I had an awesome race this weekend @ Red Hills Triathlon. It's the "toughest sprint in Florida" according to the race's website. It covers a 1/3 mile swim, 16 mile bike, and 5k run. It's capped around 300 participants and it fills up fast, well in advance of the race date. It is quite popular for good reason. Kathy McDaris is the race director and she makes everything run seamlessly.
I convinced my roommate Andrew to do the race. He loved it. It was cool having him there. We've trained together a little bit. He did really well for his first time with the exception of getting a 2 minute time penalty for "improper placement of equipment"...we still can't figure out what he did wrong. He had the advantage of borrowing my race number belt and practicing transitions with me on Friday after we got our packets and tried to run the course. I also gave him some of my power smoothie, very similar to what I made before the Tallahassee Marathon.
Before the race even started, I had some stuff going for me. I put the ISM racing saddle on my bike and a Blackwell Research 100mm tubular front wheel. As for me, I kicked ass. I beat last year's time by 4 minutes, 49 seconds. Compared to last year, I dropped about 30 seconds on the swim, 20 seconds on T1, 3:27 on the bike, 11 seconds on T2, and 16 seconds on the run. I'm sure some of the bike time savings came from weather conditions, my Rudy Project Syton helmet that I didn't have last year, the ISM seat, and the Blackwell wheel, but I think the biggest improvement was my diminished fear of flying down the hills. Last year I still had the crash fresh in my mind. This year I was a little less cautious.
The swim went well. I stayed on course very well. I did zig zag a tiny little bit on the return to shore, but it was minimal. T1 went very smoothly except my sunglasses were fogged up a little bit and I couldn't wipe them off. Turns out it wasn't fog, but something that had been on my lenses from the day before. Nasty. Obstructed my vision for the rest of the race. I couldn't wipe it off with my jersey because of the material and the dampness. Anyway, the bike handled very nicely and I avoided all the rocks in the road. The only downside was that the sun was directly in my eyes heading down Bannerman so I slowed down a little when I was blinded. I went back & forth with Mike from the FSU team on the bike. He entered T2 before me and left T2 before me, but I caught him within 1/4 mile on the run. After I passed him, I couldn't see anyone up ahead. When I got a chance to check behind me I noticed that there was nobody within striking distance. The next finisher was 8 seconds behind me. I got 2nd in my age group, 3rd for FSU, and 15/245 finishers overall.
I felt great and rode that high all day long. I'm reminded why I train.