Showed up early to get the pick of bike racks and set my self up on the end of the rack right next to the bike in/out. Got settled in and took the bike for a spin on the run course to warm up the legs. I had driven the course the day before but this warm-up reinforced how much fun the rollers would be during the bike and run. Kudos to the race director and volunteers, the transition area was well organized and body marking was easy to find. Another nice touch was carpet coming out of the water all the way to your bike rack. Burning time…headed to the FINISH line for the team picture…the one that was happening 45 minutes before race start. (Note: Race start was at 8:15.) Ran into Wes Johnson on the way… yep, picture was already over. I took a selfie. I’ll be 15 minutes early next time. Time to don my neoprene super hero disguise I really want a wetsuit that looks like Spiderman or Superman.
The swim started and the best part of my race was over 15 minutes 22 seconds later. Lots of chop for the swim, but I was able to keep a steady pace and minimized the zig-zag. I passed lots of other swimmers and ultimately only drank a little bit of lake water. Stumbled out of the water and up the hill to get started on the bike.
Bike mount line was a little tight with lots of folks jammed up right outside the timing mats. No place for my Batman flying bike mount (superhero theme…I don’t know why). Finally got moving and began the rollers. It felt like crosswinds or headwinds the entire bike course, or it could be my lack of miles on the bike in the last few weeks. Most importantly, I held off Rick Greif until almost mile 8 on the bike. So what.. that he’s (almost) old enough to be my dad and that he started 15 swimmers behind me. He told me to look the other way as he passed me on the bike so as not to hurt my feeling (singular), what a nice guy. I watched him pass others as he went out of sight singing, “Merry Mach Tenn to all and to all a good ride”. I thought maybe I’d catch him on the run….Nope.
The run began and I could see that my knee was still recovering from whatever happened at Lake Guntersville. Not wanting to walk the last mile, I kept the pace a little slow starting off. This transitioned to just plain slow thanks to the gentle rolling Tennessee terrain. I was able to add a little go at the end and made better time on my last mile. Probably should have started off a little faster. Great support in the final turn by Rick and Dennis Mix as they provided motivation to finish strong. Either way I finished with no noticeable injuries.
Post race blackeyed peas and cornbread was outstanding. Came in 15/30 in my age group and 174/378 overall. I still enjoy this sport and I’m looking forward to another “PR” at Monster Tri in 2 weeks!! Great work by the volunteers at all of the intersections today on the bike course. The water stations on the run course were frequent and very appreciated.