My trip to Tuscaloosa was relatively successful, but not exactly what I was hoping for. Regardless, I put forth a good effort. Here are the details from the day:

By the time my wave entered the water, the air and water temperature were just about equal at 83º. Then the horn blew and we pushed off the pontoon. I started well and avoided the usual melee of swim starts. As usual, we bunched up around the turn buoys, but once we cleared the first two turns (of three), I found clear water and pulled away from the small group I was with.

T1 wasn’t as fast as I would have hoped it to be – all the white bikes and helmets blended together. However, my red grip tape did stand out and I was out onto the course quickly.

The bike course consisted of two loops of rolling hills, which suited me well. I kept it in the big chain ring the entire time and was making good progress. Being that the course was two loops and filled with hundreds of athletes, the road was tight. As a result, I rode on the left-hand side of the lane almost the entire time. The marshals looked like they were quite busy, as they were always writing race numbers in their notebooks. That, or maybe they were playing sudoku.

T2 didn’t have many bikes racked, so I knew I was in good position for a top finish.

My legs weren’t as snappy as I expected them to be starting the run. In my mind, there was no reason for them not to be. Regardless, I pushed on hoping to find a rhythm. That rhythm never came. Fortunately, the course offered some hills, which I figured would help wake up my legs. That too was untrue. I did pass people from my age-group, but I was also passed once or twice in return. I tried picking up the pace in the second half of the run, but never seemed to find my stride. 

I crossed the line in 2:00:17. Good enough for 4th in my age-group and 18th overall. Had I run the pace that I’ve ran in almost every other Olympic distance event this year, my placing would of been significantly better. Overall, I am happy with the result considering the quality of competition, but was left scratching my head after the run performance or lack thereof. Maybe flying coach and racing within 48 hours wasn’t such a good idea. Or maybe I never truly got rid of that cold I had the week prior. It doesn’t matter anymore though, the 2010 season is finished and things are going to be a lot more exciting in 2011!