Race morning was actually quite cool in the mid 70's and was only suppose to get up into the low 90's this was good news. My goals for this race was to enjoy the experience and give a solid effort. I stayed as calm as possible leading up to the race. I made my way to the coral area to stretch out and relax till it was go time. We saw the pro waves go and all the waves in front of us. The swim was pretty straight forward it was a very narrow lake. We had to swim straight out turn 90 degrees to the right and then head about 20m to another buoy were we turned 90 degrees to the right and came all the back to the other side of the lake. I entered the water and actually got a chill, last time I would get the goosebumps for the rest of the race. The gun went off and I headed toward the first buoy, sighting was pretty easy because there was a guy standing on a surfboard that led the wave. All I needed to do was quickly pick up my head locate him and make adjustments if necessary. I had a decent nothing spectacular but strong none the less. I headed up the ramp and had to run about 400yds to T1. My gear was there waiting for me which only had nutrition in it but had to use to put my goggles and cap in. I got my bike transitioned smoothly and headed toward the bike course.
The bike course was a point to point with lots of mountains and absolutely no shade. I made my way through the course and at about mile ten came flying down this hill and went right into the next one and at about the halfway point of the climb I come up on this other rider and at the same time I noticed to my left there is an official. Instead of continuing for the pass I braked and backed off of the rider and got nailed with a 4 minute drafting penalty. I couldn't believe it, I was so dejected. I did come within the bike length buffer we are suppose to leave between each other, so I should of been smart about it and should've just made the pass on the slower athlete. I tried to not let it bother me which was hard mentally. I had to pull off at the next penalty tent to serve my penalty. I kept plugging away drinking as much as I could and consuming gel packs every 1/2 hour. At every aid station I would take two water bottles on to pour all over myself and the other to drink. That strategy worked well. It was so hot out there I never saw myself sweat, it evaporated so quickly. At mile 36 I came up to the penalty tent and thought maybe this will be a good thing let my legs get a reprieve. That was wishful thinking. When heading back out onto the course I had to start going uphill and my legs felt like concrete. It took a few miles to get them going again. I think the 4 minute penalty would have totaled more than 4 minutes but what are you going to do. I finished the bike course ready to get off the bike and onto the run. I needed some change.
I head into the T2 and the K-Krew and Mandy's family, it was a sight for weary eyes. Heading to the run course was a very welcomed change of pace. The run course was 3 loops so it was going to be very congested by the end of the race. Each loop was 2 miles uphill and then 2 miles downhill and somewhat in the shade. I felt like I kept a nice steady pace. My main concern was staying hydrated. At every aid station I grabbed as much as I could water after water after, altering from one on the head to one down the trap. At know point did I feel like I was going to cramp. By the last lap I gave it everything I had and finished with nothing left. It was awesome coming down the red carpet to the finish line and crossing under the archway.
NOTES: I truly enjoyed this experience and soaked up as much as I could. Was a little disappointed in my finish, was hoping to finish better and was extremely disappointed in the penalty I received. I will look back on this experience as stepping stone to hopefully bigger and better things