After a much needed 3 or so weeks at home training it was time to hit the road again. This time to one of my favorite cities, and favorite races, at the Philly Tri. This year was the first year that it was being put on by TriRock, and I gotta say on the whole they did a good job of keeping a great race great.
Philly is also home to two of my biggest supporters in Nathan Performance, and Fuji Bikes, and it was great to be able to catch up with many of the wonderful people that work for those brands. In fact the weekend started off by landing at the airport and being picked up and taken to the D&Q bike shop just over the river from Philly in Jersey, yes Jersey with the accent. This is truly one of the largest and most well run shops I have ever been in, and they do a great job of getting a crowd in there for a cool evening of Q&A and some giveaways. That night it was Andy Potts, and I on the mic and the event was put on by both Nathan and Fuji(Kestrel). It was great to meet so many passionate people that are really interested in the sport of triathlon. Not only that but I love giving away free schwag and we did a cool little trivia thing to end the night and hook some people up.
Short caveat, this race for me was as much about trying to do some cool things with my sponsors and trying to give back a little bit to a sport, and the people that have given me so much. That’s not to say the race wasn’t the main focus, because I don’t get the opportunity to defend a title too often and I take that very seriously. Especially with Andy and Matty in the field there is no such thing as an easy day. That said Saturday was a busy day to say the least with some appearances and workouts, and by the end I had decided to challenge myself a little bit and see how tough I could be, racing on tired legs. Enough blabbling, back to the weekend…
Saturday morning I got up early and tried to get in my normal pre race swim/bike/run stuff before the craziness of the day began. For the most part it was a success, minus finding out the pool didn’t open till noon, but everything else went well. At 11 I headed down to the finish line for what turned out to probably be the highlight of the weekend for me, at least a very close second to winning the race. It was the kids fun run, and they had kids from 2 all the way up to 13 running distances from 100m up to a full mile for all the 10 and overs. I gotta say handing out finisher medals and high fives to 3 and 4 years olds after they bomb down the finish carpet was just awesome. It reminded me why I love sports, and why it is so important to never forget about what got me to where I am.
After the fun run it was a quick trip back to the pool to get in a swim, and then pit stop to grab some grub, and on to the next stop at the Nathan booth for some autographs and pics. That was another really cool part of the weekend, getting to meet a bunch of really nice, interesting people who had some great questions and excitement for the next days race. Sometimes you just need those reminders as to why you are doing what you are doing, and this weekend was full of them for me.
Post Nathan booth, I got to hang out with the one and only Bob Babbitt and a few of the other pro’s for a little Q&A session at the expo. Again, it was a great crowd and some good questions. Philly was pretty much killing it as far as the tri scene goes this weekend. Finally it was on to the pro meeting, and then back to the hotel for pizza in bed and some much needed time with the feet up. The next day was going to be super early, and hard, and I was truly excited to see what I could do more tired than normal.
This part of race report is going to be brief, as on the whole this race was a good solid effort all around, but nothing was spectacular and everything could have been a little better. My nutrition from First Endurance was spot on as always, and I didn’t have any issues on the ride or run. In fact it was just a really good all around race. The swim was fast but I felt good and sat on feet. The ride went to plan, trying to turn the screws from the start on the older guys that have started to go a little longer and don’t have that instant speed anymore. The run was the normal catch me if you can. I knew I had put in a good ride on a hard course, and I just tried to hold my form together and stay hydrated on the flat, hot, run course.
Having the opportunity to defend a race title is an honor, because it means you won the year before. Actually defending the title is one of the hardest things in sports, and I always get a little extra satisfaction from doing that because it takes so much hard work, and a little luck, and sometimes things just fall into place. This weekend for me was a great one, and one that was as much about the really cool people I got the chance to meet as it was the race. I have the greatest job in the world, and am so lucky to be able to do what I do, and a big part of that is meeting all the amazing people that love triathlon and life as much as I do.
Cheers Philly, it was a good one, and we’ll have to do it again next year!