It probably hadn’t been the greatest idea on my part, but I had gotten in a new set of Hed aero bars and front tri spoke to replace the stuff lost in the crash on Thursday and had decided to try replacing the bars on my own. So race morning found me at race site making some final tweaks to my aero bars. Finally, I felt like I had them setup well enough to race on so I headed to the transition area.
This was my first open water swim of the season and the first since the accident. I was a little nervous with my hand, but I felt like I was now a fast enough swimmer to avoid the melay of multiple swimmers passing me and swimming over me. 1,000 yards was going to be a long swim, but I felt ready for it. Turns out it was a long swim and I probably wasn’t as ready as I should have been, but when are you ever… The layout of the course was poor as we turned directly into the sun and couldn’t see any buoys for a while, that probably slowed things up considerably and my pace only ended up being 1:53 per 100yds. Everyone else seemed a little slower as well though, so maybe the course was a little long as well. But it was done, first open water swim out of the way!
After a quick transition, I was out on my bike speeding away. I soon realized the importance of a more through inspection of a new handle bar installation. Once out on the course and in the aero position for a few minutes, I noticed the bars were too narrow. Not so much at the hands, but at the elbows, I was feeling really pinched in the shoulders. So, for the next 17 or so miles, I not only battled the hills and course, but I was constantly shifting trying to get comfortable. I’ll never know how badly this affected me, but I only ended up with a 20.19 mph average. I was glad for the end of the bike and I put all my effort into a smooth and fast T2.
T2 didn’t go quite as smoothly as I might have hoped. I had forgotten that during an aquathon a couple of weeks back, the liner had come out of my shoe and had folded in on itself when I had put it back in. So now I’m standing in T2 trying to fix my dang shoe! Finally, I get the shoe fixed and on my foot, probably causing me to lose about a minute or so of time!
Now I’m out on the run and I feel pretty good. In short order I several runners. However, as I had come in off the bike I had seen several of my “competitors” heading out several minutes ahead of me. One of them, Jason Holland I hoped I could catch, the other, Landon Hough had looked to be way too far ahead. Then I hear footsteps coming up behind me. I slowly get passed but not decisively so I pick up my pace and tuck in behind this person. A couple of minutes late I hear someone cheering him on, it’s Eric Chavez. I don’t know if I had ever raced him before, but I knew he had beaten Landon in a tri earlier this year so I decide this run is going just fine.
It’s a 5 mile run and I can’t remember the last 5 mile race I had done, so I’m definitely hurting. Eric continues to set the pace and the miles slowly tick by. Soon we catch up to Jason which I had kind of doubted I could do. A few times I felt like I could speed up a little and drop Eric, but I decide to stay with him and not risk blowing up. With about a mile to go, Eric picks up the pace and I struggle to match it. Soon I can’t and I slowly watch him pull away. It’s all good though as he’s in a different age group and he’s helped me run at 6:47 pace for 5 miles! I end up 5th overall and 1st in my age group!!