the prediction post, I was very correct in some areas and VERY incorrect in others. I must apologize to JB and Woody as I underestimated their abilities in a big way. Great job guys ... I'll be the first to admit that you put me in my place!
I arrived at the race early enough to get a sufficient warm-up swim this time which made a big difference in my comfort level. Starting out the swim there was a little contact which put some water in my sighting-side goggle, but other than that it was pretty calm. I felt relaxed and in-control throughout the swim and was glad to be in a small pack the whole way. We stayed pretty much side-by-side the entire time and didn't take turns working at the front. When we exited the water I saw it was Cameron Dorn and Parker Roth that swam in the pack with me. This was a sign of a decent swim for me but also meant I would get a chance to see how I staked up to these guys on the bike. The official time with run to transition was 12:07, ranked 16th overall.
Here are some pictures of Cameron and I doing T1 (0:28):
It didn't take long for Cameron to come past me on the bike. A short time later Parker also made his way past. Then another guy. Hmmm ... I'm not really used to getting passed like this. By the third time I had resolved myself to ride my own ride and not get caught up in the "race" within the race, although I kept hoping I would make my way up to Mark. Looking at the results, Mark and I were riding the same speed but he was already 1.5 minutes up the road. I just kept turning the pedals and held on to this position for the rest of the ride. The coolest part about this ride is that Paul and Lucas from Harrell's were out on a scooter taking pictures of me and encouraging me along the way. I should have some good photos of my position on the bike to post to the blog soon. Official split was 39:21, 24.4 mph avg, ranked 11th overall.
Coming off the bike I had a quick T2 (0:55) as you can see here, unfortunately there were too many bikes (6) on the rack!
Immediately starting the run I knew it wasn't going to be a pleasant one as I could feel the calf with every foot strike. Much to my surprise I pulled within sight of Cameron before we reached the first offshoot and I started closing the gap. I found out later that his hamstring had cramped which slowed him down quite a bit. Apparently seeing me close to him at the turn around got him going again because I wasn't making anymore progress on him by mile 2. As we closed on mile 3 Aubry came flying past me and I had absolutely no response for him. It wasn't a good run (19:04) and was my worst ranking (23rd) of all three disciplines today. I am most disappointed with the run! Here's a video of me coming into the finish line ... you can tell that I'm protecting my right side.
In the end it was a fun day, as always, but not everything I hoped it would be as far as the result goes. I gave all that I had on the day and have to be content with the effort I put forth. Next year hopefully the result will be better. I just need to figure out how to ride at the level of these guys (and for that matter, swim and run too). I can say for sure that the fire is stoked and that I aim to be more of a factor in the races to come!
In my mind the most impressive performance of the day was Parker Roth who exited the water with Cameron and I and then posted the fastest bike split and ran his way to 2nd place and within 50 seconds of Dan Moss.
I'll leave y'all with some pictures of standout performances from the day (obviously not of me LOL):
Here's a picture of Mark Woody after he absolutely butchered the swim in 10:33
Another flawless (from my perspective) performance from Dan Moss. The guys on the scooter commented after the race on how smooth and fast Dan was riding off the front. Here he is coming in for the overall win.
More pictures from the race