This past Saturday (4/29) I kicked off my Triathlon season with the annual sprint triathlon hosted by Mount St. Mary's college. It's not a huge race, about 300 racers, but it does attract a decent field as everyone in the Mid-Atlantic is itching to race come April/May, and this is one of the first races on the calendar each year.
On top of the excitment of putting all of those hard winter training miles to the test, I also had extra motivation. In this race last year, I was riding towards the front and feeling strong, when I overshot a turn and crashed, ending my day. It was my first (and only) crash and it has stuck with me for the past year. It has taken a long time and a lot of riding to try and wipe away some of the hesitance and anxiety that I would get when going down a big hill or leaning into a sharp turn.
So race day brought some less than perfect weather (cool, windy and wet). The swim was a TT start and was pretty uneventful and I cam out right about where I thought I would, a few minutes behind the first swimmers. I got on the bike and started hammering. This was my first race on my new Argon and with my new Baucco Squad kit. I think between those two, and all the training that A.J. has been putting me through, I felt like I was flying.
I passed a bunch of the earlier swim waves and then caught up to the last couple riders that were in sight about a mile before rolling into T-2.
I had a quick T-2 and rolled out right on the heels of a guy who had come in before me and we made our way out to an uphill run through the college campus. I could tell he was a strong runner, but I could also read his bib and I knew that he had an earlier swim start, so if as long as I could hang with him then I would be faster overall. I kept with my plan and tried to match his pace as we went up the hills and then back down and to the other side of campus. After about 2 miles I felt strong, but was starting to get worried because I had not seen the lead male or female. As we turned onto the last segment of the run, which was an out and back trail, I saw the two leaders coming back in about 20 secs apart. I decided to make a move when I hit the turn around and see how much I had left taking it back in to the finish chute. I knew that those two had a head start on me, but I just wasnt sure by how much and if I had made up enough time.
Turns out I had indeed made up enough time and had beat the lead male by about :40 secs and the female overall winner by just over 1 minute.
It may have just been a sprint race, but it was an awesome feeling to get that first OA win. It is somthing that when I first started racing a few years ago seemed like such a lofty goal and a spot reserved for guys way faster than I would ever be.
I want to really thank A.J. for being an amazing coach. On top of the training oversight and advice he has given me, being able to work with him, and Ryan and Andrew at the Clermont camp was probbaly the most valuable and most fun I have had in this sport. I am stoked to see what the rest of the season has in store!