A week late in posting but it’s been crazy busy! Last week was the Lake Logan Multisport Festival put on jointly by SetUp Events and Glory Hound Events in Canton, NC. The weekend involves a Half Distance Triathlon on Saturday followed by Sprint and International Distance Triathlons on Sunday. I have competed in these races over the past few years and Lake Logan is easily my favorite venue for any race I’ve ever done. This year I competed in the International distance race which always has very steep competition due to the Todd Stein Memorial Fund which provides a prize purse for the race. Of course this year did not disappoint with a stacked front of the field at this race.
In previous years I have camped right next to the race site at Lake Logan but was graciously offered a place to stay with Damon Little and his family and some others in Waynesville, NC. I headed up Friday afternoon after work and spent the evening having great conversation with everyone before getting off to bed as many of them were competing in the Half the next day. I had a ton of friends doing this race, especially those from the Greenville area. I got up in time the next morning to watch part of the half before heading out on a ride to prime the legs for the next day’s race. Unfortunately, I found myself lost and ended up stopping at a Mexican restaurant to meet my mom for lunch as she had headed up for the race. The rest of the day consisted of more preparation for the race, a swim in Lake Logan, and socializing with the athletes who had completed the Half.
Sunday brought a 4:30 am wake up which is getting pretty standard for me now throughout the work week. I threw my stuff in the car and headed out towards the race site in the darkness. I ended up having plenty of time to set up before the race and socialized with some of the other Open athletes as we got our bikes ready. Before I knew it, we were lined up and the horn went off to start!
After the first 10-15 seconds of swimming I noticed the swimmer to my right was curving left, a lot. I found it in my best interest to climb over him to prevent myself from being pushed off course. After doing so I lost a couple yards and proceeded to try to grab the feet of the guy ahead of me for a good draft. Little did I know, this guy had a motor for legs and instead of drafting, I simply was swimming in huge waves rather than a smooth lake! After about a minute of this, I swallowed a good amount of water which made me do a couple breast strokes to regain my breath. I then decided to set out solo so I could at least set a good rhythm. The athletes eventually got strung out and most everybody was swimming on their own at this point. I ended up coming out of the water in 4th and hoped that too much damage hadn’t been done ahead of me.
The goal on the bike was to push good steady power without overdoing it on the climbs and staying aero on the descents. I was pretty winded when I first jumped on the bike from the swim and a quick transition. The large climbs coming out of the lake did not help either! I finally settled in after 5 minutes or so and caught Ricky Flynn in the next mile or two. I knew that I would need a huge lead on Ricky on the bike as he would be able to gain a lot of ground on me later on the run. At the halfway point, I caught the motorboat from earlier, Harrison Brown. I knew there was only one person left ahead of me who was the winner from the previous year, Derek Kidwell. Derek is a stud cyclist and I knew that my chances of catching him on the bike were slim. I continued to ride hard and hoped that I would be able to close on the run.
Getting off the bike I learned that I was about 3 minutes down from Derek which made it unlikely that I would close the gap unless he had a bad day out on the run. Regardless, I set out charging on the out and back run course. The course goes slightly uphill for the first half before turning around and making a very quick second half. I was able to hold just over 6 minute/miles on the way out and noticed that I hadn’t put much time into Derek. More importantly, Ricky was only 2 minutes behind at the halfway point which is dangerous territory when he can close in 5 minute/miles! I picked it up a notch and took full advantage of the downhill and my pace increased to the 5:30s. I was hurting a great deal, but was sustainable just long enough to finish the race in second place!
I spent the rest of the day talking with other athletes, my mom, and helping the SetUp Events crew break down the race site. I took the scenic way home through the mountains rather than the interstate and am glad I did. I even enjoyed a nice dip in a stream at one point! Once I got home I was exhausted from the weekend and passed out before a crazy week at work!