Well, another year at the Cotton Country Sprint Triathlon is done and I am happy to announce that no Outlaw in attendance left without some hardware or software as the case may be.
First place awards at this race are a miniature cotton bail and I now am the proud owner of my second as is Wife. I beat my time by last year by about 2 minutes despite the heavier wind and ever so slightly longer course. Wife beat her time 6 minutes.
The race began at a very civilized 9am with the flat out and back run. By the time the race began the wind was strong out of the south and growing stronger. My plan for this race was to take it easy and just get in a good brick and test out my bike in race conditions for the Redman next weekend. I took out on the run at a quick but comfortable pace and thought I'd go ahead and keep good ole Steve O in my sights since he represented my toughest Masters Clyde competition this day. Woops, did I say competition? Yep, I was truckin along and thought to myself, I'll just hang back and keep him in my sights then I noticed that I was matching his pace exactly and maintaining about a 10 yard gap between us.
I thought to myself, "Self, you could just kick it a little and reel him in, tuck in behind him and get a nice draft going" So, kick it I did and then I tucked in nice and quiet like. He let me ride for a while but when the road turned into the wind he glanced over his shoulder and tried to shake me. I hung on wanting to grab a nice draft but he wasn't having any of it. I though, what the hell, I'm just here for a workout so I pulled up along side him and said "Go ahead and jump in behind me, I'll pull." He told me I'd need to grow another foot...ouch. It's true though, he is probably a good 4 inches taller than me but I still could have cut him a nice wind free swath. I could see his shadow and could tell he was drafting a little but then he started falling back so I just tooled on down the road. After I had put the turn around about a quarter mile behind me I saw friend and fellow Clyde Arnold C chugging along...he has had a cruddy last half of the season with work and school so he's been off the training for a while. He was hurtin for certain. I ended up with a run time of 25:10, which was around a 7:30 mile given the extra distance.
I cruised in to T1 with Steve O not terribly far behind and I just strolled transition like a tourist. There was no way I was going to risk ANYTHING buy speeding through transition. After a leisurely 1:30 T1 I jumped on the bike in time to see poor Steve lose his shoe, he was trying the shoes clipped into the pedals thing. I sped off on the bike to fight the now monstrous headwind. It was probably a sustained 20 mph with gusts. I was moving along when I saw friend and fellow mental health professional Stuart C up ahead on the bike. He had passed me in the run and was departing transition as I was entering. He must have been having the bike of his life because he was dropping people and moving right along. I pulled up and dropped in a couple bike lengths behind him and decided to just match his pace for a while.
Just before the turn around I decided I wanted to jump ahead before the turn around and kick in the after burners. I passed Stuart and a couple other folks and then turned and hit it. I got quickly up to 30 mph and started dropping people like flies. I was able to spy teammate Willy Wonka ahead, he had smoked me on the run...as did Muffin, and Sharkbait, and Bones but it gave me some folks to chase, all the Clydes were well behind me by now. I chased down Willy Wonka and started working on Muffin, who was waaayyy ahead. I finally caught him pulling in to T2 but then I did the tourist thing and strolled along taking care not to twist an ankle or step hard on a rock. My bike time was 35:23, somewhere around a 22+mph pace, not bad considering the wind. Oh, the bike is in tip-top race shape.
I jumped in the pool for the amazingly short 300 yard, 5:53 swim and was cruising along for an uneventful finish. The Outlaw dujour was Bones with an incredible 3rd overall. Unfortunately #2 overall was also in his age group so he took 2nd. Sharkbait took second in his age group as did Muffin. Willy Wonka, Double-barreled (Wife) and I all took first in our groups. We had a great time after the race talking with friends and eating the lunch that comes with the race entry fee. The Cotton Country is one of those little local races that you just don't want to miss because of the hospitality and the feeling of camaraderie created by an intimate gathering of local athletes.
So... maybe I didn't take it as easy as I planned but it was a good workout and a great time. Total time, 1:09:23...good enough for government work.
Next weekend I become an Ironman!