This race has a bit of nostalgia for me. 4 years ago this was my first triathlon and really got me hooked on the sport. I’ve returned every year since then (except when it was cancelled for rain 2 years ago) looking to improve my placement. Well, after 4 years I can finally say I won my hometown race.
As normal for this race, the forecast showed a possibility of rain on Saturday morning. Upon awaking it was a little wet outside but nothing too concerning. I was doubtful though that this luck would hold up and took the pressure in my wheels down to a low 85psi. Being a very technical course, cornering would be extremely important and where a lot of time would be gained and lost. Plus, I would be racing without a top and going down was simply not an option. Being my hometown race as well as a Collegiate race, I knew many of the athletes at the race site and had a good time socializing while getting ready to go. After a short warm up I was ready to go and headed over to get lined up for the short 500m pool swim.
I started as bib #10 due to signing up late which put me in a good position to know where the rest of the competition was. The task was simple, catch all the Open athletes and due to the Time Trial start, I would technically already be ahead of them. Other than that, I would just have to put in enough time to make sure no Collegiates could come from behind. With an in water start I headed off and started to catch and pass some female athletes starting directly before me. After the first lap or two, stud high school swimmer Thomas Agostini caught up and we flip turned together. After drafting his feet for one length he easily pulled away with an impeccable flip turn to take the lead. The rest of the swim was uneventful and just tried to keep a solid pace throughout.
Upon arriving to my bike in T1 I noticed something unusual. My helmet strap was undone! I don’t specifically remember unstrapping my strap from it’s buckle after my warm up and I will normally place the straps in an easy to reach place. The only other alternative would be sabotage from a competitor but I didn’t exactly have time to ponder this at the time. Instead, I ate up about 15-30 seconds re-threading my strap before finally being able to put it on successfully and heading out on the bike course.
Determined to make up lost time I surged out onto the 3 lap bike course that I know so well. It rained on and off throughout the ride and got pretty heavy at times. With all of the corners and ascents/descents on the course I was either surging, coasting, or braking for turns. This made for a very interesting power profile that was in no way smooth. With my knowledge of the course and hard surges it was enough to keep any competitors from keeping up on the bike as I came into T2 in first place with a large gap to the next man back.
I was feeling alright leading into the run and was confident that I would have the legs to finish off the race despite still being only a few weeks back into running. The course had been changed from previous years to include some of the biggest hills in Columbia. In my college days I had used all of these hills for hill repeats and knew exactly what I was up against. The pace slowed for sure but was able to pick it back up when the compensating downhills came.
When getting close to the finish line I realized that this would be the first time that I ever actually “finished” in first place. I have technically won races overall before, but due to time trial starts or other races happening at the same time, I was never the first one to cross the finish line. This broke that streak for good as I was well in the lead with the next finisher being a Collegiate athlete 1-2 minutes behind. It was a great feeling crossing the line, especially now that Jeremey Davis now knows how to pronounce my last name correctly! (Feigh=phi)
The rest of the time was spent socializing with some great athletes at the finish area from around Columbia and colleges around the Southeast. When it came time for the awards ceremony I found out that I was the only Male to actually start and finish the race in the Open category due to some not showing up, being in the Masters category, or not finishing due to bike technicalities on the wet roads. Regardless, this race helped me get some more points in the South Carolina Triathlon Series and had a ton of fun doing it! Next up is the Anderson YMCA Sprint Triathlon next weekend with some friends which should definitely be fun.