The swim start was from the shore of the big pond we were going to be swimming in. All the athletes were in the staging area when the first waves went off creating a pretty cool scene. The music was blaring, the starter was yelling out race instructions, and there were fans everywhere. I kept looking for the K-Krew but I could only spot one of them. I had a big entourage for this race Jodi, the Smitties, Mom and Dad, Uncle Jeff and Aunt Robin, and my real good friend Travis. The only one I could spot from the start was Travis he was soaking in all the festivities.
My wave toed the start line, the tips of my toes just barely getting wet, focus setting in not hearing the music anymore not noticing my fellow triathletes. It seemed to be just me and the water. This was the first time in my races that I became so focused. The gun went off and I sprinted as far as I could before plunging head first into the water with the first buoy on my radar. The swim was very comfortable tried to draft off of other swimmers but the water was so cloudy I couldn't stay close to anybody. So I decided to just swim at my own pace and see were it lands me. The swim went well hit a couple patches of seaweed that felt very uncomfortable but other than that navigated my way to the buoys and around the the other athletes to come out of the water 4th in my age group and full of energy. Then I saw the rest of the K-Krew minus Jodi and the Smitties. My dad was yelling what place I was in and how far back I was from the guys in front of me. Made my way to the racks gathered my gear put my swim stuff in the bag dropped it on the ground and I was gone, entering the bike course in 3rd.
The 56 mile bike course was a scenic point to point, with a challenge around ever turn. There wasn't a mile of of flat on the entire course. I made my way through the course passing numerous people from different waves but never came up on anybody from my wave. After the first 10 miles I didn't see another athlete till about mile 46. The K-Krew was keeping tabs on the leaders from my wave and would drive ahead to find them and then stop to cheer me on and tell me were I was. I wasn't gaining on second place and the leader was slowly pulling away. At about mile 46 a peloton of triathletes (about 8 deep in a tight drafting group, even though thats illegal) came up on me, so I stuck with them for a few miles. At this point my legs are starting to fatigue, I gritted my teeth and stayed with them as long as I could. As I entered T2 they were all still I my sights and on my radar screen. I was going to hunt them down and keep them behind me.
As entered the run course my legs came back and felt super strong. In my prerace preparation I never drove the run course which was a big mistake. At this point the sun is blazing on the two loop run course. First half of the loop very hilly and the second part relatively flat. I passed about five of the guys from the group in the first mile and was feeling good, I looked down at my watch at the first mile marker and it read 5:27. "Ut Oh" I thought and turned the corner and looked straight up a massive steep hill, big Ut Oh. I knew at this pace I was probably going to fall apart at some point, just wasn't sure when or how long I could hold on. The group caught back up with me so we stayed together for the rest of the first lap and then we started to disband as the weak fell off the pace. I stayed for about the first quarter of the second lap but then I started to fade. I felt like it was survival at that point. I struggled to keep a respectable pace but finished with everything left on the course.
NOTES: I need to pace better off the bike for this distance. Know matter how good I feel I have to make sure I stay at a reasonable pace for the course, so I don't throw the race away in the first mile again. Still somethings to work out at this distance. My legs felt surprisingly well entering the run. End result happy with for my first race at this length. Excited and fortunate to get a roll down spot for the 70.3 World Championships, I accepted.