Well there is a first time for everything, and early on in the bike I made a wrong turn - I’ll rewind a little bit, but I wanted to explain that right away.
Race morning was perfect; woke up in my own bed bright and early at 5am, foam rolled, made coffee, had a breakfast of Fage nonfat greek yogurt and blueberries, two pieces of Udi’s gluten free toast, and 1.5 scoops of Hammer HEED in a 24 oz. bottle. We were in the car by 6:15 driving into the sunrise, gorgeous morning for a race. We got to The Dalles by 7:50 and I was checking in by 8. After a pre-race meeting with the other athletes, we lined up for the 9am start on the beach – I was feeling GOOD and it was time to RACE!
The Swim – (1000 yards, 14:02, 1:24/100y)
The swim to the first buoy was a little congested, but the traffic didn’t even compare to Lake Stevens 70.3. Once we made the turn, I found myself in a pack of 4 athletes and really got to enjoy drafting on the swim for an extended portion which was great. Once we made the final turn, I picked up my stroke rate and kicked a bit harder to get ready for the bike. I had a really great swim, I came out of the water in 5th or 6th place overall.
The Bike – (29.8 miles, 1:26:00, 20.8 mph)
I passed two people right away, one in transition and one early on in the bike. I see the race leader about 400 yards ahead of me and knew that I could win this race. I was holding a steady pace and working to lower my heart rate, it’s always so high coming out of T1. At mile 5 I approached a ‘Y’ in the road, and the only sign I could see said ‘Sprint’ with an arrow pointing straight – so I went straight. This is where the asterisk comes into play. I put the pedal to the metal and really started pushing, and about 1.5 miles later I caught up with one other rider, seconds later a police officer came up behind us in his patrol car… He let us know that we’d made a wrong turn, and he placed a call into the Race Director to figure out how to re-route us. We drastically slowed the pace for what felt like an eternity, looking at my data, it looks like we spent about 1.5 minutes as this call took place. Once he re-routed us, it was go time. I knew that I was out of contention to win, but I wanted to get back as fast as I could to run my race. I pulled into T2 with about 8 minutes of time lost on the course due to the wrong turn, disappointed, it was time to run angry!
The Run – (6.2 miles, 39:07, 6:18/mi, fastest run of the race)
Often time with the run, I start out too hot. This time, I started out at the pace I felt like I could hold – and I ran an even split 10k with a fast kick at the end. It’s an out and back 10k, so I kept waiting to see who would be coming back so I could get a grasp of my placing overall and what the competition was looking like. I saw the eventual winner, Patrick Hiller, and knew that he was too far ahead to catch. Eventually, realized that I was sitting in 16th place at the turn around, and I made my goal to make top 10 overall. I ran a steady race and picked them off one at a time. At mile 5 I passed 11th place and he told me that I was about 1 minute behind 9th – go time. I pushed the pace and as we crested the final hill to descend into the finish I passed 10th place in front of my wife which was awesome, and flew in for 8th overall and 2nd in M25-29.
I’m feeling the most torn that I’ve ever felt after a race. In one sense, I’m disappointed because I know that I could have won this race which would have been a first overall win for my triathlon career. However, it’s only my second season, so to know that I’ve advanced that much – I am thankful to have a body that works, to have a wife that supports me, and the desire to keep on getting better. This race was a huge step forward for me, my swim was in the very top, the bike would have been, and my run was the best it’s ever been overall (1st!!!). I’m excited to enjoy this off-season, to focus on my weakness and continue to sharpen my strengths, and to be ready to fight at Ironman Coeur d’Alene next year, my first Ironman. Thank you to Hammer Nutrition for the continued support, HEED, Hammer Gel, Endurolytes Fizz, and Sustained Energy were crucial in the 90 degree temperatures. Thank you to 10 Barrel Brewing for supporting Team 10 Barrel as well as our awesome team sponsors; Wattie Ink, Picky Bars, and Hydro Flask.