Having never raced the BLST 70.3, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived in Lubbock, TX for the race. I had heard it was supposed to be warm but hadn’t heard much else about the course. I knew I’d be in for a long day, though, when at the pro meeting, the race director said, “This ain’t no Starbucks racing; this is old school triathlon.”
Being old school, the race began with a classic beach start into a beautiful spring fed lake. I got out well and soon found myself battling for position in the pack. After another minute I was worried about getting trapped by slower swimmers so I moved up and closed a gap to the next guy up the water. This took a considerable effort so I was pleased to be able to grab his feet and rest for a bit. After the first turn, I considered making another move but at this point the first few guys had opened up a sizable gap so catching them would’ve been a very tough task, if not altogether out of the question. I sat in until the next turn at which point I swung a bit wide and tried to open it up a bit for the finish.
Out on the bike, I was shooting blanks. The combination of the hard, no wetsuit swim and a few short hills at the beginning of the ride left my legs really sluggish for the first 5 miles or so. They gradually started feeling better and I settled into a decent grove. Although the course traversed soybean fields and oil fields, the race director somehow managed to find what had to be the only hills in the vicinity for the course. Combined with some pretty strong winds, this was not a course to be attacked short on ammo. Regardless, I felt pretty strong on the back half and kept the power up throughout the ride.
Heading out on the run, I was looking forward to rocking and rolling. From the beginning though, it was evident not only would the bazooka not be available but the machine gun, colt-45, and air pistol would also not be available. Rather, I’d have to show up with a knife… not the greatest idea! I haven’t had too much time to adjust to my new bike position and my quads were not very happy as I started the run. I was moving along decently on the flats but the first steep hill around mile 3 was pretty rough. The second, around mile 4.5, wasn’t any better. Making matters worse, at the top of that second hill was the “Energy Lab” an out and back section which was a surprisingly accurate approximation of the famous Energy Lab section in Hawaii.
I finally reached the turnaround and started heading back, suffering through the rest of the run. There were a number of other Timex Teammates racing, and seeing them on their way out when I was heading back definitely provided some encouragement. Additional encouragement was provided by none other than two- time IM World Champion Craig Alexander! I finally reach the finish and bolted straight for the med tent for a cold towel and IV.
Total: 4:15, 13th
All in all I was pretty pleased with my performance relative to recent training indicators, which have been slightly less than epic. Looking forward, next up is the Chattanooga Waterfront Tri and then Steelhead 70.3 with a few other Timex Teammates. Hopefully we'll be able to step things up by then!