Race morning brought some unusually cool weather with lots of cloud cover and rain threatening. Instead of parking in the designated grass lots we opted to go with JZ's suggestion of parking our cars just outside the park and riding via the back route. This worked great with an easy spin down to transition. I taped a small flashlight to my helmet since I did not have my headlamp. After the standard routine of bodymarking & getting things sorted in transition I saw coach Z. We chatted briefly before I went about my business and completed a warm-up run. I was set to go and headed down to the beach...
The air was cool and a wetsuit would have felt kind of toasty, but it was a non-wetsuit swim for the pros. I decided to get in and use the time to warm-up in the water. After gathering us on the beach there was an invocation given by a local Native American. Moments later we were instructed to cross the timing mat and then, without any type of countdown, the horn blew. I still had my stinking goggles on my head! This is one of my favorite races, but I must admit this year's "swim start" was a freaking circus...instead of running straight ahead into the water the field ran along the shore line. I found myself running, dolphin diving, running, dolphin diving, running and finally swimming. At one point I heard a spectator shout, "C'mon it's a triathlon!". I concur and this start was comical. I like to run, but trying to run in shallow water with rocks, sticks, debris and who knows what did not make much sense to me. My friends in the following waves said everyone was laughing at us. Apparently all the other waves proceeded with this same backwards-ass start. I honestly had no idea of my positioning once we started swimming, but found my rhythm and seemed to be in the third chase pack. The swim layout was a bit different this year with a diagonal portion before hitting the back stretch and I was feeling pretty good in the water. Upon exiting the water I was not surprised to find myself in T1 alonside my friend AJ Johnson and a few others. It seems like AJ and I always come out of the water together and this race was no different despite the unorthodox start. Swim split - 27:27
With our bikes racked very close to the mount line I opted to put my cycling shoes on in transition. This was a good decision as I was able to make an aggressive move passing a few athletes who were working to get their feet in their shoes before we hit our first steep hill right out of T1. My focus was on fueling and making some contact with the guys up the road. Along the first out and back section my buddy Pat Evoe passed me and I knew I would have to work hard to stay with him. I made a go with it, but he was able to get a good gap on me. With the wind and rain it made for some cautious riding on the technical downhills and I found myself not hydrating as much as I planned. Through a few out & back sections I noted I was closing on a couple of guys, but losing time to many. Bike split - 2:26
AJ caught me just outside T2 and once on my legs after a swift transition I was able to get out just ahead of him in 11th place. My legs felt pretty good early in the run, but around mile 2-2.5 I began to cramp a bit. I've experienced this before and was confident I could manage things and still maintain a decent pace. I knew there were guys up the road who might be within range. I was getting good feedback on the course of my position and simply focused on maintaining a good turnover and fueling through the aid stations. Nearing the run turnaround out in the "Energy Lab II" I found myself in 10th position with Brent Poulson (Canada) and Pat in 9th & 8th respectively. My legs seemed to be feeling better as the run progressed and I noted I was closing the gap on these two. I passed Brent just inside the park and continued to work. With no sun looming over us the conditions were pretty decent for the half marathon. At about the 11 mile mark I caught Pat and we exchanged some words of encouragement. I finished the day with a 1:17 run and overall time of 4:14. Not blistering, but a solid day as I look towards IMUSA in three weeks!
One of my favorite things about BSLT 70.3 is the fact they pretty much give away IVs. It was quite apparent I was dehydrated as it took them four sticks to finally find a good vein that wasn't "collapsed". After getting a good drip I enjoyed watching many of my friends come across the line. Boulder was well-represented at this event and a huge congrats to all on their races! I really appreciated the words of encouragement from Coach Z and others along the race course.
Have a safe, healthy & happy holiday weekend!
Keep it smooth...