Race morning came early with a 6:50am start time, so we were up around 4:30am and at transition just after 5. It was cold and rainy, but not as cold or rainy as Knoxville so in my mind I thought it was a beautiful day. I set up the bike, warmed up, and headed to the swim start ready to go with no issues. The body felt good and I was mentally ready to race. With the Rev3 series being my focus, this was a bit of a B race, but I knew I'd have to bring my A game with the deep field looking for HyVee qualification points. After a quick, chilly swim warm up we were off!
The non-wetsuit swim is usually great news for me, but this time my swim was actually a liability. There's a first time for everything! The first 400m or so were pretty chaotic and I managed to choke on a huge gulp of water mixed with gas from the safety boat... twice. I rolled on my back and coughed a few seconds before getting back to business. I was now firmly stuck in the pack which made me feel boxed and almost claustrophobic. I struggled to catch my breath for most of the swim and felt redlined all the way until swim exit. The whole swim reminded me of the old Clif Bar commercial:
I came out of the water feeling like I was in big trouble, but was pleased to see I had only really lost a few seconds to the other good swimmers in the field like Cam Dye and Bevan Docherty. Good news, but I was spent! I grabbed the bike and went to work. The bike course is a tough, honest course which favors those who have done it a few times. Especially with the rain, knowing the ascents and descents is important so I knew I'd have a bit of an advantage over some of the other guys. I settled in and took my first sip of EFS... and the gulps of gas/water that I took in on the swim came right out, along with whatever was in my stomach! It was pretty nasty and caught me completely by surprise. I felt better afterwards, but not exactly the way I was planning to start my ride! I spent the rest of the ride trying to replace the fluids and electrolytes I'd lost. Again, I was reminded of an old video, this time Family Guy (Viewer Discretion Advised and apologize for my childish mind!):
After I collected myself, I took off in pursuit of the leaders. I slowly picked off a few riders using my heavier weight and knowledge of the course to gain time on the descents. I came into transition in 6th place and with a split that was over 4 minutes faster than the last time I was at this race. Given the rocky start, I was happy with my position and knew I had a shot to hold on to win a bit of money. Similar to Knoxville two weeks ago, I had some great runners behind me. I pushed hard up and down the hills, but Brent McMahon flew by me like I was standing still on the way to the fastest run of the day.
I was just out of the money, but could see Mark Bowstead just ahead of me. In the last mile, it was the reverse of Knoxville and I was the hunter. I did my best, but in the end came up just 4 seconds short! My time was over 3 minutes faster than I'd ever done on the course (5 min faster bike/run, 2 min slower swim with no wetsuit), but this was the first time I'd been out of the top 5! I can't help but be frustrated with the result despite a good effort and solid numbers. I am at the point where I expect to be in the money for any race I enter, which is a positive step for me mentally. However I am realistic about my performance on a B level olympic distance race. This was the first time my swim placement was lower than my overall place and the first time I have had the joy of vomiting during a race.
Looking back, it was a solid day in the office and a stepping stone for the rest of the season. I'm now moving up to the 1/2 distance for the next two races and am excited to get moving toward what I feel is a better distance for me. I'll be racing in two weeks at Rev3 Quassy then three weeks later at Rev3 Williamsburg. Based on the season so far, they will be cold, wet, and close races for me! I can't wait!
As always thank you to my great sponsors and to the race organizers for putting on a great event. Also thank you to the Young family for taking great care of Ashley, Ivan, and I. Until next time... thanks for reading.