If you were looking for a destination race in a sleepy beautiful costal town, Pacific Grove is that race. Even though it is close by, I don't make it down there very often and every year when I travel there for TriCalifornia's event I am always enchanted by the location. This year we had particularly nice weather which, coupled with the natural beauty of the bay and the cozy character of the town, made for a wonderful day. With the race being relatively local my family, friends, and teammates were all in attendance which always makes for a great day of catching up, laughs and great spirits.
This late in the year I always feel pretty tired so I have been doing my best to balance training and rest to make it to race day somewhat fresh without loosing too much fitness. It is always a challenge but I felt ok the day before and my pre-race routine went smoothly so I was feeling confident. I knew a lot of guys in the field and it looked like it was going to be fast and competitive.
On the fourth lap our group of three caught the four chasers and at that point there were only three up the road. The leaders had a substantial gap so the rest of us were racing for fourth place so the pace on the last lap eased up substantially. I was relieved about that because my legs and lungs needed a break. We flew into the second transition with a strong tailwind and I had one of my fastest transitions ever! I left T2 in the lead from my group but my stomach felt a little heavy and it took me a little time to get going. Two guys passed me and slowly started pulling away in the first mile and one passed me in the second mile. By then I finally felt like I was getting into a rhythm and knowing how fast the guys up the road were I was just trying to hang on. I knew I was in seventh and I was happy with that so I just tried to keep my turnover up and my breathing under control. Everyone's positions held from there on out and I enjoyed the two loops back through the crowd with cheers from my family and high-fives from my teammates.
It was an unbelievably beautiful day and Pacific Grove is such a special place. The physical challenge definitely feels secondary on a day like that and that is why I love this event so much.