I decided to add Raleigh to my race schedule this year. I was determined to take the lessons learned from Chattanooga and apply them in my race execution here. The swim featured quite a number of quick athletes, so when the gun sounded, a good, solid group of about 8 guys pulled off the front into 2 separate packs almost immediately, which left a large group of more mediocre swimmers in charge of focusing the large main pack. A third of the way through the swim I noticed Matt Russell swimming right next to me on my right and Thomas Gerlach’s signature teal tri suit (sans speedsuit) just ahead, so initially I was pleased with where I was and was content to stay put. Unfortunately it seemed no one in this pack was really keen on driving the pace at the front, so by the halfway point the pace really started lagging, and the group, which consisted of at least 10 guys, really bunched up and I started getting a bunch of elbows and kicks. When I’m not stretched to stay with a group, I know I’m either in the wrong group, or whatever group I’m in is going to have a large gap to whoever happened to get off the front earlier. And that was exactly the case today. We all exited together, but we gave the lead packs 2-5 minutes out of the water, which would be tough to pull back.
I attempted to make my way through transition efficiently, hopped on the bike in 5th out of about 10 guys in the group, and then quickly passed two of the guys. Russell, Gerlach, and Michael Poole had gapped everyone, and I went to work to bridge the gap. In the process of catching Gerlach and Poole, I passed Luke McKenzie, who had a minute gap on us out of the water. By mile seven I had caught Gerlach and Poole with Russell up the road. I was encouraged that I had a couple allies to work with in the pursuit, but after three or four miles or pulling, I discovered only Poole had stuck with me. Over the next 45 miles, we traded off the lead legally and came into transition about a minute down from a group of three.
The run didn’t pan out very well for me today. My stomach was a complete brick from taking in too many calories and not enough water, so I trudged through the run at a fairly pedestrian pace. I managed to move into 7th overall by mile 5, but after that I stalled a bit and was never able to pick up enough momentum to make a charge for 6th.
Overall I had an average swim, and average bike, and a below average run, which results in 7th overall just over 4 hours and 4 minutes. On to Eagleman!