|This thing was MASSIVE|
My helmet came unclipped, so I reached up to re-clip it... only it wasn't unclipped. The strap had come completely detached from one side of the clip! So I was clipped in, but not legal to ride. I rushed to tie a quick knot and was so flustered I hopped on my bike inside transition! I hopped right back off, ran to the mount line, and took off once more... for 2 minutes. The knot came undone and I pulled over to try to fix it. The process repeated 2 more times through the first 5 miles of fumbling on bike until I finally decided to really take the time to re-thread the strap back into the clip (which I should have done originally if I were smarter!). By the time I'd dealt with this nightmare of an equipment issue, I was in the 3rd chase pack on the road and 2-3 minutes back from the front of the race and mentally a mess. In the pro-recap video below, you can see me at around the 5:45 min mark playing with the damn thing!
I found myself having to chase hard to catch up to the front of the pack with the rest of the athletes who were toward the back of the swim. It took over an hour at around 320w to pull back to the first group and I really never made it all the way back as I came off the bike about 20 seconds back of the 5-6 man lead pack chasing race leader Andrew Starykowicz. I hit the run in 8th or 9th behind some great runners and in front of a few guys that had the legs to run into the top 10. NOT where I wanted to be, but my legs felt strong and I pushed out of T2 to maintain my position. I made it through the first 5 miles feeling good, but then my lingering hip and joint pain from the past month and a half almost put me out of the race. I was limping slightly by the 1/2 way point and I contemplated pulling out to avoid a pre-mature end to the season due to injury, but I do not want to end the season the way I started it! I thought that if I just maintained forward momentum and avoided causing myself more pain, I would finish and perhaps stay in the top ten. Luckily, I managed to both survive the race and stay in the points with a 10th place finish.
This was a frustrating race because I believe my fitness and speed did not come through in my performance. If I learn how to put on a helmet and sure up my body over the next two weeks, I am looking forward to showing up ready to race at my last event for the year at Rev3 Florida. I'm 5th in the overall series and am looking to stay there or even move up a sport or two with a good result. Given the fact that I'm happy to be able to race at all this year, I've got nothing to lose. I'm taking care of my body and resting up. Hopefully I'll be anxious to write the next race report as soon as the race is over!