After the craziness and disappointment from Wildflower I really had an aimless pair of weeks which didn’t include much training at all because my quads were positively fried from riding with a dropped saddle. It gave me a feeling of the old days when it took weeks to recover from races because I the engine was stronger than the muscles. Flash ahead 15 days to Knoxville.
The swim was on the boarder of wetsuit legal, 0.1 degrees warmer it would’ve been no wetsuit…like always it was wetsuit legal. As the horn sounded on this unique “hybrid” distance all of us really did not know how the chips would fall. The 1.2 mile swim felt like 1.2 hours as I just did not have any feeling of the water. After splashing all the water out of the river for the first 1/4 mile I tried to settle in and find my form. When I did that I looked up and the train was gone. F–K, -UC-, F-C-, -U-K I elevated my kick and tried desperately to grip the water…but the gap only grew. The harder I swam the faster it grew. About the midway point of the swim it dawned on me instead of killing yourself, let up a bit and let somebody else pull…Yoder motored by me and I settled in next to Matt Reed.
As we exited the water I could see the leader were mounting their bikes…some 300m of running plus a transition ahead.
Once we were on the bike I was excited to race head to head with one of the best young talents in the sport, Yoder. He immediately threw the hammer down and I was matching it, we flew through town and down a hill and across a set of railroad tracks and I ejected a bottle…and the USAT official was right behind us. I grabbed the brake and almost got creamed by the official, but I had to get that bottle (so I don’t get a penalty) and get back in the race. I lost sight of Yoder, Cunningham, and Poole…it didn’t seem like it took that long…maybe 30 seconds or a minute but the gap was huge. It took me nearly 15 miles to catch Cunningham and Poole and I was riding that Ordu like a criminal. At mile 20 I rolled up on Don, Limkemann, and Collington…and for the first time in my career I saw Collington on the front doing work! I motored on with my sail set for Yoder and Dye. Even on the long straights I could not see them. At the only turnaround on the 41 mile bike course, Yoder and Dye were side by side 90 seconds up. I continued to push and got it down under a minute by the time we hit transition.
All of that hard work went out the window in T2 where I had some massive issues and had to sit down to put my shoes on. I felt like I lost days.
On the run Yoder was in sight the whole time, not close at all but yo-yoing from 1/4-1/3 of a mile, Dye was a little further up the road. The first 2 miles I was a rocket sled on rails. Then we got on this trail through the woods and into a neighborhood with a lot of flowering trees and my allergies went nuts. I couldn’t breathe, my eyes were running like I just got news of a death in the family…it was horrific. I couldn’t figure out at the time what was wrong, I was miserable. Don and Collington both past me dropping me to 5th at the 1/2 way mark of the run. The final 8k was just a constant push. I started to catch up to Yoder and I could see that Cunningham was closing the gap…but none of us were moving like we normally do. I tried to get a split from my wife back to Cunningham and she told me my gap to Yoder so I yelled at her telling her that I can see that…I can’t see behind me…great marital therapy on course today. Finally the finish…it could not have come soon enough. The race took just over 3 hours but it seemed longer than both of my Ironman Florida’s combined.
I will miss hanging out with the Rev3 team.