Having come off Lake Placid a month earlier I had about two weeks of "getting back in the groove" training but felt confident I could put down a decent showing for this race. Pre-race was unremarkable and as the gun went off I quickly figured out that these guys must be ex-swimmers. Way faster than me that is. About a quarter of the way through the swim I made a tactical error and let one guy gap me, missing the draft and thus swimming most of the swim solo. I came out of the water in fifth (23xx) and played catch up from then on.
If I had any shot at being in the podium I had to get into contact on the bike. I held 280w for a while and tried to get some splits to guys up the road. Two guys were way ahead and another about a minute, but I couldn't seem to close them down, despite the very familiar rolling course suiting my strengths. Making little progress on closing the gap I faded a bit toward the end of the bike. (1:01; 279 NP).
I started the run and settled into my default olympic run pace. It seems I've turned myself into a diesel and have one running speed. I got a split that I was about two minutes down to third place. The run course was a two loop, with a significant climb from mile 1.5-2.25 and downhill to 3.1. On the second loop I got word I was closing on third and that he was "really struggling". I dug a little deeper on the uphill section and finally made visual contact with third. He wasn't having fun and looked over his shoulder several times. I was closing the gap until the course started downhill. After that there was no more closing to be done and that was that. (36:48)
I finished fourth in a 2:02xx. In my experience, fourth is the most disappointing place to be in. I was satisfied that I left it out on the course, but less than pleased with the result. But that is racing, and considering all the circumstances I didn't dwell on it. Looking at the results and seeing that my bike and run splits were comparable to the top guys was reassuring I'm doing a lot of things right and it comes down to what distance one prefers to race. I know if I choose to focus on some shorter races next year, I will need to improve my swimming.
The cool thing about this race is it was organized by my friend Rob as a benefit for his new non-profit, raising money for Neurological Research. It's just getting going but you can check out his FB page or this short news article. At the end of the day when there's a well organized race, with competition that pushes you AND it benefits a good cause, it will be on my "must do" list for next year.
Photo Credits: Freshwater Photography. Check out her FB Page!