I just got back from my week in Tennessee and I gotta say that southern hospitality lives on. Not only did I have an amazing homestay with my man Tom in Memphis but all the people at the race, the hotel, the restaurants are just plain nice. Not to say Boulder is a hard knock place but it put BOCO to shame…anyway back to the race that was Memphis in May (In Tunica MS).
After a couple good days of race prep in Memphis Tom and I headed down to the Harrah’s Veranda hotel for the MIM triathlon. It is an old race that has been going on for years and put on by the same fine people of Start2Finish Racing but this was the first year in a new venue. On the whole I don’t think it was better but just different and the guys put on another great race.
Because of the points that were available for Hy-Vee the race was way bigger than normal and quite stacked with good athletes. The catch at MIM is that it is the only race that plans a TT start with 10 sec going between each pro. It doesn’t sound like much but it really does split things up over the 1500 and make for a truly non-drafting race.
The forecast was for hot and humid with a chance of rain, so of course we woke up to lightning, thunder and pouring rain. By the time our race was supposed to get underway at 10:30 the rain had come and gone and come again and with it some pretty gnarly lightning. After talking it over the directors decided to wait a bit and try again and then after some coaxing from us point hungry athletes we were gonna just do a bike/run in the TT start if we couldn’t swim.
Luckily the weather broke just for a bit and we started the full triathlon about an hour late. I gotta say the TT swim start is really hard because with no mad dash to the water it is hard to get going right away and then just push yourself for the whole swim. I started number 23 but by the time I exited I was in fourth and headed out through a muddy transition onto the bike. After slamming some First Endurace Hulk Juice I hammered the pedals and caught and passed the other riders to take the “lead.” The thing about Tunica is it is flat. I mean like salt flats, speed record setting flat. I averaged almost 30 mph and while I consider myself a strong rider thats a solid number to chuck up for 40K. I built a solid lead and felt ok, but after dodging 2 stray dogs, and riding through an inch of standing water and rain the last few miles I didn’t feel great starting the run. Once out on course I knew I was in a good place but I was having a lot of trouble breathing.
Not sure if it was the humidity or what but I started to have side stiches and then full on chest cramping making it really hard to breathe while trying to run fast enough to maintain my stagger on Gemmell, Fleischmann, and the other top runners. I never felt good but was able to pound out good enough for 2nd place, even if it was by tenths in an essential tie with Flash. Funny how the first sprint finish of my career never happened because we started 50 sec apart.
It was a tough day, in some crazy weather but I gotta thank the guys at Start2Finish again for getting a full triathlon in for us. I know sometimes race directors have to make tough calls but these guys really had the athletes, and the interests of the Hy-Vee qualifying’s best in mind.
Now it is a week here at home before heading down to Austin to Cap-Tex to hopefully keep and add to my lead in the Toyota Cup series. Excited to have my brother and Natalie traveling with me, and excited to redeem my sub par run from this past weekend.
PS. I miss you Grandma, may you rest in peace