I’ve been back in SC for about 1 week now and I’ve definitely missed it! Over the past week I got to see my family and friends and had a great Easter just a couple days ago. I will actually be staying at home for a bit longer and taking a temporary position at my previous hospital, Providence Health, going through July. This will allow me to spend a bit more time at home and keep me within driving distance to many of the races I intend to do over the next few months. The next few weeks of training will be leading up to the 70.3 in Chattanooga on May 21 followed shortly after by the 70.3’s in Raleigh and Eagleman. I will be competing in many other shorter events along the way around the state but intend to try to train through these in preparation for the other 3. Following these 3 I still have Alaskaman only a month later!
This past Saturday I competed in the TryCharleston Internation distance race which consisted of a 1500 meter swim, 42 km bike, and 10 km run. In previous years, this has been a Half distance race but has now been shortened to the International distance. This was fine with me as it allowed me to test a bit more speed without placing too big of an impact on my training. There were a couple other Pros signed up for the race with old timer Peter Kotland and friend and new member of the Venezuelan National Team, Yorlliry Moreno. A 3 am wake-up call on Saturday morning sure wasn’t pleasant (especially with my recent time change and coming off of working evening shift) but Bekah and I got up and headed to the race site.
I saw a ton of friends at the 2 different transition areas in the morning and before I knew it, we were lined up and had begun! Yorlliry is an amazing swimmer and immediately took off with a younger kid (Alex Hutton) staying right on his feet. Next was me just swimming along on the double loop course. Due to my recent spill on the bike and some unpleasant road rash, the only swimming I have done recently was wearing paddles. For the race, I bandaged my hand and simply focused on good sighting and a quick turnover with my arms. At the beginning of the second loop I took a bit of a wide line to the next buoy and saw Peter drifting up on my right. I decided to slot in behind him for a bit. With a couple hundred meters to go, I came from around and surged to come out of the water in 3rd about 2 minutes down from Yorlliry.
After some difficulties getting the wetsuit off, I got on the bike, put my feet in my shoes, and got to work. The course on Charleston is always super flat and fast. I was excited to test a new aero helmet I had gotten recently without the “tail” that sticks out behind. This meant I was free to bury my head low in my hands without having to strain my neck or have my head in the wind. The downside is that you can’t exactly look forward while doing this. So basically, I regularly would scan the road ahead and then use the lines on the road as a guide with my head tucked. This is fine on a course like this that really has a lot of long stretches with just smooth and even road. After a couple miles I quickly passed Alex and got to work to reel in Yorlliry. It took me nearly 40 minutes of some hard steady riding at about 310 watts until I came up on him. After a few seconds of drinking some fluids, I surged and made sure that I established a gap quickly before settling back to my high steady pace. The last 2 miles consisted of navigating around many of the athletes doing the Sprint race with a number of more turns in the last couple miles leading into the second transition. For the entire ride, I averaged about 27.4 mph and 310 watts which are the highest numbers I’ve ever put out for an International distance race and left me very satisfied.
Upon starting the run I settled into about a 5:50 min/mile pace which was comfortably hard at the time. My legs didn’t have the same “pop” to them as they have in other races, but I also knew that I had very little rest leading into the race and had ridden fairly hard. I also knew that this pace would likely only increase my lead. The run was a double out and back which meant that I was able to see many of the athletes competing in the Sprint as well as the athletes starting the run in the International. I tried to make it a point to encourage others along the way as the temperature began reaching into the 80’s. It was much more noticeable here in SC with the humidity, but didn’t affect my pace too much. Eventually, I made it to the finish to take the Overall Win with an overall time of 1:58:41 and a run time of 36:25.
The rest of the day was spent hanging out with friends before grabbing lunch with Bekah and our weimareiner Hercules and heading home! Congratulations to everyone on their races including Yorlliry, Peter, Jeff Brandenburg, Jeff Allums, Jim Agostini, Bill Wiseman, Michael Kovac, Brad Fraedrich, George Smith, Katie Malone, Hawkeye Parker, Wes Spratt, and everyone else! Looking forward to the next South Carolina Triathlon Series race in Clemson in 2 weeks!