St Anthony’s is one of my favorite races every year. There are a lot of reasons for the love, but mainly its because it was the first major triathlon that I won in 2010. Since then I have gone back every year looking for a second title, and every year for one reason or another come up a bit short. This year leading into the race I have been running as well as ever and my swim and ride are on par with last year, so going in I was confident that maybe this would be the year.
The morning of the race I woke up to a relatively calm day, which if you know much about this race in particular you know that is a bit rare. Starting my morning off with my usual oatmeal and First Endurance breakfast and felt good as I headed out for my warm up.
I didn’t manage my time very well before the race and shorted myself on a swim warm up, but after a few strokes I headed back to the beach to walk over the mat and head out to the swim start. Now I totally understand the race director moving the swim to a more protected area after all the cancelled swims in the past, but not having the beach start really is a shame. For whatever reason guys always feel like getting those 2 feet in front of the buoy’s during an in water start will make their race so as soon as we are out there everyone begins the creep. At least this year they didn’t do a count down so the creep was a lil bit more restrained than years past and when the canon went off I hit the gas and tried to jump on Josh’s feet.
Now I know he is fast and with Hunter Lussi in the race it would make for a quick start, but I just wasn’t able to get up to speed fast enough and as fast as I was on his feet, I was watching them kick away up the course. Leading the chase group always sucks because you realize you are losing time to the leaders and everyone else is using you for a free ride, but I hate going backwards so I did my best to stay on the gas and minimize the damage. By the end of the relatively calm swim be were about 45 sec down, but more importantly there was a big group of us.
Most times that isn’t a big deal as things get quickly spread out in the first part of the bike, but the way the St Anthony’s bike course is designed it makes it tough to break guys and every year there is a big group of riders essentially soft pedaling along together using the “legal” draft to its fullest. The stagger rule is fine under no wind, or head wind conditions, but in St Pete there is always a swirling cross wind, so the rule actually provides a perfect echelon draft. People say “just play the game,” but thats not my style and in the case of sitting in the group I guess I am just too stubborn to stop trying to beat the field from the front!
Anyway, back to the race, I was a little disappointed to be so far back out of the water but right away I was on the pedals and making up ground. However, the effort I threw down in the first half of the race may have cost me a bit on the back end, and I never quite fell into the groove I am accustomed to at this race.
I was able to put together a 45 sec lead off the bike, but having spent the better part of the ride struggling to get comfortable I wasn’t sure how the run would pan out. I did what I could to maintain the lead until about mile 3, but then I hit the turnaround realized exactly how big the peleton had been as I started counting about 15 guys chasing me down.
I wasn’t feeling good and at that point was frustrated by the lack of “non-drafting” that had gone on but I knew it didn’t matter in the end and I needed to harden up and get to the line for some decent 5150 points. I was able to get things together over the last couple miles and stop the bleeding at 7th place, but by no means was happy with the race.
Bright side, I got a few points for HyVee, but ended the race thinking that more than ever St Anthony’s needs to be a TT start to keep the race a triathlon, and not group ride.
Rev3 Knoxville in 3 weeks, time to sort out how to run 10 miles!