Swim: 28:33 9th fastest
Bike: 2:08:53 26.0 mph 265w 2nd fastest
Run: 1:16:21 3rd fastest
Overall: 3:57:28 2nd place
Race got off to a rough start. Did a dolphin dive straight into a sand bar, face full of sand and googles went down in my mouth. Stood up, got goggles back on but they were full of sand so had to get those clear. Finally got going and thankfully was able to swim up onto the back of the main pack. Pretty uneventful swim from there, exited with the same guys I have been all year, 9th place but only a few seconds back of 4th.
Big group out of the swim so I punched the pace hard and went to the front as soon as I got on the bike to try to get rid of some of the stragglers before things settled down. Could tell right away the legs were not there but hoped they might come around after a bit. Able to drop a couple guys in the first 5k and when things settled down it was a group of 6 chasing one leader. After backing off the pace the legs still weren't there and I sort of knew they probably wouldn't ever come around. Knew I had to ride very smart and be very selective with how I dished out my efforts. Made sure I wasn't spending any more time at the front than the other guys and sat in the group most of the way. Wanted to ideally get rid of a few more guys so I waited until the last aid station and then hit the pace hard as I knew others would be busy grabbing bottles. Struggled to push even 300w, looked back after a few minutes and everyone was still there. At that point I knew I just had to sit in the pack and wait for the run. The group ended up just 4 by T2, one guy got a penalty and another a flat. Recorded the lowest wattage I've seen all year, even lower than what I rode back in April. The group hit T2 over 5 minutes back of the lone leader, pretty much a race for second at that point.
Thanks to riding smart when the legs weren't there on the bike, I was able to salvage my run legs. Moved into second in the first mile, held the first few mile splits around 5:40 and slowly grew my second place gap and pulled back the leader. His advantage was too much though but I pulled his lead back to 90 seconds by the finish with my best run of the year.
Mixed feelings on this race overall. I was definitely off, so am pretty satisfied to walk away with second when normally this kind of day might barely place top-10. At the same time I believe an average bike ride would have won the race so I'm sort of kicking myself a little that I didn't rest more since pro wins are so rare and hard to come by.
Time to train for Ironman Wisconsin now, I want to remember this race in 5 weeks, that I potentially gave up a win in order to jump start my Wisconsin training block early.
Random note #1: Got stung by a bee on the bike, first time ever in a race
Random note #2: My time was nearly identical to last year, just 12 seconds off