All smiles post the race...and an IV :) This is one of the few races where the medical staff actually asks if you want an IV. Race morning brought cloudy skies with not too much wind which I figured would make for a rather hot affair considering the upper 90 degree temps the day prior. After getting in transition I realized I forgot my cycling shoes in the car. No problem though as I had plenty of time to walk up the steep heel out of transition and back to the car. As I was organizing things once back with the shoes an official asked me to fix my race number on my bike. I was #16 and it looked like #91 on my frame...oops! A quick adjustment and I was set to go through my warm-up before the swim start.
Swim (26:28) - The swim in Lubbock is done in a lake which is fed my spring water. Every year a couple of athletes at the pro meeting inquire about taking a vote to not use wetsuits. Mike Greer, the race director, simply stated wetsuits are optional...love it! I had a good warm-up and was ready to go. After we gathered for the beach start, for some reason everyone made a quick dash on the beach to our right. The horn sounded and we were off. The lead group which included Chris Legh, Tim DeBoom, Adrea Fishers and few other sharks were quick to separate themselves from the main field. I found myself in a small pack and after the first turn buoy it seemed I was with only one other athlete who was enjoying the draft on my feet. As we made out way through the long back stretch I decided to ease up and let this character do a little work. He went by and I immediately settled on his feet for the remainder of the swim. As we exited the water I was surprised to find several athletes in front and just behind us. I had a swift transition and headed out of T1 just ahead of James Handley, Natasha Badman and Jason McMillian from Jack & Adam's in Austin.
Bike (2:26) - After the first steep climb out of transition I worked hard over the rollers to the park exit. The winds were being kind and I was focused on briding any gaps and putting distance between me and the others who I knew would be coming. Just before the first aid station Patrick Evoe and Jason (both race for Jack & Adam's) passed me. I was not surprised by this as I knew both these guys can bike. My plan was to work hard to maintain contact with them. Something just did not feel right though as these guys were able to drop me with ease. I continued to work and rode through the leading women before hitting the first turn-around. Chris, Tim and Paul Matthews (Australia) were well out in front with a good group of guys following. As I made the climb out of the first canyon, Natasha passed me and also rode away from my sights. I stayed calm despite some frustration from how I felt and the data from my Ergomo. I held my position in 11th through the rest of the ride and maintained a present focus on my fueling. My bike split was six minutes SLOWER than last year and it was not until after the race I noted my rear brake had been rubbing every so slightly to disrupt the normal wheel rotation...ugh!
Run (1:18) - Exiting T2 I knew I would have to run well to make up for precious lost time on the bike. I had not done any interval work before this race after coming off my injury and figured I would need to dig deep and keep working until crossing the line. I felt pretty good as I found my running legs and hydrated through the aid stations. As I ran towards the backside of the lake I took a look across to see if I could spot anyone. No one in sight. Upon reaching the first hill out of the park my left hamstring began to cramp and I had to ease up a bit to avoid a full-blown cramping episode. I was able to manage it with my Endurolytes and fuel from the aid stations. I did not see anyother atheltes until I reached the long out & back section to the turn-around. Chris was running strong out front and I encouraged him with a few words as we passed each other. I finally ran down Natasha and soon after that Jason. As the others were making their way back from the turn-around I took note of the gap and was not too sure if I could catch any other guys. Through the turn-around I simply focused on my effort and fueling. After six miles I felt like I was finding a good rhythm and began to press my effort. Once back in the park and near the backside of the lake, several age groupers were giving me feedback about the two guys who were apparently within range. The BSLT 70.3 run course around the lake is such that you can not really see your competition and creates the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality. I knew I would have to keep working through the run, especially over the final three miles and through this portion of the course. My effort paid off as I was able to catch and run by James Hadley (Great Britian) and Brent Poulsen (Canada) within the final half mile to finish 8th overall in 4:14.
Although my time was eight minutes slower than last year, I was pleased to cross the line in good health and secure a top 10 spot. Once again there were lessons learned. I think that is part of the reason I have such a passion for triathlon...no race is the same. It was a fun race weekend in Lubbock and I enjoyed catching up with the Austin peep. A hearty congrats to all those from Boulder who raced. I am grateful for the support from my sponsors, coach, family & friends.
Keep it smooth...