Sunday I raced the Saint Anthony’s Triahtlon. It’s one of the oldest, most historical professional triathlon races in the world with 28 years behind it. The race was run as well as any race I’ve been to, and this is certainly going to remain part of my calendar in years to come. The start list was intimidating, to say the least, but I went into Sunday’s effort with very little stress, and a insatiable hunger to prove that what I did in South Beach and Ishigaki were not indicative of my fitness and athleticism. I was looking at Olympic medalists, 3-time Olympians, World Championship Series medalists, and instead of being scared I was just excited to see if I could give them a solid race. And I did! I was 5th, behind Filip Ospaly (2010 lifetime Fitness Series winner), Matt Reed, Cameron Dye, and Stewart Hayes. I worked my butt off for it, and I had the best race I could have on the day.
The swim was the only major disappointment of the day. Saint Anthony’s Triahtlon has had some trouble in recent years with the choppiness of the swim course, so when the winds were blowing on race morning they played it safe and moved the swim to a more protected area. This also shortened the course to about an 800 meters swim. You can see in the map I posted the line I took. It was supposed to be a trapezoidal course, but at the end I swam straight in and ran up the beach. The run to T1 was probably longer than the swim itself, and the entry was very shallow and not great for short legged guys like me. I lost a lot of time going to the first buoy and was 7th out of the water with a gap in front of me that Cameron Dye capitalized on in making a break for it early.
The bike was flat and scenic, taking us through the neighborhoods of St. Petersburg, Florida. The roads were smooth, clean, and closed to traffic with plenty of police keeping us safe. I rode hard trying to get away from a large group of riders including Potts, Gimmel, Docherty, Reed, Ospaly, Hayes, and a few other intimidating names. It didn’t work, and I only ended up with about 15 seconds on those guys at T2. I started the run with Matt Reed with a 90 second deficit to Cameron Dye. Reed dropped me from his heels heels toward the end of the first mile. Ospaly came by me soon after that and caught up to Reed. The two of them eventually caught and passed Dye and Ospaly took Reed in the final stretch. While I was suffering in the middle third Stuart Hayes came by with a definitive surge. In the last third of the run I came back to life a bit and tried to close in on Hayes. He was hurting as much as I was, but he kept the gap he’d created taking fourth, while I held off a menacing Potts, Gimmel, Matthews (a.k.a. Barny) and Docherty who were all right behind me. It was a fast hard race, and the most fun I’ve had racing all year.
Now, here’s the graph (click on it for a larger view):
The horizontal axis is timing the point. The 20k bike split is an estimate, there was no timing chip, but since there were two timing points on the run I wanted the bike portion to have at least as much horizontal space as the run. The vertical axis is the time gap from the winner, Filip Ospaly. Negative values indicate a lead over Ospaly, positive values indicate a deficit. An intersection point between two lines indicates the estimated point when those two competitors changed positions.