So I raced my first ever Olympic Distance Professional triathlon this past weekend. I have raced many olympic/standard/international (the powers that be really need to decide on a name for the distance!) distance races, but almost all of them were local ‘development’ races in Port Elizabeth and they never had any prize money, or any Pro’s either, except for myself occasionally, and Raynard Tissink even more occasionally.
So the opportunity came up to race Columbia Triathlon as it was only a 3hr drive from New Jersey and I had a ride with Brian from PBN. The race is steeped in history, started in 1984 and having been graced by many of the sports biggest names over the years. The course is also particularly tough,
with non-wetsuit swim, rolling bike and hilly run. And with no drafting on the bike, it seemed a good one to test myself on.
I wasn’t particularly enthused by the idea of a non-wetsuit swim, especially when they said it was close to the 68F (20C) cut-off for wetsuits. 20C is bloody cold without a wetsuit! I get miserable when the pool is 24C! But it proved to be warmer, closer to 23C, and the cold wasn’t a factor. The lack of wetsuit still was, but I only came out the water 1 minute down on the leaders and with the main group.
I set about smashing the bike. You can go pretty hard when the bike is less than an hour long, so I tried not to hold back, knowing Andrew Yoder would be going hard on what is pretty much his home course. I was going well and leading the rest of the field together with Jordan Jones, but Yoder was out on his own in front and flying! He finished the bike in a blitzing 54:32 bike split (41km = 27.9mph/44.9km/h)! My split wasn’t too shabby (42km/h), but 5mins behind Yoder on the run, we were racing for second from the outset.
I was happy with my 33:20 run on a tough course, giving me 2nd place and it was a good hitout for me to get the body going. Looking forward to my next Olympic distance tri, hopefully in the not-to-distant future. It was fun!
Next weekend (5 June) I will be racing Rev3 Quassy before heading over to Switzerland to join the team for a summer in Europe…