After a snappy recovery from the Ford Ironman World Championship I found myself heading south to the white sand beaches of Clearwater, Florida for the Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I was looking forward to a fun race weekend with several of my friends also competing.
Swim - 26:04
As the sun began to rise with very little wind and calm Gulf waters I knew it was going to be a cracker of a day for racing. I found the beach start quite civilized compared to the pre-race jostling, inching forward and chatter that was going on in Kona this year. The cannon blew and we were off. Having a lunch bet on the line with my Team Sport Beans/NTTC teammate Kirk Nelson for first out of the water there was a little bit of extra incentive for a fast start. I had a clean start with a good line and found myself swimming well with a small group. About 800 meters into things the group splintered and I was giving a ride to a couple of guys. I simply kept up the effort and felt good in the water. Upon exiting the water I really did not know if I beat Kirk out, but while sorting things out in the change tent I spotted him coming into the tent after me. Turns out Kirk beat by 30 seconds and got hung up trying to locate his gear bag, thus I was in the tent just ahead of him. I honored our bet with lunch at the Denver International Airport while we waited for the bus to take us back to Boulder on our return.
Bike - 2:13
I was forewarned to be speedy in transition in order to get a jump on the bike. I was also told to not be surprised about groups forming. Early into the bike I found myself in a group of 10 athletes. I am almost embarrassed to reference the fact I was in a "group" as I do not believe this is how a non-drafting, world championship event is to be raced. We had a marshal with us for the majority of the ride and I did not witness anyone full-on drafting, but it certainly made for an interesting 56 mile ride. At times I was frustrated as there was no room to safely get around and pass another athlete and I was forced to actually sit up and coast or soft pedal to avoid a serious draft. The course is virtually flat aside from the short climb up and over the causeway leading away from Clearwater Beach.
Run - 1:16
Throughout the first four miles of the run my dogs were barking. It seemed like it took a long time to get my form rolling. The crowds along the course were very supportive and I actually recognized two spectators who had stayed at the same condo complex as I did in Kona. As I approached the finish line I was pretty stoked to wrap up the 2008 season with a solid effort finishing 36th overall in 3:59.
A huge congrats to my friends JZ (Women's Champion) and Brooke (amateur Women's Champion) for their World Championship titles.
I would like to thank all of my sponsors for their support throughout the race season. I am very grateful to be part of the Team Sport Beans/NTTC family and really appreciate the efforts of Team Director Mark and Stephanie with Jelly Belly. A big thanks to blueseventy, Spira footwear and Mix1 for their support in keeping me swift in the water and on land. I am now enjoying three weeks away from swim-bike-run before getting back to work in preparation for 2009.
Keep it smooth...