When I first talked to people involved with the CU triathlon team this August, they mentioned the Oktoberfest draft legal race, and I was keenly interested. It is not often you can travel 30 minutes to a draft legal race with decent competition and then be back home for lunch!
In my second race for CU, I lined up with 25 or so other guys ranging from others that have raced on the ITU circuit from junior to elite level (Robbie Deckard, Sean Daugherty, Alex Wilimovsky, Dillon Nobbs, Jack Toland, Timmy Winslow and others) to guys racing their first draft legal race.
The course was pretty straight forward, rectangular 750 m swim, 1 loop 12.9 mile bike, and out and back 5k with a solid hill in the middle that you go over and down the back side before turning back home. The swim got out more aggressively than I expected, which was good practice. I got to the first bouy in 4th or so, and moved into 2nd during the straight away from 300-400 meters. I comfortably sat on Wlimovsky's feet for the remainder of the swim after seeing we had a small 5- man breakaway. We exited between 9:01 and 9:07.
Onto the bike, I managed to catch my shoe on the ground and broke the sole of my bike shoe in half within the first 500 meters. The rest of the bike was mostly the group taking short 4-5 second pulls and moving over. Retrospectively, we should have taken some longer ones to recover, but we still got off the bike with a 30 second or so lead on the chasers. I will note, I really enjoyed not being in that chase pack (as has been the case in many ITU races!) That is good motivation to keep up swimming.
I got out 4th of our group on the run, but passed everyone by 1k. I tried to stay relaxed up the 400m hill, but I heard Dillon Nobbs closing during the climb. I accelerated once I hit the top, and put time into him. I know going hard on a hill while racing at altitude throws you well into the red zone, and I did not want to be 2.5km in with the dead legs and copper taste in my mouth that I have become accustomed to during hard efforts at altitude. I ended up splitting 16:15, which was slower than many were guessing I ran, but given the 400 m hill, the run being all dirt and sand roads, and the race being at 5100 feet, it isn't a bad run split. I felt like I could keep going at that pace fairly comfortably.