Well, the reason I decided to race Salina just a week after my Manhattan race, was that due to timing and moving issues coming up, I wouldn't be able to dedicate the time I'd wanted to race the REV3 Branson 70.3 race, so instead of shelling out $275 bucks, plus travel, and not really being satisfied with my results, I'd save the money, continue to train until next year and ramp up with some Olys to get ready for this task next year. So I'd decided to race local and get some more fitness under my belt for next year.
Well anyway, I got up for the second straight Sunday at the butt-crack of dawn (well, it was still dark until after I got to the race site), loaded up and headed out, rocking out with the road clear and loud music. I arrived about an hour later, picked up my packet, got all marked up, set up the transition (which has been a nice change this year, they have been fast), and headed out in search of the potty. This is always the thing that happens when I get set up, part of my routine, so I do it!
As it turns out, this was going to be a small race, since school had started, so no kids in the race, as well as this was the first year in a new spot. The fact that the distance was very odd (300 yard swim, 22.5 mile bike, 4.5 mile run) placed it in the pseudo-sprint / short Olympic race, but I didn't mind too much. This distance played a bit towards my strengths.
Whaaaaat!? Andrew can swim?
Guess they had some photos of me! Me getting ready to get wet
SWIM: 5:12 (1st in AG, 8th overall)
We started in a self-seeding, time trial start, and I think I nailed my seeding as I was about 15 people back, never got close to the guy in front of me and not letting the lady behind me catch up to me (I got a little scared in the middle of the swim!), but I think that I was thinking I would be about 5:30-6:00 for the swim, but again, there was a nice 200 meter run to the T1, so for all I know, I could have been about in the high 4:00, but either way, with minimal swimming, I am respectable at least and only loss about a minute to the top swimmer, so not shabby.
T1: 0:30 (1st in AG, 4th OA)
I have been hitting my transitions very well this year, and I think it helps keep my momentum going for the race. I have been keeping it simple this entire year, and I think I can cut my T2 times down, I can make a little more bank. But right now, I am happy with the T1
BIKE: 1:20:34 (1st in AG, 7th OA)
This was a lot longer than my usual bikes, but I had a good plan going into it. Hammer the upwind portion, take it easy in the side / headwind, and on the last stretch, keep going hard. Well it took me a bit to get going on the bike and picked off a few riders, and once we hit the northbound leg, it was with the wind and slightly down hill. But since this was a nice long block route, you get the wind from all angles, but in the group that was all close together, about 5 of us that were within eyesight of each other, we all were about the same speed. I was much better than 3 of them on the climbs and made up ground, only to give it away on the flats. But I caught and lead the group of 5 for about half the race and I didn't see anyone else in front of me for the longest time, and I started to think that I might be in the lead. I pushed that from my mind as I started to eat a bit on the bike and the 4 others caught back up with me and passed me, I hit a little lull, then picked it back up to chase mode, to try to get back in striking distance to them. As we got back into town, I passed one other guy and the other three were just ahead of me as we rolled into T2 very closely packed. I was happy to see that despite how close we all were on the bike course, I didn't see any drafting when I was towards the back, it was nicely spaced out. But my legs felt a little toasted in the middle of the ride, but I knew the first 100 yards out of T2 would tell me how my legs were.
T2: 1:00 (3rd in AG, 28th OA)
As usual, my T2 has been ugly and this time was no different. I had a little issue with socks (note to self, get a pair of sockless shoes for next year), and I racked my bike backwards, so I had to rack it right because in a bigger race, I might get a penalty for that, so practice makes perfect. But I got all my gear, and got out in 60 seconds, but it was still slow as three guys I was with on the bike, exited before me, so I went into chase mode right away.
Heading in to the finish line in my old kit
RUN: 31:06 (1st in AG, 4th OA)
I did chat with a guy as he passed me, stating that I couldn't wait for the run, and boy was I right. The first few steps, my legs felt great and fresh and ready to race this different distance. 4.5 miles is border-line for me right now with my run fitness (endurance, not speed) and it would be redline the entire way! It took me about 2/3 of a mile to catch the guy I thought was in first out of transition, and he jokingly asked if I wanted to run with him, but I wanted to get some distance in case I was in first and just go until I blow! So I clocked my first mile in 6:22, so yeah I was feeling good. We turned on to a nice long stretch down a levee, and it was hot. I ended up skipping the first two (of three) waterpoints, which was a mistake as the temperature rose. I continued to look ahead to see if anyone else was there, and there wasn't, so I began thinking I might actually win this thing, which was nice to keep my mind off of my legs and the heat. But I maintained a nice pace the rest of the way, and caught a second wind and finished semi-hard, not close to puking. I walked around and checked the results (Oz Endurance has an up-to-the-minute results tracker that scrolls, and is VERY cool) and that is when I noticed that I was third. Those time trial starts always get me, but the winner beat me by almost 9 minutes and I missed 2nd by a minute, but overall, I was happy with my race, at an odd distance, but I think that it might be time to move up in distances.
Finishing it up at the line
OVERALL: 1:40:20 (1st in AG, 3rd OA)
I was happy for my results and my effort, but still in looking at the overall winner, I still have a bit of a ways to go. But one more triathlon in this season for me, the Fort Riley Splash and Dash, where I hope that I'll have the home field advantage over the field. But we will see I guess! I guess I'd better get back to training then!