First things first: 2nd place in my AG and 7th place overall! 2008 seems to be my breakthrough year: 3rd race and 3rd time on the podium. I’m not quite sure why; maybe just a combination of solid training and a bit of luck in terms of the competition I was facing. Last year Federal Escape Olympic Triathlon was extremely competitive and I only finished in 12th place in my AG. This year there were fast competitors, to be sure, but the field didn’t seem to be quite as deep as last year. Well, I won’t complain.
It’s the 3rd time for me to do this race, so I felt very comfortable with the course. The swim went well – very smoothly, almost relaxed. Unlike Seafair, I didn’t even experience the typical panicy shortness of breath at the start of the swim. Surprisingly, I beat my time from last year quite handily.
My transitions were OK, though certainly not blazing. I’m looking forward to attending a transition clinic by Chris Tremonte (the winner at Seafair). He happens to be a fellow Microsoftie and I asked him if he’d be willing to share some of his transition skills with other MS triathletes. He graciously agreed, and we’ll likely have it some time end of August. I don’t think there are a lot of easy time-savings, but I expect I’ll get some pointers that I can work on throughout the off-season.
The bike ride was fun. It’s very satisfying to power past other competitors on my cool new Cervelo Dual. It’s a pretty comfortable ride too – for a time trial bike; though I wouldn’t want to ride it for more than the 56 mile half-iron distance. I again experienced some brief breathing problems due to the low position, but I was able to keep it well under control. The only tense moment was when I overshot a tight corner a little bit and had to ride it out on the gravel shoulder.
The run also went well. I reeled in a lot of my age group competitors, and felt quite good doing so. My legs felt good and I just needed to keep it together and bring the race home. This last part of the race is at least as much a mental as a physical challenge. My goal was to go under 2:10 and it looked like I was going to be able to make it. That helped keep me focused and I passed a couple more folks towards the end of the 2nd lap of the run, clinching my age group placement.