It's been over a week since I last posted, since then I've raced in NY at the NYC Nautica Triathlon, done the touristy thing through NY for a day or two, flown up to Ontario and spent a week with my girlfriend Denise in Hamilton just south of Toronto.
Tomorrow I fly out to Vancouver where I'll stay for the rest of the summer. I have two more big races to do and some hard training to get through as well. On Saturday my family are flying out to meet me and we'll all drive up to Whistler to spend a few weeks together.
The race in NY went well I think. The main aim for the day was hammer the swim, I have raced some great triathletes in the past year but none of them matched up to the quality of the field in NY. Greg Bennett, Matty Reid and yes the big guns of Andy Potts. In my mind I don't care who I can beat in the water except Andy Potts, he is the front runner and the big name in the sport, for sure the one I want to be beating. Anyway...
...race morning came around, non wetsuit swim, already 75 degrees and it was about 430am! Pretty humid in NY too so lots of sweating triathletes running around frantically at 5am. My race was to start a 0550 but lightening put the start off until 0610. I was feeling good and nerves were definitely not an issue, I'd been sharing a few jokes with Greg Bennett so a mixture of star struckness and having fun were the main feelings before the race. Almost everyone racing though were rocking the fancy swim skin suits that are all the rage these days. Being a complete toddler in the sport I have not invested (been given) a swim skin, according to some reliable sources they rock socks and make a pretty decent advantage however.
That aside I didn't have one...but I think I will soon! Got a great spot on the starting pontoon, Potts was way off to the right, then Bennett, Reid, Stuart Hayes ... then me. Off we go and the state of the Hudson river becomes apparent, its black! You can't see a thing ... but I wasn't complaining, I was in the lead.
Settled into my stroke and started flying down the river, downstream so it's quick (12 minute 1500m). Leading for the first 1000m, can't explain how cool that felt, made my year for sure :) Eventually though I felt a hand hit my foot and slowly the big shape of Potts crept up beside me in his slidey swim skin (slidey as it was impossible to grab ... not that I was grabbing). He is a master of evading, he'd slither off to the left, then right, then left again, trying to drop me. As we approached the exit he got a good 5m on me and off he ran towards transition. The mats were a bit along so he had a 10sec gap on me by the time I beeped in, Bennett was only 5sec behind by that point too. Boy those guys run fast into T1!
At this point I got onto my bike as quickly as possible and got into the rhythm. I settled into 8th place but then my Sis gel fell out of my tri suit at 15km and I was subjected to the Nazi regime of the officials and put to rest for a 60sec stand down penalty (Illegal to drop anything on the bike course). Essentially I lost about 2 mins on the road faffing with the penalty and then another 2 on the bike after trying to get back into the zone. At this point I new my chances of a top ten were scrapped but I was determined not to let it ruin my race. I got to T2 as quickly as I humanly could and went on to run my fastest 10km run split yet. The run was nowhere near quick but it definitely wasn't walking, all good signs.
Managed to meet Greg Bennett too who was a pleasure to talk to, race alongside and joke around with. He called me a "boy" which was good for a laugh, me being 17 years his junior, but he gave me some good advice and a decent pat on the back. Great athlete.
Can only be summed up as an AWESOME experience, I met some of the hero's of the sport, raced them, had a cracking swim, decent run, saw an amazing place and made some friends in the process. If that's not what sports about then I don't know what is.