This is a super fun race that I’ve done twice before and I was so stoked to get to overall win. This was the second win of the 2010 season in only my second race. I have a feeling the streak ends next weekend at the Charleston Half where the competition will be ON!
Back in 2007, it was my very first triathlon ever. At the time I was thrilled to not be last in my age group and instead finished right in the middle. The following year (2008) I raced the international distance on a very stormy day where the bike course was shortened due to flooding. Last year I raced the sprint distance again and finished 2nd overall. This year it was once again rainy but without the thunder and lightening of 2008.
Pre-race went pretty smooth even though I let the family sleep-in to the very last minute before rousing them to get on the road down to Aiken, not giving myself much time to do all the pre-race stuff. But I finished setting up with plenty of time for a swim warm-up.
One of the things I like about this race is the beach start. I love running into the water and doing a couple of dolphin dives until the water is deep enough to start swimming. Once swimming I easily found a good rhythm with my breathing and was at the front of the group. There I sat with no one in front of me for about 250 meters before I was passed by Katharine Welling at which time I promptly got on her feet and tried hard to stay there.
Rounding the second turn back to shore she took what seem to me a strange line off to the right. At that point I decided to follow my own line to shore. I’m not sure if mine was better, worse or indifferent but by the time we reached the shore she had 20 seconds on me with everyone else several minutes back. I was 3rd fastest in the water. Gotta give big props to Katharine, she beat all the men and women with the fastest swim of the day!
Off on the bike I made my way up the 2 mile 4% grade and onto the rollers where I passed a few age group guys from the international distance race. I knew I was in the lead at that point but didn’t know by how much so I just kept pushing. I took the turns very carefully hoping not to get loose on the wet and somewhat sandy intersections. Once again the Scott Plasma did me really well with the fastest bike split of the day (thanks Harrell’s!!).
The crowd support was awesome coming in and out of T2. I made my way around the field and back onto the main road where I was able to get an assessment of my lead as the rest of the guys were coming in from the bike. It looked to be several minutes so I just set a solid pace until I could get another time check after the first turn around.
The turn around wasn’t where I expected as it had been pushed back quite a bit. Heading back towards the park I crossed paths with my competition once again and it seemed my lead had grown some. At that point I knew the win was in the bag and that I'd gapped the rest of the field by several minutes so I just enjoyed the rest of the notably-longer-than-5k run. 3rd fastest run with a moderately hard effort.
As I came down the finishing shoot I saw my wife, kids and mom standing out in then rain to cheer me in. I'm really blessed to have such supportive family and friends.
As for the athletes I train, I’m so proud of these guys. Every one of them puts in solid training and just keeps getting better and better.
Chuck Hiers: 5th overall in the sprint, 2nd place Open
Jason Thomas: 6th overall in the sprint with the 2nd fastest run and 3rd place in his age group.
Joe Dannelly: 2nd place Clydesdale, 18th overall in the sprint
Chip Edgar: completed his first International distance in 2hrs 45min with the 18th fastest swim.