Swim: 0.4 miles – 8:37
This was a point to point swim across a little bay in Onset, Mass. The water was pretty chilly since it was the ocean and this is New England. Fortunately for no one, we were headed straight into the wind and the current. I tried to swim a straight tangent, sighting off the final buoy and not the ones in the middle, but giving up the draft of the group was a mistake. The swim was basically amateur hour – I swallowed a few gallons of salt water, my goggles fell off, I decided not to draft anyone, and I kept trying to dolphin dive in neck deep water. I’m honestly surprised no lifeguards tried to save me, given all the flailing and swerving I was doing. In the longest, shortest swim of my life, I finally came out of the water 90 seconds back of Mike, 30 seconds back on Tim Snow, and in a morale crushing 8th or 9th place. I passed 3 guys as we were coming out of the water (see below), and running into transition Brian Hughes (who was prepping for the crowd surfing bike portion of a relay) told me I was in 5th. I got one guy in transition and could see Tim and another guy heading out as I was buckling my helmet.
Bike: 10 miles – 24:25
I immediately dropped the hammer on the false flat heading out of transition and passed a guy to move into third. I now had Tim in my sights, and a good carrot to chase. I knew if I wanted to win I was going to have to come off the bike with a good margin, since the only other time we’d raced, he passed me decisively part way through the run, and despite bridging back to him with a big kick in the last 400m, he managed to hold me off. I really did not want a replay of that scenario, so I just put my head down and rode all out. Fortunately it was one of those days where watts were bountiful and I was really able to hammer. I passed Tim around mile 3 with a huge surge to make sure he didn’t try to stick on me, and continued to push as hard as I could. I couldn’t see Mike given all the twists and turns, and was beginning to worry he was out of reach. Fortunately it’s an out and back course, so at mile 5 I finally saw him rounding the turn-around at the beach. It took me until a half of a mile to go to catch him, and I didn’t have any room to try to gap him heading into T2. I had a fairly slow transition by my standards, as I opted to put socks on, and Mike got about 10 seconds on me. I averaged around 315 for most of the bike, but the average came down to like 310 in the last 1.5 miles with a bunch of turns and bumps.
Run: 5k – 16:47
I took the run out fairly controlled as I didn’t feel particularly great. My feet were still completely numb from the cold swim, and I felt like I was running on pirate pegleg stumps. It also felt like I had 75 rocks in my socks, but I think my feet were just really confused. I managed to reel Mike in within the first half mile, but didn’t pass decisively, and he stuck on my shoulder for almost the entire first mile. I put in a big surge on the hill after the water stop and managed to open up a gap. I had no clue what my lead on Tim was, so I was definitely running terrified. Having the lead is so much more stressful than chasing, and I always picture an entire swarm of dudes just lurking behind me, ready to gobble me up if I falter. Hoping to avoid that, I pushed really hard from miles 1 to 2.5, only backing off a bit in the last half mile to avoid losing my breakfast which was trying desperately to make a reappearance. The steelcut outs I’d woken up extra early to make were so delicious going down, but I was fairly confident they’d be less enjoyable heading the opposite direction. Rounding the last few turns as I could see the finish banner, I finally allowed myself to look back and was relieved to see there was zero chance of globbage unless I face planted. I carefully avoided doing so, and crossed the line with my classic face-melting face – which apparently is the same as my excited I won face.
I ended up taking the win by about a minute, so I was pretty pumped about that. It was definitely a good way to start off the season. It always feels good to win a race no matter how big or small, and it’s even better when it’s an actual race. Carolyn ALSO managed to win handily, sealing the deal a crazy fast 17:35 5k pr after posting the fastest bike split as well. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s always exciting when we both win since zero sulking is allowed post double victory! We also got to hang out with tons of friends after the race – all of whom raced well (shout out to Caitlin, Dan and Emily)- which is probably the best part of local races.