Came home for the weekend to NJ. Spent Friday/Saturday tweaking the shifting on the D-6, something must've bumped it while it was in my car or something, and it was fine. I also had a little issue with the seal on the one tube; I've had nothing but t
rouble getting a seal on the latex tubes since I started using them a few weeks ago. I did a few transition practices in the driveway with 1-2 mile hard rides followed by 1/4 mi run.
The Pine Barrens don't exactly lend themselves to judging where you are, because there are virtually zero landmarks on many of the roads, and sometimes miles between intersections with roads you'd actually recognize. I made it probably 10 miles out of the way before I decided to check my phone's Google Maps. It's not the most accurate, but it at least helped me figure out I was wayyyy past where I needed to turn. I got to the race site maybe 50ish minutes before the start time, but it's a small enough race that it wasn't a problem.
Swim start got delayed a bit because the buoys were initially set up for a lot more than 1/4 mile. It was pretty flat, but it was low tide, so there was lots of dolphin diving in shin deep water, sometimes with incoming waves. I wasn't fully swimming until maybe we were halfway out to the turn buoy, which is about when things thinned out. Swimming parallel to the beach I kicked it into gear, remembering the whole idea that once the swim is done, your arms are done. I came out of the water about where I thought, something like 4th or 5th place. I beat another out of T1, which was otherwise uneventful. Swim was a 6:42, which is on-par for an ocean 1/4 mi for me.
Warmup was just running around, somewhat looking for a bathroom/portapotty that didn't have a crazy line. Transition had to be set up with my handlebars on the bar. I hate doing it that way because I take up so much space, but with my wheels on the ground, the saddle is still way above the saddle.pre-start with Dad
For the bike I just tried to absolutely hammer as best I could. I took the lead in this race last year on the bike, but I could barely even 3rd place at the start of the bike, so I tried not to worry about winning but just going as hard as possible and let the cards fall. I got a little bored a few times on the front stretch. I came into the turnaround in third, and I was extra careful this time not to hit sand and crash like last year. I saw I still had a pretty decent gap behind #1 and #2, and there was another guy gaining on me. He ended up passing me on the back half of the bike, so at that point I tried to keep him in sight as well as work up to #2, who I definitely was gaining some ground. There's a mixed good and bad that the course is so flat and almost perfectly straight, because except for one or two slight bends, you can see almost the entire course. At the speed the one guy passed me on the bike, I was really banking on my run to catch him back. I entered T2 in 4th, somewhere like 15 seconds down. T2 was hairy, when I slipped on somebody else's wetsuit coming around a corner. I still managed to have the 9th fastest T2 though! Bike was 23:46, for 25.2 mph, my fastest ever. Not surprising given that this ought to be the fastest course, but still a nice feeling.
finishing probably my last DQ race, a bittersweet feelingOverall time was 50:08, 4th place overall, versus 53:03 and 1st place. The swim times as a whole seem between a minute and a half to two minutes faster due to the Atlantic looking like a lake, so there's time right there, and I didn't crash this year, so there's some more time as well, but this was definitely a better race than last year when I won. Did I want to win again? Of course, but it's more important to me to get better overall, and the 3 minute improvement on a course this short is better proof of that than winning the race again. There's no way of controlling or knowing who will show up. It just so happens that none of those three who beat me were there last year, so I won. Heck, without them, I would have had the lead at some point probably 2 or 3 miles into the bike, where I might have just started cruising comfortably and gone slower than last year, despite being in clearly better shape.
I've definitely got a lot more reflecting to do on this race and the season as a whole, so that'll come out some point when I don't have a paper to write.