I’ve done this race ight times in twelve years, not verified, but that’s what I think I have in my bag of experiences going into this year’s “World Championships of Jupiter.” Many of those years were spent chasing Rick Opton down on the bike, trying to transition faster than him to outrun him in a 5k. Or finding John Enck at our meetup each year 8 minutes apart coming in and out of the Jupiter Inlet Park. I remember vividly having Linda Neary (Robb, by now) pass me at the same point on the run each of three years. All with giving me a 10 minute head start via the wave swim system. And Donna, my wife at the time, telling me in year 2000, “You have to learn to be a runner.” All these memories swirling about me as I line up to blast out an hour and change worth of exertion.
I felt great arriving early, even though I dropped my bike off the night before under the threat of rain. I spent packet pickup at the bar with Chiara, Shelby and then Kendall Sukach, having beer and talking about the race to come and lulu Sea Wheeze coming next week. The morning was spent seeing as much of Laura Bennett’s Olympic Triathlon race as possible before heading to Carlin Park. My transition was already setup, and I got a great parking spot near my bike. I helped Chiara and Lilia setup their gear, saw plenty of people and posed for a good number of pictures I’m sure will show up on Facebook despite my weary-eyed look at 6:00am. I made it out to the beach with a good amount of time to warmup swim and not make my first 400m slow because of “rust in my system.” I started in the fourth wave, I enjoyed watching the first three waves start. The youth, the girls, and many people I knew. I had no “butterflies” or pre-race jitters, I felt good about what I brought to the event for training and prep. I prepared to swim better than my usual and my idea of staying outside the main group (short of the chaotic start) worked well. I felt good exiting the water and went quickly to my transition spot, almost running completely past the rack where my bike was. I made an ok switch, nothing to brag about this year. I chose to “flying start” my shoes, neatly rubber-banded to the derailleurs and ready to go. Tell me why I always get a cramp in my toes and calves while mounting the bike, specifically lifting my foot up and over the frame to ride away? I rode consistently over 22 mph, some 23, 24s in there along the 13 mi route. I saw Adrienne, Suzanne S and Suzanne M. out on the route, maybe two or three riders that were probably relay team riders passed me, that’s all. I dismounted in a neat side-saddle one footed fashion. I don’t think I did a fast T2, but good enough to grab a visor and run belt. Starting out on the run I did well, watching the top 5-10 overall guys turn into the park. I had Austin follow me on the bike doing video. I ran probably a 6:45 first mile, but felt in control. Miles 2 and 3 were ok, too, I finished running in 20:25, 6 seconds faster than July 4th’s practice run on the course and 5 seconds faster than last year. I didn’t have a last minute sprint, just ran steady the whole way. I found both Suzannes out on the course near the inlet, saw Erica and Teresa near Jupiter Dunes Golf course, it was a good run effort for me. I found myself very satisfied with the whole effort, 10th place in my age group with the same time that yielded a 4th place last year meant the competition has improved. Give me Bill Picciano, Tony Cabrales and a Mike Reinhardt well trained for Ironman in all three disciplines and I rate back where I belong, top ten at Loggerhead. A good race for me!