A little belated, but here’s a quick report from Tri the Midlands:
The swim was awesome (apart from the hot water). I swam in the Xterra Velocity speedsuit again … I LOVE that thing!!!! The Open division had ITU-style swim start where we lined up on the dock and had a dive start. That was a lot of fun, but I did take on a little water in the goggles. No biggie. Felt strong in the water, but never latched onto any feet. I think we were all pretty much strung out. My arms burned but my breathing was calm and steady. I was the 5th Open male out of the water (of 10), and ranked 8th overall among the men (255). Until I typed this I didn’t realize how much swim ability drops off outside of the Open div … I was top 3% overall, but only 50% in the Open division. Swim time (with run to transition) 7:40. Still so work left to do here …
Running into T1 I could see Woody and Mike Wendt at their bikes so I knew my swim was pretty good. Parker is one speedy dude all around. He came into transition after me and was out well before me. I think getting out of the Velocity cost a bit of time here. For reference, Parker was in and out in 44 seconds to my 1:03.
Before we made it out of the Lake Carolina community I had a school of fish in sight (Mike Wendt and Ryan Payne). I was gaining ground on them and watching the battle ahead. Soon enough Mike passed Ryan and was on his way down the road. I caught Ryan around mile 4 pushed past him pretty hard. This was right after the turn on Langford Road, which was the fastest and most fun part of the course. By the end of Langford I had almost bridged the gap to Mike. I made my move on him around mile 10 on Mickle Road. Mike hung with me for the final mile 4.5 miles which had a lot of turns, traffic circles, etc and he entered T2 behind me by 7 seconds. Bike time was 36:44, 3rd Open, 6th overall
Jerking my feet out of the bike shoes my calf locked up with a cramp. Not a good sign but what can you do? Time, 49 seconds.
Starting out the run I felt good. The calf cramp seemed to be totally gone. It was getting hot and I need to open the jersey a little to get some air to my core. The zipper on the Craft jersey is just like the Xterra Velocity in that it is a break-away zipper if the zipper is flipped up. Somehow in trying to open it up a bit the zipper broke away and all the sudden I was running with a wide open jersey. I tried to fiddle with it for a bit but gave up as I had to sacrifice some pace to mess with it. Oh well, who care how I look anyway … let’s just concentrate on this run. This is a brutal run course. It is very undulating until all the sudden it goes straight up to the turn around, and then straight back down, then undulating again. This year the course was changed such that we ran on the road on the way to the turn around and then on the bike path on the way back. Theoretically you are covering the same amount of elevation gain and loss, but the run this year seemed way harder than last year. I think running on the road isn’t as gradual of a climb and increases the grade in certain sections. Perhaps last year when I raced in the age group, having people up ahead to run down made it go by quickly?? Whatever the reason, this little 5k was one of the hardest runs I’ve endured. I knew there were fast runners coming for me and I could see that I was losing some ground to Woody and that long hill seemed to go on forever. I think the hardest part was hitting the undulating part the second time, after climbing the hill. I was tapped out. I gave it what I had (which wasn’t much) and ended up running a disappointing 20:45, 6th Open, 13th overall.
In the end it was 1:06:59 for 6th place overall.
Coincidently JB also put up a 1:06:59, but apparently his was some 10th or 100th of a second faster than mine, which gave him the 5th spot. Unfortunately since he’s not racing Open it didn’t come down to a sprint finish between us (which would have been AWESOME). Instead we have to let the clock sort it out and it is what it is. Oh well, next year he’s racing Open Masters so we’ll be going head to head. Fun stuff!