1/4 mi swim, 11 mi bike, 3 mi run A near perfect morning greeted the 400+ athletes that signed up for the Tropical Triathlon this year. Surprisingly, the casino area was still mashed up under construction much like it was last year. Disappointing because they have a beautiful piece of oceanfront land, they haven’t developed it near to what it could be. I came alone, Connie, John and John opted to sleep late on their Sunday morning. Not a bad call knowing I’d be arriving here at 5:45am. I parked across the street in a town lot instead of at the torn-up dirt lot that’s associated with the pier. I setup transition quickly, then helped Lanae do hers. We optimized her area for a speedy pass thru, no socks, minimal clutter, everything laid out to grab-n-go. The sea was flat – waiting to start consisted of me swimming to the buoy and back. I felt good doing so, not fast, but not hampered by anything. In a mere 1/4 miles swim, how much ground could I realistically lose?
I’m in the 4th wave, meaning the bike and run course will be full of people when I get going. I start the swim on the very inside of the buoy, willing to mix it up with the other “over 45” men to not have to swim extra around the outside. I did get one goggle eye cover dislodged, which only took a stroke or two to fix while still moving forward. I never stalled my motion, didn’t have to stop and see where I was, it was a good swim for me. Coming out of the water I heard Chiara’s girls cheering as they recognized someone they knew. Kevin was behind me in the first timer’s wave competing in his first triathlon.
Out of the water I made an ok transition, it really didn’t seem like a very polished effort however. I could practice this and get faster. ON the bike I had a good ride, I never found myself stuck in a pack. I passed two or three people in my age group up and down US-1. I saw my speed in 24-25 range many times, I made sure I drank only at the 180 degree turns, getting back in the groove of breathing and riding well. No one passed me, so that was a good sign. I came over the final LW bridge and stormed down the other side. Convinced I could take the final 90 degree turn without slowing and in the drop bars, I found myself one footed and skidding to avoid the strip median that separates North and Southbound lanes. Close, and it did get some gasps and yells from the spectators that were nearby.
On to run, I didn’t concentrate in transition to one thing, I found I was stuffing a foot in a shoe plus fiddling with the race belt, grabbing the visor, I could again use more disciplined practice on the transition. My ideas and prep are good, now I need to draft an order of how I want things to go and practice that routine. I chased one guy out of the chute, passed him quickly and short-stepped my way to the hill. On the climb, I passed a guy that had an IM tatoo on his leg and a “48” age marking. He said if I get the guy at the bottom of the hill, I’d be leading the race for our age group. That guy was Dan Chun. I passed Dan at the water stop under the bridge, and kept my pace at 6:30 or close as possible to it. Around the park, through the one neighborhood block and back into the park, I found another “48” racer leaving the park heading for the hill. That was Cecelio Farinas. Once past him, I ran up the hill chasing a group of guys I thought might be a lead pack of guys in my age category. Once I caught them at the top of the hill, I realized they were a pack, but a pack of slower 35-39 year old men.I ran down the hill and towards the finish line. I never checked behind me to see if I was being chased, I just put speed into the last straightaway and went for the finish. I didn’t know where I had placed, but a 45 minute wait showed the results – 1st in age group, 14th overall featuring the 5th best overall run time! I was very satisfied with that listing.
No awards were present, the awards photos were taken and they said we would receive a medal in the mail. This happened another year, so I remember the drill. The last AG vistory I had here featured the “mini-medals” for Charlotte, Lilia, Adrianna, Carolyn and Adrienne. This was my final triathlon for 2012 – good mental reward for entering and showing up ready to race!