Its been almost a year since I crashed my bike at Challenge Atlantic City. Over the course of the past year, I’ve been pretty hesitant to race. I’ve had concerns about my fitness, consistency and most important whether or not I’d crash again. Yes, I completed Ironman Florida last November but I wasn’t actually racing, more surviving.
Even thought I have not been as consistent as I like to have been over the past few months (sometimes my personal life takes over), I was super excited to be racing last weekend. The Seaside Sprint Triathlon was about as friendly of a race as possible — .5 ocean swim in perfect 64 degree water, 10 mile two loop bike on a very flat course and an out and back 5K along the seawall (as an aside, this was also my first race as F35-39 — stupid December birthday).
The race itself was awesome.
Swim — The race was at low tide so both the start and finish of the swim were pretty shallow (dolphin diving on the way out and running through shin deep water on the way in). When the water was deep enough to swim, I felt really good. Even strokes, decent lines to the turn buoys and not getting entangled with other swimmers; it helps to be in the first wave. As almost always I swam alone but for a half mile swim that wasn’t really a bad thing.
Bike — Once out of the water I booked it through T1 and got onto my bike. I’m still a little nervous about my race wheels (HED 3s) so I rode on training wheels. The bike was flat and fast. Very flat and fast. The only things to slow me down were four hairpin turns and a little bit of cross wind. The first loop of the bike was pretty empty (again, its nice being the first wave). The second loop was much more crowded, but all the passing was fun, kind of like biking in a NASCAR race. I finished up in under 30 minutes and negative split the second loop, both really good things. The most impressive part of the bike was the bike etiquette of a group of high schoolers racing with Tri Latino. They were the most fantastically courteous and encouraging group of athletes I have ever seen. A huge shout out to their coaches for a job really well done.
Run — I was worried about the run. I biked fast (or fast for me) so I was little worried about my ability to hold any kind of pace on the run. Coming about of transition I saw 7:50s on the watch. I was scared that there was no way I could hold the pace so I decided to ignore the watch and just run. It worked. I held pace for all three miles (I probably could have even pushed it a little faster) and finished the 5K in 24 minutes.
Overall I finished in 1:10, good enough for 2nd place in F35-39 (hooray). I didn’t break any speed records but it was a good confidence builder for Challenge Atlantic City next week.