In the professional side of triathlon, 'times are a changin'. While a few years ago, olympic distance and half distance racing had prize purses in many series (REV 3, 5150, etc.) but as of this year, the number of races with prize purses has dwindled further to some Challenge half distances, ITU events (where one must be doing well in a world cup to break even), the full distance ironman events, and then some local races. My friend, and fellow professional triathlete/race director John Kenny, put his money where his passion is and put up a decent prize purse for a local triathlon. Because of this, I decided to race here at French Creek (1 hour away) versus Challenge Knoxville (9 hours). In the end, I ended up winning, setting a course record, and volunteering at the kids race the day before. It was a great event and I would love to see more local races putting up small purses and using local pros to their advantage (volunteering, clinics, etc.)
Here is a little recap of the race.
Swim: 18:17, 2nd behind Pierre, a solid triathlete with a swimming background from University of Pittsburgh. I tried to hold his feet to the best of my ability, and we ended up putting a solid gap into the rest of the field in the two loop swim. He exited the water 6 seconds in front of me.
T1: 35 seconds and got out on the bike course first.
Bike:1:11:50, fastest split. The bike is a hard and hilly ride. About 2400 ft climbing during the 24.6 mile leg. My race file is here: https://www.strava.com/activities/306585561
The course is two times out and back with two significant climbs/descents each direction. I saw a speed >50 mph on my garmin on one of the downs and was happy with that. My plan was to go very hard up the hills and recover a bit down but keep spinning my legs and stay very aero. I saw by the first turn around, I had about 2 minutes on second and then 4 minutes at the half way mark. I felt like I eased up the second lap a little but was only 10 seconds slower. I came into T2 with ~9 minute lead
Run: 36:20, fastest split by 3 mins. To try an elucidate how hard of a course this run is might be a job better suited for a dramatic poet. You climb and climb and climb for 4 miles. When you think you will turn around, you continue on a fire road path to the top of a small "peak" at French Creek around 1100 feet (Transition is 300 feet). I saw that Philly Pro Tri teammates Zach Smith and Luke Davis were in 2nd and 5th, respectively and was pretty pumped to share the podium with friends.
The other positive of these local races is representing local sponsors that help support triathlon. Kevin McCauley from Square One Investments (not only spectated, but took all of these pictures!) and all of Team Philly Pro Tri were at the race, which is fantastic as I am supremely thankful for their support.