May 1st was the official start of my 2016 triathlon season at the VTS/MTS Rumpus in Bumpass International triathlon. My first chance to put on my Every Man Jack triathlon suit and take to the course and see what I had in me. Thanks to my coach, John Heuisler of BTL, I had enough in the tanks to have a good race and place well.
I was worried about cold and rain going into the race, but it turned out to be a perfect, if overcast, day to race. I got there early, got my transition set up, and went to relax and mediate in my car in my super comfy Lululemon men gear. Once my head was set, it was time to get the Roka suit on and get ready to swim.
I started in the 2nd wave, 4 minutes behind the first group, which was Men under 34 and under, as well as Military Men. My big mistake in this race was not asking to be placed in the first wave. It would be important later, but hindsight is always 20/20.
I got off to a great start, settled into a smooth, fast rhythm in my Roka Maverick. Such a fast wetsuit. I was cruising and actually swam through most of the 1st wave participants, putting up what ended up being the 4th fastest time of the day. I came out of the water and into transition feeling pretty good, heart racing to be sure, but excited. Unfortunately not having raced since last fall came back to haunt me a bit as I fumbled around to get my wetsuit off and helmet on. I had a quick run out of transition to the mount line, and was off on the bike leg.
The course was a two 12-mile loop course, and the terrain was rolling. I am fortunate enough to spend a good amount of time in that area, as well, so I knew the roads, and had even pre-ridden the course the day before. And I LOVE rollers. I settled into a good, strong, sustainable pace and just hammered away. I was pretty well in front of anyone else from wave 2, and out on the roads with only the top tier guys from wave 1. I passed a few guys, but mostly was in sight of only one or two others, who were moving the same speed. It was an uneventful, but fast, ride. I was smart about taking in my GU gels and drinking enough so I wouldn't have to on the run. I finished the two loops in just under an hour, clocking the 6th fastest bike split of the day. I'm absolutely loving the Garneau EMJ Skinsuit, ENVE 7.8 wheelset, and my Rudy Project Wing57 helmet. Free speed from all three of them. I felt good on the run-in to transition, as well, and was ready to finish off strong.
I had a good, quick, transition from bike to run, and was off onto the two loop 10k course. There was a really cool section through the woods to start and finish the run, which was tough, but really helped break the course up. Then onto the road for the two approx. 3 mile loops. I settled into a good, solid pace in the low 6's. It was definitely hard, but I felt pretty strong. As I went out for the first time, I could see the other guys on the course. I counted 7 or 8 in front of me, all wave 1 guys. I tried to stay focused on the 4 min. advantage I had from starting in wave 2. There were two guys who were clearly the class of the field, who were way out in front, and everyone else seemed to be within striking range. I did have one guy come flying past me on the run. He ended up 6th OA, and turns out it was his first tri ever, but he was also a former pro runner. Some guys make the run look so easy. But I didn't let that distract me, I stayed focused on my pace and turned in a solid run, again the 6th fastest of the day.
Now it was just time to wait for results. I compared watches with a guy from another local elite team. We had both recorded times that were literally 1 second apart! He had started in the first wave, I started in the second. We could have been running stride for stride across the finish line. Oh well. Like I said, that was the mistake. He ended up finishing 1 second ahead of me and taking 3rd overall. I was 4th overall, and 1st in my Age Group. Would have been cool to be on the overall podium, but I'm really stoked on a great start to the season.