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I had competed in this Olympic distance race one year earlier with an injured foot resulting in an abysmal run and total time of 2:59. My goal this year was to beat all my times and cut at least 15 minutes off of my run time to get a total time under 2:45. I was also shooting for a top ten bike finish which would be difficult given the stiff competition for cash prizes at this race.

There had been some rain the evening before the race so the roads were still a little damp on the way in to the race but the race site itself seemed dry enough. I took my time getting to the transition area and didn't have to wait around outside for very long before the pre-race meeting. After a few words from the race director I along with the rest of the first wave headed out into the water. With a blast from an air horn we were off. I felt pretty good in the water and even though this was just my second swim of the summer I wasn't very tired. I felt strong as I rounded the bouys and since I was continually encountering traffic I figured I was staying pretty much mid-pack.

The swim was two 750m loops where we had to exit the water and run through the start chute between laps. As I exited the water for the first time I checked my watch and was disappointed to see a time of over 17 minutes. I had been hoping to stay under 15 for each lap. A little discouraged I hit the water for the second lap. I continued to get jostled as I swam and even had someone grab my foot at one point. I got fairly frustrated after rounding the last bouy and heading for shore.

I finished the swim in a poor 36:45 minutes 6 minutes slower than I had been planning. Looking at the results though it appears the swim may have been a bit long since a most times were a lot slower than the previous year. To compensate I screamed through the transition area in just over a minute and was quickly on the bike with a mission.

It took a while to get into a rythm on the bike since I had swallowed a lot of air on the swim and my gut was not feeling one hundred percent. I was still reeling in other bikers though and as I completed the first loop my gut settled down and things felt pretty good so I began to crank things out a bit harder. At this point a misty rain began to fall. It stopped after I had covered a couple of miles but as I was passing someone around a corner I felt my rear wheel slide out and down I went. I almost took out the rider I was passing but fortunately missed. I slide for about 10-15 metres and curled up for a moment while other bikers went around me. An official on a motorbike stopped to ask if I was okay. A quick check of my bike showed that everything was in working order. I felt pretty good and couldn't see my back so I gave them the thumbs up and continued on. I took the corners a little easier after this and spent the next 4 miles catching up to all the people that had passed me while I was down.

I finished the second loop and began the out and back across a couple of bridges. I still had not seen the leaders so I knew that my time was still fairly good although a top 10 bike finish was no longer likely. I finished the rest of the bike without incident and left the transition area in 1:13:54

I hit the first mile marker in 8:30 a very decent pace for me. The second mile was finished in 8:35 but I was beginning to tire and people began to pass me. As they passed many commented on my road rash. The third mile came and went in around 9 minutes and things slowed until the 5 mile which I finished in around 9:30. I now had 1.2 miles left and and 12 minutes to finish before 2:45. I picked the pace up and gave it all I had for the last mile and chugged into the finish with a time of 2:44:35.

After the race I headed over to the emergency van to get cleaned up. I didn't feel to bad but it wasn't until I got home that I could see the extent of the damage. Fortunately most of it was superficial scratches which were almost entirely healed within the week. As for my bike the only scratches I could find were on the side of the pedal that hit the ground, and on the rear tire where it slid. Apparently when I went down I was able to take the brunt of the damage myself while saving my bike in the process. Overall I managed to break the top 30 on the bike out of 430 and my run was a little over 15 minutes faster than my previous attempt at this race. In my age group I finished 15 out of 48 and 144th overall so the race was pretty much a success.

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