The first week of October I got the best news possible, I could go out and compete. I looked at the calendar and headed to the hills of South Carolina where I finished last season with a monster win at Rev3 South Carolina. I headed down with my fiance Jill and we were very nervous because this would be the first test for my shoulder and body. The goal for the day was to simply finish.
I felt like a beginner in transition setting up my stuff, it had been a year. At the start I was slow off the line but quickly found a great set of feet…5x World Champ Torenzo Bozzonne, on my feet Richie Cunningham perfect company for only being in the water a few weeks. I just focused on drafting Bozzone and before I knew it the Orca Alpha got me out of the water effortlessly in the hunt. With only a month of swim fitness doing sets out ofFor Swimmers 365 Main Sets, I was shocked at my position.Running into T1 I was able to get some help from Richie to unzip my wetsuit because I still lack the range of motion needed to grab that zipper. I am still very thankful that or I would still be in T1 hopping around trying to find the string.On the bike I quickly went to work, maybe too hard. I was so excited to race I went red lined up the first climb jumping from the second pack through the first pack and to sharing the lead with Ben Collins. That new large Orbea Ordu with the Shimano Pro Cockpit is a rocket ship.
By mile 20 there was nobody in sight. At mile 40 on a little kidney loop I learned I was 2 minutes up on Ben Collins and still had little idea where the rest of the field was.
T2 was quick and now it was time to run. The first mile of the run you can see the road into transition and as much as I was focusing on settling into a strong pace…I was watching that road. I saw Collins come out of T2 3 minutes down…then I ran down a hill and the rest of the field would be an unknown…but with a field that included Bozzone, Richie, Jeff Symonds, Cartmell, and more…a 5-6 minute lead was not enough. I pushed hard the first lap of the run fighting some serious quad and calf cramps. I would learn at the 4 mile mark Collins was still 3 minutes back and Bozzone was more than 7 back.
At mile 8 of the run I caught Jill who was just a mile into her run and gave her a big kiss as she told me to go! As I neared the turn around at mile 9.5 I really started to wilt, but my lead over Collins was still over 2 minutes and 4 over a flying Bozzone. I was cooked but I just kept focusing on form and the hundreds of competing Age Groupers kept me motivated, and at the end of the finish chute I got a huge Old Glory and very proudly hoisted it as I ran down the finish chute.
It was my wildest dream come true, my goal was to finish. It was incredible to have my parents and my fiance there because this meant as much to them as it did to me. I could not have done it without them getting me to where I needed to be much of this spring. It was also incredible the welcome back I got from my triathlon family, age groupers, pros, media, and race management. A special thanks goes out to Nils Nilsen and the whole Rev3 media crew for capturing the emotion of the day!