So the season finally started this past Sunday down in St Petersburg, FL at the St Anthony’s triathlon. This is always a big early season race and this year featured one of the strongest fields in the history of the race.
Weekend started well, flying down was no problem and all of Without Limits got a sweet homestay just a couple blocks from the race. Got in Friday and had the day off and then Sat just went through a normal pre-race with a bit of everything to make sure the bike was good and loosen up the body. When we did our swim it was real choppy but I thought that the next morning it would clear up. That was why when Philip (race director) at the pro meeting said that it would continue and might get worse I was a bit surprised.
Of course, the next morning we are rolling into transition and we hear over the mic that the age group swim has been cancelled but the pro’s are still hitting the water. hmm…it was dark but made me wonder how bad it really was. Did my normal run warm up and since the bikes were stuck in transition double checked everything and headed to the water to swim over the start. The warm up swim was a bit rough but doable.
Race started well, got off the beach fast and into the water and was out in front at the start but real quickly realized that about four guys had gotten away and I didn’t feel real strong out there. I saw Andy and we swam together for a while before he gapped me near the end, coming out of the water in 5th feeling a bit unsettled as the swim is supposed to be my strength. Nowhere to go but up, so I transitioned well and took off riding. About five minutes into the ride I realized two things. First, my legs felt pretty strong, better than usual out of the water and I seemed to be getting into a nice rhythm. Having a TT bike makes all the difference in the world and the second thing I realized was that I was hauling. I was eating people up and it was at about the half way point in the ride that I moved into 2nd place. Matt Reed had flatted, but I’ll take what I can get. About 5 miles out Terrenzo went by me, but came rolling into T2 with the 3rd fastest bike split and in 3rd place.
In years past this would have been the point where I began my steady roll down the standings but this year is going to be different, and this race was a good start. I made it to mile 2 before I got caught by Hayes, and then all the way through mile 4 before Charbot, Cunningham, and Raelert got me. Then it was time to buckle down, and for once I did more than just think about it. David Thompson got within 20 meters of me, but I held strong and made it home in 7th for a decent pay day and my first top ten in a major race.
This was exaclty how I had hoped to start the season, with solid three legs and maybe surprise a few people that I might actually be able to run after all. 34.42 isn’t lightning fast but its on the up from last year and I think will be a great starting point.
Finished 7th, foot is still in one piece, made some cash, rode really fast. Good first race! Now back to the grind til Memphis in May.