Sunday I raced in Columbus Ohio at the 2013 Commit To Be Fit Multisport Weekend 5150 Giant Eagle Triathlon. I won in 1 hour 42 minutes and 20 seconds, which is about as long as it took the announcer to finish saying the name of the race.
This race was fun. And I know I say that about a lot of races, but this time it was because the guys racing all seemed relaxed. A few guys were trying to secure spots to the HyVee 5150 Championships next month, but the majority of us were there to enjoy a race within driving distance from our homes without all the stress of travel. Between the start gun and the finish line was painful and intense, just like any other race, but before and after the race there was just a lightness in the atmosphere that reminded me of the local races on Oahu that got me hooked to the sport of triathlon. For me, itâ€™s the people that make triathlon such a great sport, and Columbus had some great people, both on the sidelines and the course.
It turns out that there are a lot of good triathletes living within driving distance of Columbus (and a few others like Jordan Rapp who flew in). Kaleb VanOrt, for one, lives in Indianapolis. Heâ€™s a great runner, so I knew going into the race that I would need to have a great swim and bike to be able to cross the finish line ahead of him.
I started off well in the swim. I led both laps of the 1500m swim (I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve done that since San Francisco in 2010, but maybe I was just stoked on the ne PZ3TX I got this week from Blue Seventy) and came out leading a few guys through transition. Ryan Bice â€“ a member of USATâ€™s Elite Triathlon Academy â€“ passed me heading out onto the bike (maybe I need to do some ITU races to remember how to get through transition faster), but once I had my feet in and tied down I took the lead and never looked back.
The bike course is point-to-point, starting from Alum Creek State Park into downtown Columbus. Thereâ€™s a net downhill, and according to my Garmin 910XT the course was also about 2km short. The roads were completely shut down to traffic, and most of the way was newly paved. All this added up to a really fast bike, though I still missed my goal of breaking 51 minutes. (I have no idea how the South Beach course is so fast, but I canâ€™t seem to set a PR 40k anywhere else).
Besides a fast course, I was also testing out some new equipment from Vision. I rode a TC50 front wheel and one of the new Metron Disc rear wheels. The combination of which made my Cervelo P5 handle like a road bike.
Heading out on the run is where I started feeling my lack of rest heading into the race. My legs were like led weights, and I had no idea how far back the other guys were. I struggled the first couple of miles to run a mediocre 5:40 pace, and pictured Kaleb and the other guys chopping down my lead by 30 seconds a mile, easily. At the 2.5 mile turnaround I timed a gap of a little over two minutes with Kaleb leading a pack of four guys and looking relaxed and strong. I kept pushing, but never really did find my running legs.
At the finish line I saw Abby and Odin waiting. Odin jumped through the fence to greet me, but I guess Abby wasnâ€™t as excited.
Kaleb came in second, Brooks Cowan third. Both ate a solid bite out of my lead during the run, but I know that when I give my legs a few days rest theyâ€™ll respond with the speed I need.
It feels good to be racing strong again. Iâ€™m really looking forward to a full schedule this fall. Iâ€™ll be racing every other weekend from now to November! Next up is the Rev3 Wisconsin August 11th â€“ it will also be Abbyâ€™s very first triathlon. I fully expect her to decide Iâ€™m nuts for doing these, then sign up for another one.