Today, April 11th 2009 was the Wind triathlon at White Sands Missile Range. It started off with a loop 5k run.
Since last Dec my run has been absolutely atrocious. I came into this race not expecting to do well on the run leg & was fully expecting to have to make time up on the bike & swim legs. I surprised myself and felt pretty good out of the gate.
The first mile was a slight down hill & I clocked the 1 mile mark at 7:05. Shortly after that there was a very long & gradual (grueling) uphill. Usually hills sap my strength, but after I topped this long uphill I felt great & continued back to an 8 min per mile pace. I finished the 5k (3.2 miles) in 25:30 & had about a 90 second lead on anyone else in my division. Of course, the closest person to me in my division was Jason McClure who is my arch nemesis on the racing circuit- outside of triathlon he's probably the nicest person I've ever met. But let me tell you, he & I have had some insane battles during races.
On mile 5 of the bike Jason McClure caught & passed me. As usual he doesn't just pass me, he screams past me at a pace I could never dream of keeping. Because Jason is such a beast on the bike traditionally the only hope I have of beating him is if I can run a sub 24 minute 5k. That usually puts him deep enough in a whole that I won't see him again. Today's 25:30 wasn't good enough to keep old McClure away. He passed me, & I saw another Clydesdale drafting off him.
Occasionally people will draft for a few seconds. But this guy rode Jason's wheel for 10 straight miles!!! That made me angry, & like Bruce Banner so eloquently proclaims, "you won't like me when I'm angry." I start hammering, & hammering HARD! I was going to catch this cheating Clydesdale & convince him to stop drafting. & if he didn't stop I was going to personally remove him from the course. Finally & suprisingly I caught the 2 of them ;suprisingly because I'd never caught Jason once he got ahead of me cycling.
I started yelling at this lecherous triathlete. At first he tried to ignore my protests & continued his illegal escapades; you see, in triathlon drafting is against the rules. He realized pretty quickly I was not finding his antics funny in the slightest. I yelled at the top of my lungs & was gradually pushing him closer & closer to the gutter. His choices was to let go of wheel he was riding, or eat dirt. He chose correctly.
From that point on I realized Jason couldn't drop me like usual. He'd get approximately 75 meters ahead of me, then I'd start reeling him in. He'd see me start to catch him, kick in his after burners, & then again I'd start reeling him in. DING! Ureka! I realized at that point what big Jason McClure had been doing to me all these years. He'd sprint passed me on the bike leg until he'd have nothing left. But once he got a half mile or so ahead of me I'd unconsciously slow down. Essentially he's been beating me on the bike with a mind game. I figured out today that if I stay with him for a few minutes of his hammer fest; as painful as that will be, then he'll ride at a sustainable pace.
Unfortunately just before the turn around point Jason flatted out. This is unfortunant because I believe I could have stayed with him today & passed him in the pool. I really believe that today would have seen me victorious over the great & mighty Jason McClure. But instead I won by default. Yes, I know that for the South West Challenge series a win outright scores the same as a win by default. But I hated to see that happen. I hated it partly because I think I'd have sqeaked out a victory in the end. But the biggest reason I hate that he flatted out is because even though I'm his biggest rival he still goes out of his way to be helpful, supportive, & honorable. No one as gracious as him should have such an ill-fated & abrupt ending to the day.
About 2 miles left on the bike a MASSIVE wind picked up out of nowhere! It was blowing directly in my face. My speeds slowed down to a CRAWL, but I hung tough & finished slightly behind Felix Hijnoso. Now Felix isn't in my division, but I've only finished the bike this close to him a couple times before.
Now you may think in a triathlon if there is a run, then a bike, then next would be the swim right? Wrong. The most neglected leg of most triathletes is the transition. Transition #1 is how fast can a person get out of his/her run gear & into their bike gear. Then transition #2 is getting out their bike gear into their swim gear. Thankfully I practice this. Even though Felix had a ten second lead into T-2, I beat him handily out of the transition area & into the pool.
I finished the 400 meter swim some where around 7 minutes 30 seconds to 7:40. Giving me a finishing time of 1 hr 48 minutes & taking first place Clydesdale!
I now have 3 first place finishes & one 2nd place for the 2009 SW series. Which gives me 39 points & a first place standing in my division. 2nd place is Alex Garcia with some where around 32 points & in 3rd is Jason McClure with 29.
Next race is the Atomicman duathlon April 26 in White Rock NM. I'll keep you informed on how I do.
Thanks for tuning in.