With 15 races behind me, over a million yards of swimming and 2500 miles of running, I was ready to finish off my season in a big way. The days leading up to the race were very uneasy, I was super fit, it was the last race of the season, but I also had the Rev3 series title on the line. Sunday could not come soon enough. Here was the preview show!
Race morning was perfect, it was cool, but not cold, breezy and full of nerves, tension, and excitement. After running through the race over and over it was time to execute the race that had been played in my mind.
When the horn fired I went out like I would for an Olympic distance race, and at the first buoy I found myself sharing the lead. I let up a bit and slid in behind the other swimmer which I quickly realized was VO2 and slowing, at that time Fleischmann came by and I jumped on his feet. At the second buoy we fanned out across the lake. (Live Coverage)
There was a small current and I knew to stay out of the middle, but I wasn’t going to swim as wide as Fleischmann. So down the long straight it was Hackett against the buoys, Fleisch about 100′ off the buoy line, me splitting the difference…a straight drag race. At the last buoy, we all came together, nothing lost, nothing gained. Out of the swim the lead pack was 4, and we could’ve fit under a picnic blanket.
In T1 I executed precision and took the lead as the rest geared up for the bike (Live Coverage). It was the 100 little things that I learned over the years that vaulted me from a chaser to a leader out of T1.
I made a last second decision to race the TriMaxCarbon front wheel instead of my normal TriMaxUltimate, because something in my gut told me too. The best decision I made all season for wheels. The wind was out of the NNE, the course mainly went that way first. I crushed the first 40K. Let’s get out of sight and make them wonder. The course was never flat, it was always gaining and losing elevation. From mile 25 to 30 I relaxed a little and tried a few different cadences and tried to find a rhythm to use for the final 40K. At mile 30, it would be a mix of tail and cross winds home, I hit an intersection and my mom shouted that my lead was about 90 seconds (Live Coverage). I put my head down, time to ride the last 40K of my season, and we are going to do it flat out. I did. I came off the bike with minor cramps and major cramps looming, but the Ordu had motored me to a good lead.
T2, how are the legs going to feel. As I ran the downhill not to bad, I hopped into my Reebok race flats it was time to start churning (Live Coverage). I was tired, but this is what I train for, suffering.
The first mile of the run loops around a lake where you can see the final miles of the bike. I was nearly half a mile in before I saw a biker come in, and it was “a biker” not “a pack.” Within a mile there was less than a handful of guys, but DKT, whom I was racing for the series, was there. I ran hard, by the first turnaround, at mile 4.5 I got a good look at the situation. Rich Allen is 2nd about 0.5 miles back, Millward, Thompson, Stanslov, and Kriat…sprinkled from 0.75-1mi back. Come on baby. I focused on form, like the bike course, the run was never flat, short hills, along with long false flats littered the course.
At many points I felt like I was running in sand, but then the pitch would change and I would roll. Finally the 2nd and final turnaround. Allen had stagnated and the field behind him, well they all looked to be suffering. Nobody was coming in a hurry. Now it was just a matter to fending off these cramps. 3 minutes is a big lead, but minutes disappear fast if you are not moving. I inhaled Gu’s, water, and Gatorade at nearly every aid station.
At 10 I got a big cramp as I started on the long false flat downhill…I increased my cadence, come on relax. At mile 12 I could see around a field that we run around and there was no sight of 2nd. At mile 12.5 the course took us around an amphitheatre. I relaxed on the uphill and jogged up it slowly and then nearly walked down the other side, striding out would get me to the finish line faster, but I would risk a face plant if the quads and hams lock up. Finally, back to false flats for the final 400m.
I hit the finish chute (video), I did not know what to do. Since 2006 I have raced pro, I have won 2 small professional races, yet here in the last month I have won two of the biggest races on the triathlon calendar. The woes of the season seemed to melt away as a hit the line. I grabbed the tape and looked up past the clouds to the stars, because that it is where my goals are. I showed the stars the Rev3 South Carolina finish tape, telling them that NOTHING is impossible.
When I turned around I learned that my mom was holding the one end of the finish tape. I was surprised she let go when I crossed the line, because I knew, she knew how bad I wanted this one. Check out the live post race interview.
At Rev3 Cedar Point I out paced the field, here I out raced the field and it felt like VICTORY. I did far more than I needed to clinch the series Championship. I will talk about becoming the series champion next week.
Thank you for following me this season, without you supporting my sponsors and the never ending support of my friends, coaches, and family, none of this would have happened. It has been another career year and it is now time to recover, do some house work, and be “normal” for a few weeks…Who’s up for some pizza and a beer?
To read more about Andrew, visit; http://astarykowicz.blogspot.com/