Sunday, July 12, 2015

Renaissance Man Triathlon -- July 12th, 2015 -- Florence, Alabama

The Renaissance Man Triathlon in Florence, Alabama is my hometown race.  It feels a lot like having a pickup game in my back yard.  That means this race is an absolute blast for me; its a party from packet pickup all the way through the post-race party.

This season, defending the RMTri title meant that I had some serious get-busy ahead of me.  There were a couple names on the start list that I recognized, but my fellow Team Zoot'er Chad Williamson was the biggest threat.  The man just has an impressive ability to suffer in the closing miles of close races.  To be real honest, I wanted no part of a showdown with him on the run course.

The plan was to minimize my loss in the water, do what I had to do to get to front on the bike, and hope there was a big enough gap that I didnt have to find out "what it takes" to out run him.  

This year's Renaissance Man Tri featured an elite wave start for the top contenders.  That meant a handful of us piled into the water and waited for the cannon to fire.  Since it was as small wave, the MMA fight that breaks out at a typical mass start didnt happen.  Aside from feeling like I was losing the race the entire time, the swim went perfectly.  I came out to find I was only a few seconds down and mounted up in 5th place.
The 22:08 swim time is my fastest yet

Chad chasing his way up.  I am the farthest dot you can see.
Lori Williamson leading the race on her way to 1st Female
(after crushing us all out of the water)
To my absolute joy, I immediately spied the lead vehicle once I hit the bike course.  Within a few minutes, I caught Chad and made a big move to get a gap open as I passed.  

57:21 bike split was good for the fastest ride of the day.  Strava Link
From there, it was chasing the lead moto around the flat and fast course while racing my Garmin all the way back into transition.  

Off the bike, I knew I had precious little time to skit away from Chad.  Seeing him coming into T2 as I ran out was a little spooky, but I knew my task was simple:  RUN!

The RMTri run course starts in McFarland Park following the marina side trail.  Then it presents a gradual climb up to the University of North Alabama campus, around the a huge fountain that tends to collect triathletes late in the race, through the lion exhibit, and back down by the iconic Frank Loyd Wright House.  

37:21 top run split Strava Link
Lion Exhibit in the background.
It's all so very easy to write, but running it is a constant battle.  The entire ascent feels like a death march; then descending hammers and tenderizes what ever is left.  The final mile is a runway approach back to McFarland where the crowds and cheers await.  

Fortunately, the little gap I managed on the bike held long enough for me to see the finish line before I had to see Chad again.  I feel a lot like I got away with a lucky W.  Fortunately, the next time I face him, I will be cheering for him to KQ at IRONMAN Chattanooga in September.

I was pumped to knock out my first sub-2 hour olympic with a 1:57:56.

We immediately started dissecting the race day.

Glenn Rudolph took his Age Group title

Me, the inspiration, and the genetics.

Mostly the Borden Dental Racing team.

Best Cheerleader EVER!  

The Race Fairies were at body marking providing so go-fast sprinkles for everyone.