3/8mi, 13mi, 5k This was a good outing, the threat of a tropical storm interfering with the race faded as the race date drew closer. The pre-race show Friday night was in its usual cramped Jupiter Resort ballroom. I got a neat Tri Running Sports hat from Linda to wear on the run – very good terrycloth material on the headband. I met with Lilia Fortin and Matt & Julie from OYM for happy hour beer at the Jupiter Resort bar, that was good. I went home, put the bike in the car, collected the race bag and goodies, and went to sleep early.
I wasn’t too concerned about the new rule allowing people to rack a bike in transition the night before, I knew I’d be there early enough to get a good spot. I setup and used the “on the fly” rubberbands to keep my shoes up and clipped in. Helmet, glasses, race number and hat all set. The sea was nice, not a big deal with the expected waves, and the current was in our favor. Transition changed a bit, now the beach access was moved further south so all had the same jog to the bikes after swimming. I practiced with John B. in cool waters and lined up to start. This race more than any others is a place where people pop up out of nowhere to compete. I saw Debbie Fitzmorris, now living back in Palm Beach, she was racing today. Many “Hi” and “Good Morning” greetings in the lead up to the race. The swim was at low tide, because of this I think I ran half way to the first buoy. I started out ahead of Austin, but on the long straightaway he passed me. I wasn’t in a big crowd, I caught myself swimming crooked a few times, the current was definitely keeping my swim speed above my norm. I got to the final buoy quickly, (or I thought so) and made a slow trot to transition. That went smoothly as did the flying start. Once on the bike I drank and saw the elite men pass me early on the southerly course. I could see Austin ahead but I wasn’t gaining on him in the first three miles. I thought I was with the wind, I imagined the wind in our face and his not having fluids to drink would let me pass him. It was the presence of a fast group coming north towards Marcinski Rd that inspired me to pick up my pace and try to ignore the breeze in my face. I felt like I stayed aero and good on the 13 mile ride. Watching Dave Garfield zip by at 25+mph was neat… I still have plenty of room to improve. My average was 23.3mph I figured via Internet calculator, that is if the distance was correctly marked off. Looked right by the speedometer. Running was good, started off with short steps and lengthened my stride by Indiantown Road. Here’ Charlotte standing in the middle of the road cheering for friends, just like she did with Walter for the bike segment. I did the first mile nicely, up to the inlet turnaround running as straight a line as possible. Once in the final mile I ran the sidewalk to Indiantown, then went straight in the street to reel in the last guy I saw ahead of me. It was Mike Reinhardt from adventure racing. I motioned to Charlotte that I had to pass him, once into the park he slowed and I did it. He saw quickly that I was in his age class and stayed right behind me. I saw the Lulu cheering section and decided I’d have to outlast him on a sprint – so I started about 250m away from the finish, predictably earlier than he thought I’d make a dash for it. I heard via the announcer that he was responding to my move but I kept going hard until crossing the line. I won by a six second margin for a fourth place AG finish. The winner won 3 min and 25 seconds ahead of me.