Saturday's Lakeside of the Smokies Sprint was my first street sprint of the year. It was also my first real ride on the Swoop after being fit by our own Dr. Sprouse. I had done several rides on it but they were all on the trainer. So, nothing new on race day... yeah I know BUT what else are training races for? That was, after all, what this race was to be for me. Lakeside was not initially on my race plan but I added it late since it was a team focus race, and I'm glad I did. I must say, I was not sure what to expect but the race did not disappoint.
I had to get to race site early to check in since I didn't make it out to get my packet early. The plus side being I got a pretty good rack spot. I planted my bike right next to Bill Beecher in hopes that some of his speed would rub off. Turns out I was in pretty fast company all around as all of the Team Zen-Evo guys racked all around me. It really was great seeing all my team mates and friends come out to the this race. Podium Racing, Zen-Evo and Rocky Top Multisport Club all came out in force for this one. After a good long time of mingling and anticipating the start, it was time to make our way to the water. Water temp was high 60's so wetsuit was a must. I splashed around and swam a bit to get used to the water temp and then made my way back to shore for the prerace instructions... which didn't happen. We got the usual talk by the race ref but nothing from the race director. It would have been nice to know general course info or at least what color arrows to follow. Oh well, I knew I wouldn't be first out of the water so I'd just have to hope that someone knew where they were going.
The 750m swim went ok (although it was actually closer to 900m by mine and several others' Garmins). Again, I managed to get a terrible start and caught up in traffic. I guess I need to get more aggressive and do a better job of fighting for my own water but around the first buoy turn I managed to find some clean water and settle into a bit of a rhythm. I never did quite get comfortable but eventually I made my way out of the water and up the bank to transition.
Swim Split: 14:04
T1 went smoothly, almost like I knew what I was doing. The bike course was 16 miles of rolling hills with one rather nasty little kicker around mile 7ish. I wasn't really sure what to expect on the bike so I just concentrated on keeping my cadence up and my power steady. I was fortunate enough to come out of transition close to Jim Hall. He was riding really strong so I decided I would just try and keep him in sight. I passed several people on the bike course and eventually I could see nothing but Zen-Evo kits ahead of me. There were three of them within sight but I didn't know how many total people were ahead of me. I had a feeling I was in the top ten but couldn't be sure. I rolled back into T2, racked the bike, slipped on the running shoes and I was off.
Bike Split: 43:40
The 5k run course was no flatter than the bike. My goal here was to push as much I could. I had been working on my run but on no taper and after a pretty tough run workout on Thursday I wasn't sure how much I would have. My legs were turning over pretty well out of T2. I just new that they would fail me at some point. Mile 1 down and legs were still holding despite the hills. Mile 2 clicked off. Pace holding pretty steady and legs still feeling strong although they were starting to complain a bit. As I continued to pound out the run, my legs were really yelling at me BUT I was holding pace. The finish line came into view. I realized at that point that no one had passed me on the run. I still think this is the first time I didn't get passed on the run. I'll call that progress! Around the final corner and down the finish chute, I came and through the finish in a time of 1:22:23. That would earn me 6th overall and 1st place AG.
Run Split: 22:38
Final thoughts on the day:
Not much to say that I haven't already. I had a really good race. Podium Racing p/b Visit Knoxville had a really successful day taking home several AG awards. Most of all it was just fun to hang out and race with all of my team mates and friends. On to the next one, Pelham, AL and Xterra Oak Mountain next weekend!