I had initially signed up to race the Olympic distance for the Denver Triathlon, but that was before I found out that I would be riding Ride The Rockies for three straight days after the race. So at packet pick up on Saturday, I sheepishly went to the timer’s table and switched to the sprint race.
Sprint distance is not my strength, and I’ve only raced one in the last three years. Nevertheless, I was a little excited about seeing what kind of speed I could muster in the midst of Ironman training.
Our wave took off at Sloan’s Lake in Denver at 7:40am under near perfect weather conditions. As usual, I started too fast and my arms were throbbing after about 300 meters. Oh well, if you are going to go too hard, might as well be in a sprint. I hit the turn around, headed home, and exited the water around 10:30.
After a slow transition, I got on the bike and decided to put it in cruise control to gather myself. But just about a minute in to the bike I was passed by my friend James Sharpe, owner of TriBella multi-sport shop. He said hello and got me going. James is a strong rider, but I’m typically about as strong so I knew I couldn’t let him go.
I trailed behind James for a quarter of a mile then passed him and decided to give it a little juice. Though I was tired from the previous day’s training and little sleep the night before, I was pleased with the way my legs responded. There were no land speed records set, but I was able to keep a good pace for the rest of the ride which was a two loop affair that weaved in and out of neighborhoods and the Denver Broncos stadium. I came off the bike and hit T2 with a 23.2 mph average according to my Garmin Edge 500.
In less than a mile of the run I caught three guys and one of them went with me. He was in the age group below me, so I told him if he helped set the pace I wouldn’t contest him at the end. I’ve found that working with someone on the run is very helpful for me and my racing mindset. We kept a steady but a good pace out to the turn around and started back in.
With a half mile to go my partner looked back and said we were clear to the finish. We backed it down a notch, shook hands and cruised on in. I crossed the line with an 18:40 something 5K and a 1:13 and some change finish time for the race. It was good enough for 6th overall and first in my AG.
After the race, I was greeted by Whit and we hung around the race for a while. It was a great environment and plenty of folks were happily cheering on their loved ones. We then headed to the house where I showered then hopped in the rental car for Grand Junction and Ride The Rockies.