This was my first year getting to do this iconic race that I have seen on TV over the years and watched some amazing performances. I was excited to throw my hat in the ring and be a part of the action.
This is the birth place of the Equalizer, where the women get a head start (10:01 this year). It’s fun to feel like a hunter on the run! This was the first race for the Toyota Triple Crown.
Chris Foster and I had a sweet location for our AirBnB, right next to Lake Nokomis where the race took place.
The water was refreshing and at a wonderful temperature for not wearing wetsuits. This is the first race in years, that I can remember not being on the front line for the start of the swim. I got there just a bit late and the pole positions had been taken. So I just lined up in the 2nd row and felt good about my chances for getting out well anyway.
Sure enough, after running in things spread out and a couple dolphin dives put me at the front of the race with Hunter and I drag racing Cam who came over and took the lead into the first buoy. I enjoyed the swim and maintained the sweetest spot in 2nd or 3rd throughout the swim. I was able to let go, in that the mind shut down and my attention was on the form that we know as swimming.
I came out of the water bracing for one of the hardest parts of the race; standing and sprinting to our bikes with guys that throw down 4min miles. I was on the soft side for this T1. Hunter and Cam pulled out a few seconds on me. I was able to get past Hunter on the bike but Cam was gone…
I had no sense or idea where I was on the bike course. I looked over the course map well but was having trouble applying that to the real world. I was shocked at the road conditions and wishing that I had put less than 120psi into my wheels. I was bouncing all over. Can I get some time on the ground!?
It took massive power and core strength to ride the bumps and keep the effort up. Not much free speed on this crossbike-like course.
Greg Bennett and Ben Collins rode threw me early in the bike while Hunter Kemper and Brooks Cowan rode near me the whole way. I was tentative to lead because I just didn’t know which way the next turn was coming. When Hunter started taking off his shoes to enter T2 I thought we had another 5 miles to go!?
The three of us started the run in 4th, 5th, and 6th. Hunter had the run of the day and flirted with over taking Cam for 2nd place but missed by a handful of seconds. Ben Collins had the race of the day with a solid bike and break through run to win the race.
Only Chris Foster ran threw me having started the run just a few seconds behind me and on his way to the second fastest run on the day. With Chris came Dave Thompson the local legend and owner of the bike course record. When Dave caught up we were closing in on Brooks who went out a bit too hot with Hunter. “Alright boys, it’s a battle for 6th”, I said with a bit of sarcasm. I heard a little smirk from Brooks as he fell off the pace. Dave and I battled it out for the remaining 4miles.
We each attacked the other a couple times but couldn’t get away. I was enjoying all the cheering Dave received as the local guy. It was especially cool to see his wife and little boy out there cheering him on. It gave me a huge boost to think of my family back in Boise. “Thanks for the dad power” I mentioned to Dave as we tried to break each other down.
With a little more than a mile to go he pulled away from me on one of the diverted grass and mud sections. I reeled him back in and then picked up my cadence. It felt good to be racing and pushing the pace. For one of the first times in my career as a triathlete I ran with mental fortitude. I created a small gap but could still hear Dave’s breathing and footsteps.
With a mile to go I maxed out my effort for the next 5 minutes. It worked and gave me enough cushion to avoid the sprint finish for which I am 0 for 10 in my career.
In the Race for the Toyota Cup I caught all the girls save for Alicia Kaye (who kept Ben at bay by a few seconds and is leading the Toyota Triple Crown race by those few seconds) and Radka who finished as the 2nd female and just 7 seconds in front of me.
Very happy with 6th, thrilled with the swim and run and the bike is moving in the right direction. I’m ready to pop all three here pretty soon.