I had a strong race at my first Santos Triathlon.
The swim was a beach start with two laps, requiring us to come out of the water and to go back in twice. Beach starts are not my forte, and I ended up spending the entire swimming portion of the swim trying to regain the positions I had lost while running into the water. Regardless I came out of the water in front of all but the two that had broken away, Benjamin Sanson and Paulo Miyashiro of France and Brazil, respectively.
I attacked the bike, and was pulling a string of people behind me, each separated by the required 15 meters. around 10 kilometers Fabio Corvalho and Juraci Moreira came around me and Fabio said, â€œrotate leaders until we catch [the front pack]â€ It seemed like a good idea, but we had a marshal right there. I waited for Fabio to get to the front then passed him again and tried to stay there. He came around again and I fell back to 15 meters, then another cyclist passed me and pulled into the space between me and Fabio. I thought he would keep going forward and attempt to lead for a while, but I started to fall back as quickly as I could (I stopped pedaling). Unfortunately, The marshal started yelling at me in Portuguese. I couldnâ€™t understand and I told her, â€œI donâ€™t understand!!â€ She said, â€œstop pedaling!â€ which is ironic because I had already stopped pedaling trying to fall back (by now I probably had a larger gap in front of me than anyone else nearby). â€œPull to the side and put your foot down!â€ Now that I understood. Expletives invaded my thoughts, and I pulled to the side. Iâ€™m not sure why I was singled out for a penalty, but after standing down for a full minute I got back up and started channeling my frustration into the pedals. I was less than 15km into the race, and by the time I reached 25km I had passed the same group that I was riding with before, less Fabio and Juraci who had already gotten away and did end up catching the leaders, which was a huge advantage. When I saw the leaders they had a 5 motorcycle escort forming an echelon around all the cyclist in that group.
Iâ€™m pretty stoked that I was able to ride nearly as fast as the top guys, without a motorcycle escort, and without a group of riders working with me. And with a full minute on the side of the road!
Anyway, when we came into town one of the riders behind me passed and tried to lead through town. I think it slowed me down because I had to stay far enough back and he wasnâ€™t very good at cornering. My roommate, Francisco Serrano (represented Mexico in Beijing) was with my group and we started the run together.
I tried to hold pace with the Brazilian who had passed me toward the end of the bike, but after the first kilometer he started pulling away. Francisco went with him and by the first turn around at 3km they had about 20 seconds on me. I tried to shift gears and close the gap, and it seemed to be working. Then the Brazilian pulled away from Francisco, and between 5km and 8km Francisco built his lead over me to 45 seconds at the second turnaround. I had my Garmin 405 on and was looking at my mile splits, which were getting slower rapidly, but rather than getting discouraged I just gazed ahead at the road, thought about relaxing my upper body, and put in everything I had left. I ended up closing the gap on Francisco from 45 seconds to 6 seconds in the last 2k, which was pretty painful. I was 8th place by the end. Reinaldo Colucci won, followed by Paulo Miyashiro, and Fabio Carvalho ended up in 3rd with a similar run split to mine.
With regards to the weather, we lucked out. There was a high cloud cover that kept the sun from being quite as intense as it has been. It was still quite hot, and so humid that the air was sweating, but certainly not as bad as some races Iâ€™ve done in the past.
The Santos Triathlon exposed some things for me to work on, but things like beach starts and penalties are fairly rare, so hopefully my next race will lack those features. Despite the penalty, Iâ€™m happy with how I rode my bike, and I still had a lot of fun competing. The course was really safe and the event organizers did a great job with the setup.
(when the official results come out Iâ€™ll be able to see if the people I thought I was riding with were actually who I thought they were.)