Back at it again with race number two of the season! This race started out quite differently than the one at Myrtle Beach did. The original plan of action for the race was to drive down Friday after I got off work and spend the night either in my tent or back seat and then drive back home Saturday after the race. After looking at traffic reports and realizing how late I was going to make it there, I decided to simply drive down in the morning before the race. It was hard to go to sleep at first realizing how long of a day I was going to have but knew that I needed to get as much sleep as possible.
It was a short five hours of sleep till my alarm went off at 2:30 AM. I jumped in the shower, threw all of my stuff that was mostly packed into the truck and on the road I went. It was quite smooth sailing with hardly any other cars on the road this early in the morning. Finally after the three and a half hour drive, I made it to the park just five minutes after I’d told myself I wanted to get there. Once I found the parking area for the race I quickly rushed to get my packet. I thought it was pretty funny when I looked in my packet and realized that I somehow got number 5 again, just like the weekend before at Myrtle. After attaching my number plate I got to transition and was able to snag a great spot on the rack, which gave me ample room to spread my shoes, helmet and nutrition out exactly how I wanted it. I ended up having plenty of extra time before the race that gave me a chance to get a nice warm up run and some needed time on the foam roller to stretch out.
Sunrise over the lake and transition.
Soon enough it was time for the race to start. I headed to the water and found that, although it was somewhat warm at the shoreline, it was freezing as you got to waist deep and got colder the further you went into the water. To my dismay it was not wet suit legal and we were all freezing our butts off. Jim looked over at me to see my teeth chattering while we waited on the start of the race. While waiting, there were many of us who thought the buoys had slowly drifted away and what was supposed to be a half mile swim seemed to turn into what felt like over a mile. After slowly but surly making my way through the swim, I was out of the water and on to my strongest leg, the bike. I hopped on my bike and got out of transition as fast as I could, knowing that the top athletes were way ahead of me after such an extended swim.
I was pedaling as hard as I could through the super slippery pine needles that littered the course. Trees left and right that seemed to be getting just a little too close for comfort. I had no idea exactly where I was going since I didn’t have the chance to pre-ride the course. Every turn and downhill was completely blind to me. Three or four different times my front wheel would completely wash out going through a turn where I was luckily able to drop my inside foot and pull out a moto style turn to keep myself up right and off the ground. After crossing over the road bridge I passed a group of spectators that let me know I was roughly a minute back from the lead pack. It felt like I had passed an insane amount of people on the bike and there were still roughly 8 in front of me. I came flying into transition, dropped my helmet, changed shoes, grabbed my running bottle, running belt and I was off. I looked back to see another competitor leaving transition right behind me which made me start off with a fast pace.
After ducking around the first turn I went to pull down my tri top to cool my upper body off as much as I could. About a half mile into the course I could see another runner in front of me and knew I was slowly gaining on him. Between one and a half and two miles in came a long, sunny and gradual up hill where I was able to catch up and pass him. Come to find out it was Mike Smith, another fellow racer from Charlotte. After a few sentences back and forth I picked up the pace to see if I could try and catch anyone else in front of us. I spent the what energy I had left on the run but was only able to get another runner in sight before he crossed the finish line and the race was over.
Post race transition cleanup.
I ended up getting 2nd in the 15-29 age group and 7th overall. Fort Yargo is a very interesting course due to the longer swim, very fast and short bike, and longer run. It makes for some overall short times for the full race. I ended up getting out of the water in 32nd place, finished the bike with the fastest time of the day being just over 43 minutes and finished with the 9th fastest run of the day. In the end, the entire race took me just over 1 hour and 37 minutes. You can read up more information about the race at goneriding.com.
Finishing result for the day.
After a long drive and fast race it was time for awards and then a quick shower before heading home. On the way home Jim and I stopped at an Italian place where I was able to get this monster of a “small” sized pizza to fill my inner hunger after the race. Many more races to come this year and I can’t hardly wait, see y’all out there!!!