There were loads of people around from Austin I knew includingmstoonceswho provided the attached pictures, thanks Toon! Along with Kevin Saunders who took the pro pictures which can be seen on Jake North photography; Derek Yorek who was the overall winner, Chris Garlington from T3 and a bunch of other good folks.
Anyway, come time for the pre-race briefing, much to my surprise and disappointment, the bike course had to be shortened to just under 10-miles on each leg. Not long after that it was start time, is was still a bit cold, so I decided on the Tri-Force bike jacket for a race for the 2nd time this year, underneath I had a base layer and my Ironman Executive Challenge tri top.
The race was started on the bike, rolling out over the timing mat in age group order. I went for it from the go, and by the time I made it out of town, less than 2-miles, I'd already passed the other guys from my age group. There was a short chicane off of a couple of short roads and we went over a bridge and onto a back country road, down about another mile; turn around and back. It wasn't flat but it might well have been. On the approach to transition I unclipped, dropped my rear foot and did the running dismount perfectly. 24:33 for the first bike, passed about 15-people, passed by no one. Fastest time in my age group by 2-mins.
In T1 I'd already decided it was off with the jacket and the gloves, but to keep the bike helmet on ala Dan Corner. T1 was 38-seconds, top-10. So here I am just out of transition, heading down Main St. Smithville. I managed to keep a good pace on the run and didn't get passed until about half way by James Griffis, #384, in the 55-59 age group, he'd been flying on the bike and was catching me. On the run I tried to keep up but after about 2-miles he was disappearing. After that I was passed by "Panther" aka Phil Carmichael the former Austin Duathletes President, dressed in a superman outfit, and I figure he'd put maybe 30-seconds between us. My run of 22:22 for 3-miles, was on 5k PR pace and gave me 2nd in the age group.
T2 was just 19-seconds, off with the shoes and a running bike mount, 2nd fastest overall. Out on the 2nd bike I knew what to expect and set off after both Phil and James. I was able to close and take Phil and put another 2-mins on him, but chasing James was fruitless, he was 45-seconds faster than my 25:30 2nd bike lap. I was very pleased with that considering I'd hammered the run in the middle, just under a minute slower than my first bike.
Finishing on the bike is a weird experience when there isn't a big finish line, and here it was especially so since there wasn't much of a run out behind the timing mat, so it wasn't a sprint to the line as you had to stop less than 20ft after it. I clocked in at 1:13:24. Pretty pleased. I was fairly sure I'd won my age group, but not Overall Masters since James was way faster, 1:10:10.40.
Turns out they had lots of timing problems. The overall results have holes all over them where peoples times are missing. James first bike leg is timed as 46-mins, which can't be right and doesn't total up. It also shows Graydon Thorne, #379 age 52 as Masters Winner, to be honest I can't recall seeing him on the course, but Kevins photos indicated by sequence he was in front on the first run and the bike.
Anyway, the mess up on the timing leaked through to the awards, with plenty of whoops moments. I'd guess a lot of this was people like me showing up at the last minute and registering. But that doesn't account for the gaps in the results and times like James which don't otherwise add up.
A small but important blot on an otherwise great fun and exhilarating race. He is me collecting my Age Group first place. Afterwards I hung around chatting to folks, visited a few of the "antique" stores in downtown Smithville and had a relaxed drive back to Austin. Great morning out! Next-up Ironman Arizona!