My season started once again with the ITU race in Clermont, FL. My best result before this year was the first year I did it in 2011, where I finished 3rd. Even though the water was very choppy this year, in past years I struggled in choppy water, I was able to limit my losses and come out of the water 27 seconds behind the leader but in a pack of 15 chasing a pack of 5. The new Roka Maverick Pro wetsuit is the fastest thing I have ever worn in the water. We were not able to get much time back on the bike and I entered T2 18 seconds down to the leader. Half way through the run I was still about 15 seconds down but I was determined to not let this one slip away so I stayed focused and ran as hard as I could. Once I got in to 1st I couldn't believe that I was finally going to win a race. I was able to celebrate a little bit and for the first time in my life I broke the finish tape!! It was great to have Greg there for my first win, we have had a lot of ups and downs over the last 5+ years. I big thank you also goes out to Roxie Smith for letting me stay at her house while in Clermont. I got to sleep in Steve's trophy room, so I had a lot of inspiration to look at before I fell asleep.
My second race of the season was a new non-draft race in Ft Lauderdale, the Las Olas Triathlon. It had a good prize purse and smaller field so I was very excited for it. If you are looking for a good early season race, or in the Ft Lauderdale area on vacation I highly recommend the race.
There was a rip current warning in the ocean for the days leading up to the race but once the sun came up on race day the ocean was calm. When the horn sounded the Pro men made a dash for the ocean and after the first buoy I found myself on Cam Dye's feet. This has never happened before in my life. When I was still there halfway through the swim I couldn't help but smile. When I was still there at the end of the swim I has probably the happiest person in the world. Maybe my work in the pool helped, but the Roka Viper Pro speedsuit is a difference maker. Once I got on the bike I didn't care what happened the rest of the race. Then the bike started to hurt and I remembered I was there to race. I stayed on the gas as much as I could. I knew I had an opportunity to win the race but I would have to put together a good run to do it. Cam was up the road and I could not see him coming out of T2. A little after halfway I moved in to 1st but I didn't want to get too comfortable because it looked like there were a few guys running well behind me. I looked around as I entered the finish chute and could not see anyone so I slowed to a walk and savored the victory. I am still new to winning and I am not sure how many more I will have so I kissed the tape and held it up as high as I could. My wife and her mom, sister and cousin were at the race so I dished out some hugs. It was great to have my wife and daughter at the race. Winning is fun, but having my little family there made it that much sweeter.
Hopefully I can keep the momentum rolling this season. I have great sponsors this year and they contribute a lot to make these victories possible. N.B. Properties, Bralin Laser, Bradley Company, Hammer Nutrition, Roka, Garmin, Champion System, Profile Design, Stages Cycling, CompuTrainer, NormaTec, Cobb Cycling, New Balance, ProForm Bike, and Hofferth Chiropractic.
With love and patience, nothing is impossible. ~Daisaku Ikeda