A Major Accomplishment

At the beginning of each year I set out a few goals for my race season. This year I came up with two challenging, but obtainable ones – place top 10 in the XTERRA USA Pro points series and finish getting my all around pro triathlon license (right now I’m off-road pro only). With my less than stellar performances in Temecula, Birmingham, and Richmond, the first of my two goals is now nearly impossible to achieve, so I’ve turned my sights on the second.

To complete my all around pro license, I need to finish within 8% of the winners time in 3 races with a pro prize purse. I have one from last year (Ogden), but needed to get two more this year. Though I did not race up to my standards in Richmond, it was enough to get me within 8% of Josiah Middaugh’s winning time. To get the final result, I decided to pop out to Boston and visit the venue of my first half ironman and give it a go again.

Thursday after work, I hopped on a plane to Boston sporting a blue Mohawk and long black compression tights (quite a sight walking through the airport). On Friday I shot down to the race sight to volunteer for a few hours (trading some man power for a comp’d entry fee). After that it was off to a BBQ for the 4th of July.

Saturday morning – race time! With a rather small elite wave (~15 in all), visions of picking up the win started dancing through my head. The gun went off, and as the swim got underway I was reminded that if I did want to win this, I would have to ride and run my butt off because leading out of the swim wasn’t gonna happen. Posting one of the fastest T1 times, I hopped on my bike with a mountain of GU’s on the top tube and loaded up with bottles.

The bike shaped up to be quite interesting. Mike Lavery, another elite, and I came out of T1 together. Sitting about 20/25 meters off his wheel, we set a solid pace and started reeling people in. Jay gapped me out slightly before the first aid station and then disappeared. I was quite disheartened that he completely dropped me, but to my surprise, as I finished my first lap a spectator told me I was in second. Unfortunately for them, both Jay and the lead woman (she beat me out of the water as well) had taken wrong turns and went off course. They got back on, but were minutes down from their original positions.

As I came off the bike, I was still a bit confused as to exactly what position I was in. Knowing I had one racer right on my heals, I was quite surprised when a timer told me I was in second! “The leader is 6:15 up on you… Third is 1:30 down” were the words that got me both incredibly excited and a little nervous. Not only had I just put 1:30 on third place through T2 (it’s a no-pain-gain!), but I was feeling quite confident and comfortable. Unfortunately that wouldn’t last. After about 7 miles, I was reminded that I’m trained for XTERRA racing right now, not half iron distance. I had some stomach issues and had to pull into the bushes for a quick pit stop. As I continued to ease off my original 6:30/mile pace, I was passed by two guys. I eventually crossed the line in 4th, but was beat by a racer in another wave to finish 5th overall.

I had accomplished my goal for this race. I had done it – I will now be an all around pro triathlete! It really felt great to achieve something that I have worked hard for.

This is becoming such a long blog that in hopes of not losing readers, I’m goning to give all the details of the following days race (yes I raced on Sunday as well), and the return home, in another blog.


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