Thanks to a ridiculously early 6AM start time, I was up at 3 AM (2 Central!) for the usual pre-race breakfast. It had been raining all night and continued as I ate. While the precipitation had ceased by the time we arrived to the race site, there was still an ominous feel in the chilly air as the landscape was marred by dark clouds and a choppy ocean. Arriving at my bike, I immediately got to work wiping it down in order to affix my gels. After more rushing and prepping for the logistical hassle of having the finish line 50 miles from the start of the race, I was ready to pull on the wetsuit and get head to the start.
At this point, the first of what would be a number of delays came over the loudspeakers; the race would be delayed 15 minutes while the buoys were reset. While I don’t think anyone really minded having a few more minutes before the start, the fact that the race staff was having trouble keeping the buoys in place was indicative of the level of chop in the water.
Eventually they corralled all the pros at the start and were finally ready to get the race underway sometime around 6:30. Before I knew it, we were off! My start was less than stellar. After only a couple of strides in the water I went down hard although I’m still not really sure why. The water level was still low at that point so it was a bit baffling. This left me playing catch up less than a minute into the race. Once everyone was swimming I swam through quite a few people before finally settling with a couple others I couldn’t drop. The water was fairly chopping but the swells were fairly regular so I enjoyed the challenge of trying to maintain a decent stroke.
After getting through T1, it was out onto the bike. Still overcast, the ride was chilly. Right off the bat Lovato came flying by me but I had no chance of staying with him. After that though, I passed Lisska, rode alone for a while then passed another dude and a cramping Cotter around mile 20. I continued on alone until around mile 45 when I was passed by Evoe, Frank, and another guy. I tried to match their pace but just couldn’t respond. Although I was upset about not being able to stay with them, I was hopeful I could ride hard to the finish and catch them on the run.
Coming off the bike I set out to catch the three ahead of me knowing I had plenty of time to run them down. I caught the first guy a little after mile 5 and was still feeling good. Coming through the halfway mark, I was ready to open it up the second half of the run and catch the other two. I kept the pace on and finally reeled in Evoe right after the turn and then Frank around mile 9. Unfortunately, that’s when then wheels came off. I blew up like a champ allowing Frank and Evoe to both re-pass me as I shuffled home the last few miles to a 7th place finish.
Next up: Music City Triathlon in Nashville on 7/24 then Steelhead 70.3 on 8/1