Met up Friday morning in the FAC parkinglot with my buddy Curt, Dennis, Barry & Laura for the trek down to Lubbock. Plan was to leave shortly after the 7am masters swim practice - Curt & I driving down in his comfy, Texas-sized Chevy pick-up and the other three in their swank Timex hybrid which can parallel park itself. Curt & I, despite shaved legs, were definitely going to blend in better once across the Texas border. Then again, perhaps not, with two time trial bikes secured in the bed of his truck. The travels went seamlessly aside from one of my aero bar pads being lost despite having it taped down (even funnier was losing the other one the day before the race on my pre-ride while sitting up at one point and not even noticing it being stripped from my bike in the wind. Had to roll old-school on raceday with layers of terricloth towel). With the largest & most competitve field I've seen assembled in Lubbock on both the men's & women's sides along with a forecast for some classic wind & heat the stage was set for an exciting day of racing...
Swim (26:29) - Just prior to our start there seemed to be a bit of confusion between the race directors and athletes on the direction we were to go - left or right of the first buoy. Always some entertainment at the start of this race. In talking with other athletes swim was short. I lined up in a good spot on the right and managed a clean, aggressive start. Felt decent as things unfolded then goggles fogged up so bad I had to stop and clear them. Never a good thing when trying to stay with a group. Fell back from original group and finished swimming alongside Alex McDonald and Craig Howie.
Bike (2:24) - Felt the best during this portion of my race and rode about four minutes faster than last year. Kept things relatively controlled through the first 20 minutes and then set about building my effort. Fueling was effective, but noticeably low on electrolytes as the legs had that familiar twinginess of cramping around the 45 mile mark. I was able to maintain a good mental focus and catch one other guy while keeping pace with Alex & Craig.
Run (1:20) - Onto the run it was difficult to get things rolling as I was trying to fight off the cramps. I passed Alex & Craig within the first two miles and worked to maintain my pace without cramping. The aid station volunteers are top-notch at this race and I was able to take in what I needed through each mile. Heck, one volunteer even ran up to me with a cup of Gatorade as I missed it while going through his station, allowing me to maintain my pace without slowing. Approaching the first long hill and steepest of the three on the run course, I was really concerned about my legs cramping. I kept the stride very short and it was slow-going up the hill and the others that followed, but at least I was moving forward without having to stop. Running along the two mile out & back stretch it was apparent Chris Lieto was in control of the race. I was glad to see my teammate, Ben Hoffman running strong in fourth not too far behind TJ Tollakson. This portion of the course gave me the opportunity to size up the competition and check the time gaps. At this point I was running in 15th and knew I would really have to dig deep to run into the top 10. After making the turn-around the legs finally came around and I was able to run strong to the finish passing Stephen Hackett, Joe McDaniel and Andrew Hodges within the final four miles crossing the line in 4:14 and in 12th place.
It was great to see so many friends from Boulder and Austin racing. Congrats to my teammates, Ben and Jessica Jacobs, for their podium finishes - way to represent the team! It was another fun race weekend in Lubbock and I especially enjoyed the opportunity to speak at the IronPrayer service hosted by FCA-Endurance.
Thanks again to my sponsors, family & friends for their continued support!
Keep it smooth...