It's always tough getting back to the start line after a mid-season break. After my win at Williamsburg, I decided to back off for a week or so and let my body recover a bit. I spent some time with the wife, went to the beach, slept, and ran a bit. It was great while it lasted, but the past month has been a continuous struggle to get back into racing shape. I wasn't out of shape really, but simply not ready to toe the line. I hedged my bets on how much preparation I would need heading into this weekend at Rev3 Wisconsin, and luckily I think I pulled it off pretty well with a 5th place finish.
It seems to be a theme this year with Rev3 Races, but the weather was not cooperating on race morning with pouring rain soaking everything in the hour leading up to the start. The in-water start was actually nice because the water was warmer than the air. With a pretty solid field, I knew I'd have to swim/bike well, so I pushed the pace early in the swim trying to minimize the gap to Dustin McClarty (who was on a different level in the water!). Eventual winner (and modern day Sampson) Cam Dye and I led the chase pack out of the water and onto the bikes.
Ben Collins, Kyle Leto, Drew Scott, Brooks Cowan, and Andrew Starykowicz all jockeyed for position on the ride, but I held my own coming in to transition in 4th place just behind Drew. We were a minute or so behind Ben and a bit over 2 minutes behind Cam. I was 'stuck' in 70.3 gear on the bike and was only a few watts higher than my ride in Williamsburg, so I was happy to have the solid split. My legs felt great hoping off the bike (and through a HUGE puddle of water), so I had high hopes of maintaining a decent position on the run. There's a pretty good shot of my transition in the Slowtwitch gallery here:
I took off pretty quickly and was able to move into 3rd place by the 2 mile marker. I felt fantastic, but again my legs were stuck in 70.3 mode. I was passed by Brooks and Kaleb VanOrt in the later stages of the run, but there was nothing I could do to match their pace. With a quick look back at mile 5, I saw both Kyle Leto and Dave Thompson within striking distance. Knowing my sprint prowess is non-existent, I did my best to dig deep and hold them off heading into the last 400m. As I passed mile 6, I had less than 10 seconds to Kyle so I kicked as hard as I could to get to the line before him. Luckily, I was able to hold on with 3 seconds to spare. It was a bit too close for comfort, but I was happy to come out on the winning end of the 3 way duel. Rev3 caught the finish on video:
In the end, I'm satisfied with the race. I'd prefer it to be longer and of course would have preferred to have been 4 places higher, but given this point in the season and my position in the Rev3 series, I can't complain. I'm back to work already for Rev3 Maine in two weeks, but am really looking forward to the Branson and Florida half distance races!
Here's the official Preview/Recap video from Rev3:
Thank you to First Endurance, BlueSeventy, ISM Saddles, Utopian Coffee, 3Sports, and The Sport Factory for the support. As I continue to win a bit of prize money, I'm continuing my support of the Blazeman Foundation. I encourage any of you kind enough to read the blog to support both the sponsors and the foundation! More to come in two weeks.