The Reservoir Triathlon takes place at Uvas Reservoir which is in the foothills just west of Morgan Hill and it is a great venue. Uvas was where I did my first triathlon when I decided to start racing again back in 2009. The water is clean and warm, the area is beautiful and as with most local events a lot of people I know race there which makes it even better. This event was put on by Threshold Racing which does a lot of awesome local events and knows how to put them on properly. They have been really supportive of our new team as well!
I was treating this race as somewhat of a training day because I have a much bigger event next weekend and couldn't afford to rest through. I ran a couple of miles and did some stretching to warm up and then got into my wetsuit early to do a good amount of swimming before the race start. The water was pretty warm and if I had a sleeveless wetsuit I would have probably gone with that. There were only three guys (including me) that started in the elite wave and the next wave behind us started only one minute back so it was an interesting stagger.
At the gun Ted Simpkins went straight to the front and I knew he had made it through the Ironman St. George juggernaut so I fell in behind him. I felt pretty good until the turn buoy and when we turned to head back it was like someone dropped a piano on my back. I felt like I was so heavy in the water and I am still not sure why but I might have just been too warm. Ted put about 30 seconds on me in the second half of the swim (which felt like a lifetime) and was on his way out of transition when I arrived. I had some trouble getting my wetsuit off, as always, but everything else went smoothly through T1 and I mounted my bike and watched Ted tuck around a corner in the distance.
I got my feet in my shoes and grabbed my sunglasses by mile one and got into my tuck to begin the chase when I heard the all too familiar splash of my water bottle hitting the ground behind me. I don't know why this keeps happening and I have tried a lot of stuff now to prevent it but I am thinking I might have dislodged it when I was mounting my bike and all it needed was a little encouragement. I kew I had hydrated well the day before though so it would be fine if I went without. I selected a slightly bigger gear to keep my heart and respiration rates low and minimize the dehydration and went about the business of chasing back the time I had lost. I caught Ted around mile five or six of the bike but it was right before a technical descending section so I eased up a bit so as not to be passing dangerously. He was flying on the downhill and I was doing my usual overly cautious thing so at the bottom I was actually a ways back again. We did this same thing a couple of times where I would catch up before a technical section and then he would gain some time and I would have to chase back again. In the last five miles I finally caught up and passed him and lead into transition by a handfull of seconds.
While in T1 I heard the announcer saying that a few other guys were coming in off the bike and I realized that the cat and mouse we had been playing on the bike had allowed a few of the strong guys that started just behind us to catch up. I was the first one out on the run and as I had promised myself I allowed a little time to get into a rhythm rather than punching the gas right from the start. Less than a half mile in I heard someone moving up behind me and felt a little pat on the back. It was one of my teammates Yoni Doron-Peters who I knew was strong and had started a minute back from me. This meant that on overall time he was already a minute ahead. About that time my breathing seemed to relax and my legs loosened up and I thought 'time to go to work.'
Putting a minute into a guy like Yoni over 10k is no small ask and given my confidence level lately it wasn't something I thought I could do but I felt good and that doesn't happen too often so I wanted to go for it. I turned up the speed to the maximum I could take and set about holding it there as best I could. Around the 1.5 mile mark I picked up the water bottle that I had lost off my bike and the race director was nice enough to take it with him when he came by on his mountain bike. At the run turn around I estimated that I might have put around 25 seconds into Yoni and I knew that I would have to keep up at least the same level to make up the other 35 before the finish. I kept my head down and my cadence up while trying my best to shut the pain out. Across the finish line I thought my chances were good of having made up the time and I kept an eye on the clock to make sure.
I was remarking the other week that I feel a little embarrassed having never won a triathlon of any kind and even though this was a smaller local even it is nice to have one under my belt that counts as a 1st overall finish. My time was also a five minute improvement over last year too which is the biggest positive that I am taking from it.
My team did really well too and though we had a few hiccups it was a great showing and things are looking good for the ESCAPE from ALCATRAZ triathlon next weekend.