Riviera Beach Sprint Tri Race Report

I was in between doing this race or an Olympic distance race across the state the following weekend. I wanted to get in a full Olympic distance race before Age Group Nationals (St Anthony’s and Motivation Man were both swim shortened) but I decided to stay close to home out of convenience.  Coming into the race I figured I had a chance at top 3 if I raced well with some fast local guys in the mix.  Winning had crossed my mind once or twice but I figured there was very little chance of that actually happening.  I raced well at Motivation Man (minus a very short swim and getting stopped at the train tracks on the bike) but I was still a few minutes off the leaders.  To have any chance, I figured I needed the biggest lead possible heading into the run.  If I blew up on the run, so be it, its just a sprint after all.

The day before was pretty hectic as this was a Saturday race and I had to work on Friday.  The usual lounging around the day before race did not happen one bit.  I woke up Friday morning with every intent of getting in a quick run and bike before work in the dark.  Needless to say, I hit the snooze button on my phone too many times and was only able to get in a quick 20 min run.  I tried to make sure I was hydrating enough during the day at work especially since I can be working outside in the sun at times.  After work I headed to packet pickup at Tri Running Sports & Cycle which was breeze. I got in a quick ride on my new Zipp Super 9 disc to make sure everything was good to go on my Trek Speed Concept.  A quick shave later and I was off to bed.  
Race morning came and I got in a quick run to warm up, got my transition setup, and hopped in the ocean to get in a quick swim.  During my swim warm up, I quickly realized this was not going to be an easy swim (a plus for me). The water was very choppy and it made it hard to keep any kind of rhythm.  The swim was pre-planned to swim with the current.  The race director would determine what direction the current was heading and adjust the swim start accordingly (either start north of the swim finish or south).  Fortunately for me, the RD (or someone) figured the current was heading in the same direction as the wind (North).  A few of us noticed while warming up, that the current was actually taking you south.  Which meant a harder swim against the current.

Swim (6:42 1/244)
The gun went off and we all headed for the turn buoy.  I could immediately tell the current was pushing us south, away from the direction we were heading.  I made the turn at the first buoy, put my head down, tried to establish a smooth rhythm in order to keep my heart rate down.  It was hard to site some of the buoys as there was some decent waves and depending on when I lifted my head, the waves may of been block my site line to the next buoy.  I got out of the water and made my way to T1.  I’m not a fan of long transition runs (who is) but I actually felt like I was able to hold a quick pace to T1 without my HR skyrocketing.  I later found out I made a wrong turn coming from the beach to transition.  There was a “Y” in the walkway and I took a left when we were suppose to take a right.  It was probably a little longer but no more than a few seconds.

Bike (22:45 2/244)
I had no idea how much of a lead I had after the swim, so the goal was to extend that lead as much as possible on the 10 mile bike course.  We had a bit of a tailwind heading North and while I was riding at 27-29 mph, but my watts weren’t quite where I wanted them to be.  I could not hold my goal wattage but at the end of the day, it’s just a number.  I ignored the numbers and put forth my best effort.  At the turnaround, I took note of the time to see how far back 2nd place was.  John Reback (with Tom Gore right behind him) and I crossed paths which told me I had just under a 2 min lead at the turnaround.  I was pleasantly surprised and the thoughts of winning started to cross my mind.  I got over the Blue Heron bridge to see George Robb taking video of the race.  He offered some words of encouragement and I was headed down the other side only to turn right back around and come right back up.  Coming back up the bridge, I figured I would start seeing John peak over the bridge but surprisingly I didn’t see him until heading back down the bridge towards T2.  I came into T2 mostly trying to not get hit by a car or run into another rider heading out on the bike.  Luckily, neither happened…..

Run (18:23 9/244)
I headed out on the run figuring I was going to get caught in the last mile but as I got on the main road to lead up to the bridge,  I noticed I had pretty size-able lead.  I kept my emotions in check and focused on my race.  Good turnover, keep good  form, relax…. I told myself.  As I was coming back up the bridge, John looked determined and was charging hard down the hill (I don’t think I’ve ever seen legs turnover that fast).  At that point I really believed he was going to catch me but I apparently underestimated the amount of time takes to get down and back up the hill.  I ran scared the rest of the race hoping I wouldn’t get caught in the last 1/4 to 1/2 mile.  The finish line came in site and it wasn’t until then I knew I was going to win.  My run wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible.  Although this was my fastest 3 mile run ever, I know I’m more than capable of running faster.  My run training has been inconsistent at best for the past 1.5 years as injuries have prevented me from doing so.  But I seem to finally have the injuries under control and my consistency has been slowly getting there.

There’s nothing more satisfying than exceeding your own expectations and it was my first overall win.  If I was a betting man, I never would have put money on myself to take the win.  Everything has started to come together the last few months and the hard work is paying off.  I’ve made some huge gains on the bike this year that has left me feeling I can bike with most top amateur triathletes, which is a big change compared to where I was 2 years ago when I first go into this sport..

I can’t thank my gf enough for her support. She’s my biggest supporter (and our dog Bear) and I don’t know how they both put up with me.  Thanks again to everyone who offered their support and congratulations.  I was beyond excited with how I raced and hungry for more at the same time.  Next up, the Palm Beach County World Championships, aka, the loggerhead triathlon…..

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