3rd 70.3 Muncie
Race day started the same way most race days do…at a very accommodating home stay. My wife and I cruised over to the race site looking forward to defending at the legendary Muncie Endurathon! We got a great parking spot close to transition which was a change from the year before inwhich we were parked nearly a mile away. Morning set up went quick and uneventful…Until I was walking to the race start with Jill at 6:47am (13 minutes to race start) and that is when the fireworks started.
I was zippering up my race kit and the zipper jumped the tracks. I spent about 10 seconds trying to re-secure the zipper but it was not going to work. In a USAT race I would just race bare torso, but in WTC you are required to have a top on…so I needed a new race kit. I grabbed the key and took off in a dead sprint to the car. The people parked in the car next to me got to see my bare bottom as I quickly changed into a spare race kit that I always have on hand in case of emergency…and I was in emergency mode. I sprinted back to the start and got to the start and started slipping into my wetsuit at 6:55am (5 minutes to race start). I got a few strokes in for warmup during the national anthem and the water was already boiling in my wetsuit from my body heat.
7am sharp the cannon fired. I was on David Kahn’s feet for a few strokes longer than I stayed there for at Puerto Rico this spring. I suddenly felt the adrenaline drop and I had a lul of energy and flat out got dropped hard core. I slid off the back of what became the lead pack by the time we hit the half way mark of the swim which is when my body came back alive. I closed the gap to the lead pack and slowly worked my way up to the front of the pack as we neared the end of the swim.
I could see Josh Amberger mounting his bike as I entered T1 with David Kahn about 15 seconds back and then 15 seconds behind Kahn was Joe Umphanoer and the 5 of us were 1:15 behind Amberger. My transition was crisp and quick.
Richie Cunningham and I were the first two on our bikes and as I was pulling my straps tight on my Mavics I hear a snap and see Richie swerving left with his aerobars pointed down…I thought to myself something broke as we almost collided. I turned up the power and quickly passed Joe and Kahn and set sail for a quick pedaling Amberger. At mile 25 I moved to the point and at mile 28 I was exactly at 1 hour. On the second loop I played dodge age groupers riding heads up but still laying the hammer down. The second half of the bike went quickly because of the focus required to ride safely. In the final miles I learned that Amberger had been sitting in for the last 30 miles.
I dismounted at the clock struck 2 hrs and now it was time to run a half marathon. I got out on the run and started hitting 6 min/mi out of the gate. Amberger passed me as we neared the first mile and he drew out to a 30 second lead over the first 5k…then his progress stalled. As I neared mile 5 the 3rd place bike passed me! The next thing I knew Lionel Sanders came flying by like 6min/mi were pedestrian. After the turnaround it was time to see where 4th place was and it was far, the gap was well over a mile. I kept my pace hoping that Amberger would crack but he did not. I slowed and gave my wife a kiss and thanked my mom for coming out and cheering me on. I grabbed the Boilermaker flag and flew it just as proud as I did a year ago when I won.
I was more than happy to finish 3rd place after the disaster that occurred moments before the race start! I apologize for the lack of pictures.
Fighting to win and punish,