My Way or the Tri Way Sprint Report

This was my second sprint triathlon in 2 weeks and the last sprint race on my 2012 race calendar.  Having raced Evergreen Sprint Triathlon 13 days ago, I had a good benchmark with which to compare today’s performance at My Way or the Tri Way in Aurora.  One of the unique things about this race is that you can choose which order to do the events.  Though most opt for the traditional swim-bike-run, all other variations were included, such as swim-bike-swim, run-bike-swim and bike-swim-run.  Needless to say, I chose the classic triathlon.

After some navigational issues en route, we arrived only 45 minutes prior to the start, which gave us just enough time to pick up the race packet, rack the bike and get ready for the start.  Unfortunately the rush meant that I had no time to take any pictures from the race venue.  With an 8am start time, the sun was already out and it looked set to be another warm Colorado morning.  There were a few pros in the race, and - as always in Colorado - I knew there would be some tough local competition.  The gun went off with us lined up at transition, and we started by running a few hundred metres towards the swim start.  Running in a wetsuit isn’t much fun at the best of times and I’d already lost 10 seconds or so to the fastest guys who’d sprinted to the start.  I soon found a decent rhythm, although I was alone and unable to find any feet to follow.  Just before the halfway point I latched onto someone ahead of me and followed them briefly before passing and making my way towards the finish.  Coming towards the end of the swim I was satisfied that I’d swum reasonably well, all the while feeling comfortable and in control.  I was quite pleased with the 12:48 split, which included running to and from transition. 

There was an uphill run to transition and at this point I wasn’t too sure what position I was in coming out of the water.  After a reasonable T1 I was on the bike and immediately felt quite good, especially compared to the last race in Evergreen.  After a bit of toing and froing, I moved to the front of a small group of us that had exited transition together, and tried to put some time into the guys behind me.  I figured at this point that there would be at least two guys ahead, although being fast swimmers, they were out of sight (and slightly out of mind).  As we hit the turnaround point I’d made about 20 seconds on the next guy behind me and tried to maintain the momentum, building a lead in the second half of the bike.  The rolling course made it tough to keep a good rhythm at times, as well as the wind which had picked up considerably.  I finished the 12.5 mile bike with a split of 28:36, 30 seconds slower than the fastest split of the day by Kiwi pro Dylan McNiece. 

I was a little slow through T2 (something I’ve got to work on) but as soon as I started running, I felt good.  My breathing was under control and I was feeling really relaxed, although always conscious of the guys behind me.  I was still unsure of my position, but figured that I’d be up there.  Looking back at certain points on the run course, it looked like I had a good minute advantage over the next guy behind me.  As I still couldn’t see anyone ahead, the solo nature of the race continued.  Covering both concrete and gravel tracks, the looped run course was reasonably flat with some short inclines, but at 3.5 miles, it was a touch longer than a standard sprint distance run leg.  My final run split was 21:09, finishing in 3rd place (behind two professionals) with a finish time of 1:04:48 including transitions. 

I’ve really enjoyed the last two races, both of which have been a bit of a learning experience for me.  Next weekend I’ll return to my preferred longer distance races at Ironman 70.3 Boulder, which I’m really looking forward to.  It will be a deep professional field with the $10,000 first place prize attracting some top athletes, and my age-group will be equally tough with a certain Drew Scott racing!  Still, it will be a good opportunity to test myself against some serious competition and see how I stack up. 

I can’t write this report without mentioning the terrible events that took place in Aurora last week.  Triathlon couldn’t be further from people’s minds at this time and what happened is a reminder that we can never afford to take anything for granted in life.  To those involved that night, the friends and families of the victims, our thoughts are with you.