The second stop of the Major League Triathlon series would be my third race in as many weeks. After a mediocre result in an olympic distance race at REV 3 Quassy and a mechanical during the bike of 70.3 Boulder, I was hungry to express the hard work that I had put in. On top of that, racing with three friends on the Portland Keepers makes the racing a lot of fun and you feel responsible for racing well for the sake of the team. For tons of race videos, check the Major League Triathlon facebook page!
The racing format in the MLT series makes for an exciting experience for spectators and athletes alike. The only downside with so many solid teams is how nerve wracking it is watching the race unfold.
We decided Julie Stupp would lead off on the 300 m swim/4 mile bike/~1mile run event in hopes that she would get away with one or two others. Julie drilled the swim despite losing her goggles and after the first leg, 5 teams had separated from the rest. I dove in 4th with a 15 second gap to 1st/2nd, 10 seconds to 3rd, and David Thompson right on my heels. The strategy at this point is pivotal: do you work with the guy coming behind you or do you go full gas in hopes of dropping them and making it a three team race?
I dove in and felt strong in the water- and immediately felt like I could bridge the gap to 3rd. With a solid swim, I was able to catch the Temple Toro's Robbie Deckard by the last bouy and work with him on the bike. Robbie and I smashed the first 1/2 trying to catch Sarasota Sun's AJ Baucco and the Lincoln Mustang's Alex Libin, but they proved elusive. As a result of chasing so hard, we never got our feet in the shoes during the 4 mile lap. On the run, I took it out hard but controlled. Despite being an ~18 minute race, temperatures in the 90s with high humidity take their toll- just think about how much fun (read: painful) racing a 5k in this weather would be. I caught Alex and AJ at the far turn around and handed the 'baton' off in first place totally exhausted.
This was the first race returning from mono for our third leg and Nicole executed incredible. She maintained a big lead through the bike and was only caught by the Sun's third leg, a fast running Jillian Peterson. Going into the final leg, John O'Neill had some solid athletes chasing him in John Rasmussen (Mustang's) and 2016 Olympian, Ben Kanute (Toros) with Sean Jefferson (Sun) up ahead. Following the final bike leg, the two John's were battling for 3rd/4th. John O'Neil unleashed his collegiate running past and ripped the final 100 in what looked to be Usain Bolt speed to clinch 3rd and our team's second podium.
I was stoked to see I also recorded the 4th best individual split, earning me a prime as well.
I am not exactly sure what I will race next. I loved this super sprint format and having a solid swim makes me want to race ITU again but it is not the most cost effective plan. I will likely race 70.3 Racine in July and then gear up for the final two stops in the MLT series: Lincoln, Nebraska and Portland, Maine.