Pacific Grove Triathlon is one of the great, long-standing triathlons in California. It is put on by TriCalifornia events and they do an awesome job, taking great care of their athletes and providing a great race experience. This was my third time racing PG and my second racing it in the draft legal format. Things were a little different this year because the field was fairly small and with windy conditions the field was bound to get spread out a lot.
At the start of the swim we all barreled into the water and I was with the lead group until we started hitting the kelp and a group of four got a gap almost immediately. I knew that it was probably Tommy, John and Dustin because of how strong they all are in the water. There was no one else to do the chasing so I gritted my teeth and pushed as hard as I could. I could see from time to time that there was some separation amongst their group so I figured that we might be able to get it back together on the bike. The swim was really tough with lots of kelp and with the women's race starting just as we were getting started on the second lap. I had forgotten how tough it was to swim through the kelp!
Exiting the water there was one other guy just behind me and I couldn't see anyone else that was close so I thought we weren't in that bad of position. We were quick through transition and I got started setting tempo right away in hopes that at least one of the guys up the road was close enough to bring back and work with. At the first turn-around Dustin and Tommy were working hard together up front with John chasing less than a minute back and the other guy I didn't know half a minute behind him. We were another minute behind so after the turn around I really started to push the pace. After a lap and a half my companion found the pace to hard and said he was going to drop back. I put my head down and drilled the middle two laps but Tommy and Dustin were working really well together and John had gotten together with the guy chasing him and they were pushing too. At this point I was just trying to minimize my losses. I also noticed that Nick Thompson was inside of two minutes behind me and he is a really strong runner so I was trying to consolidate my lead on him as well.
I had a really quick second transition, the first mile of the run is flat and down wind so I was able to open up a really quick pace which felt great! The guys up front were already spreading out and I knew that a couple of minutes was doable if someone really cracked up so I kept my foot on the gas. Nick was making up time on me and I was making up time on the guys up front but not enough to catch by the end. I had a strong run but nick eventually caught me, which I expected, so I ended up sixth overall.
I was happy to be able to race hard and feel comfortable pushing the pace. I had told myself that if I felt good and raced well that I would take on one or two more events in the hopes of getting one good result before the year is out so there may be more to come still!