In the swim I was right were I needed to be the first 400m, when the water was calm. The swim at St Anthony's starts in the water inside a sand bar that was man made to provide the beach with calm water. After we left the sheltered area of the swim we hit large waves and chop. I am not a strong swimmer in rough water, but I still came out 1 min behind the front pack. I'll take that for now.
Once I got on the bike I was happy where I was and ready to chase after the leaders. I settled in at 325 watts, which is a little high for me but I wanted to place well. If I could hold it, that would be my highest average for a 40k. After a few turn arounds I could gather where I was in the race and that a huge pack had formed at the front. This could be good and/or bad for me. A large pack means a large number of people for me to pass at once if I catch them on the bike or run. The bad news ended up being a lot of "legal" drafting. It is unfair for me to be racing by myself on the bike while 20 guys are treating the non draft event like it's the Tour de France. I stayed focused on what I was doing and did not let the pack get to me.
I got off the bike determined to catch as many people as I could and have the fastest run split of the day. I moved my way up to 7th and could see Cam Dye up the road with about a 1/2 mile to go. The only question was if I had enough time to catch him. I very rarely see Cam during a race, let alone beat him. I caught him before the final turn and ended up in 6th place, less than a minute behind 2nd place.
I was happy with it until I started talking to some people in the finish area. There were a number of guys talking about how crazy the front pack was. Some stated they were riding low watts a lot and sometimes they would not even have to peddle. That is BS! I was working my butt off while a large number of guys sat in on the bike pack and got pulled around the course. Drafting is cheating!
The frustration only continued when I started to look at my power profile on the bike and compared it to what I did 2 years ago, I rode a different bike and rode 59 sec faster. I was 320 watts that year and 325 watts this year. I should have went faster, instead my bike let me down. On a side note 2 years ago there were 17 people under 55min for the 40k and the same number rode under 55min this year, so conditions and the course were very similar.
As a whole I was very happy with MY race. I swam well for conditions and where my swim is right now, I rode my highest average ever for a 40k, and I had the fastest run by 44sec. I did the best I could with the cards in my hand.
As luck would have it, I landed a sponsorship with Planet X Bikes. Hopefully at my next race my bike won't be the reason I lose time. I am very excited and look forward to working with them.
Next up is London WTS on May 31. It will be my first experience at this level of racing. I cannot wait to race in an Olympic caliber field.
If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree. ~Jim Rohn