The start of the race is a dash across a sloping grassy stretch, maybe 75 yards, until a fairly narrow pathway is reached. This is always the fastest part of the run as the competitors try and get to the front before being funneled into the narrow pathway. I was with the front few reaching the pathway and once the pace settled down there was only one other competitor who was ahead of me and he was setting a brisk pace. I didn’t recognize him, but I was guessing it was Brian Schoenholz whom I had seen on the entry list. I knew he could run, but based on last years bike splits I didn’t expect I would have any problem putting some time into him on the bike, he had averaged 18mph the previous year. I stayed with him initially and then he slowly pulled away. As we finished the first run, he had about a 15 second lead on me. I was quickly out on the bike, and he was still in sight so I hadn’t lost any time in T1.
For the next 7.6 miles I attempted to pull him back but couldn’t seem to make any progress. It was really windy and I didn’t feel like I had any zipp in my legs. I hadn’t tapered at all for this race and it is possible the 40+ miles of running I had put in throughout the week was affecting me. As I pulled into T2, Brian had increased his lead to 35 seconds. Knowing this I hammered T2 and made it out in 28 seconds cutting his lead by 13 seconds down to 22 seconds. Unfortunately 1.5 miles wasn’t enough space to make up the remaining time and I ended up in second place by 12 seconds.
I was disappointed to have finished second for a third time, but at least it was close. It is still early in the season and the extra running I’m putting in now will pay back big dividends later in the year. Fifty-five miles of running last week, sixty this week, and then next week I’ll cut back some to prepare for Race for Sight.