I don’t know if anyone has actually done all 35 St Anthony’s triathlons, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was someone. I’m pretty proud of the 10 that I have done. Every year I feel like this race encompasses all the things I love about triathlon, from the tough field of pro’s to the amazing community that comes together around the race.
I went down to St Pete for the 10th time hoping to collect a fifth win and a fourth in a row. I had little doubt that after the prior weekends race in Huntington Beach that I was fit and ready to go, but also that Eric and Jason were in top form. My day started well, leading the swim from the canon to the shore but after a couple small bobbles in transition and on my mount my race slowly went away up the road. Its kind of ironic that Eric took my strategy and used it against me but hats off to him as he was simply riding better than all of us. I tried to keep my head in the race knowing that I was still in second with a decent gap to the rest of the field but I will fully admit that not coming off the bike in the lead for the first time I think in my last 8 races there was definitely not a good feeling. I ran ok, held it together and only got caught by a fleet footed Jason in the last mile which kept me on the podium but clearly a couple steps short of the goal.
However, as I crossed the finish line in 3rd I had this weird desire to clap to the crowd like a soccer player does when they get substituted out. Just something small to say thanks for the many memories that St Pete and its wonderful community have given me over the years. After ten starts it is definitely the race I have done the most times, and with it being my first every major pro win it will always be the most special to me. Simply the fact that the pro race still exists, with good many, and great support from Susan and her team is a testament to the race with the way most non drafting olympic races have gone by the wayside.
I want to take a minute and say thanks to the Mad Dogs Tri Team and their amazing support of the pro race. Since the first time I ever went down to St Pete their members have been offering home stays for any pro that wanted one. I was placed with an amazing mother-son combo that made my first few years there feel like home. I have a plaque on the wall behind my desk with the newspaper from the day that I won St Anthony’s the first time that was made and shipped to me by Toni and Shayne. Now every year when I go back I get to go to the potluck on Friday night and see all the familiar faces and catch up with some of the nicest people in the world. They love triathlon, they love racing, and they love getting together over the two. I also need to give a special thanks to Kathy who has picked me up at the airport every single one of these ten years I have been going down there. Its truly the only flight to a race I look forward to all year, like my grandmother was going to be picking me up at the airport.
St Anthony’s is everything that is good about triathlon and the community of people it can bring together. If you have never gone down to St Pete for the race I highly suggest you put it on the bucket list, and if you have, then you know why you should be heading back.
Now its time to get ready for another regular on the calendar that I always look forward to at Escape from Alcatraz. Its one of the races that I have always wanted to win, and this years stacked field is plenty of motivation to get to work over the next three weeks to get ready!
P.S. On a side note my brother go married this past weekend and it was awesome! He and I both out kicked our coverage!