I'm playing catch up with the blog here, and fortunately Muncie ranks as a quick story. So quick, in fact, that I spent no more than 30 hours on my trip to Indiana and back to Colorado.
The whirlwind race weekend came about after I realized that I wanted to fit in one more event before my efforts in Lake Placid. I had considered the REV3 in Portland, but Muncie ended up being the cheaper and easier travel, and I felt confident in my chances of winning.
So, onto the plane, flight to Indianapolis. Met Luke McKenzie while renting my car, feeling fortunate that I did not undergo his travel woes. We rallied the drive up to Muncie just in time to check in around 6:30 p.m., drove back out of town to check into the hotel, went for a short jog, built the bike, ate dinner, and slept. Race start was at 8, so I had a little extra buffer, and we chose the best of two options for entering the reservoir in the morning... rock star parking.
Transition was set, and I entered the water for a nice warm up. Temps were in the high 70's, so it was a non-wetsuit swim. I had the new Zoot prototype swimskin, so I felt good about my chances, even though I usually swim a bit better in wetsuits. The cannon sounded and I got out clean, staying in control and leading a main group of contenders. At the halfway point, I pulled back and let Bryan Rhodes take the front, but we couldn't close the 20 second gap to the two leaders. Still, I came out in a fantastic position, right near and even ahead of some of the fastest swimmers.
The whole focus with this race was to keep the body remembering what racing hard feels like. I wanted to make sure that even if I had a bad day in terms of placing, I would get a quality brick session for my Ironman Lake Placid training. Considering that I was coming off a big week of training with only two days easy, I wasn't sure how it would all play out. Within the first three miles of the bike, I was riding my way through the field to the very front of the race, and pushing hard to stay away. I can't explain what it's been that has elevated my cycling so much recently, other than consistent, hard training, but I felt untouchable as I rode away from everyone. Even when I would hit a turn around and see a few people grouped up behind me, I didn't get concerned or lose concentration on my race. The legs were willing, and I pressed on.
Into transition, it wasn't clear what kind of lead I had over the pursuers, so I kept the pace even and made sure that I got the calories and fluids on board in case I had a challenge from someone. I was fortunate to get some accurate splits from spectators, and when I hit the halfway point and checked on the rough timing to second, I was confident that I could hold the lead to the finish. It was nice to have a little support from Ryan and Tom as they managed the race course, and I felt pretty light for most of the second 6.5 miles. I will say that the last set of rollers creep a little bit, so remember to keep a little in the tank if you go out there in the future. I rounded the final turns, gave my Aunt a high five in the chute, and raised my second consecutive banner at the finishline. Victory!
After breaking down the bike in the heat of the afternoon, I attended the awards, spent some time with my aunt and cousin, and then rallied to Indianapolis to catch my afternoon flight... back to Boulder and into the final two weeks of IMLP training. Boom!