Thanks for the props...sorry to have let the excitement down in the end!
Back at work, so I'll update this as I can. Race Report
My day started less than ideal: I was doing a warmup run at 4am and fell into a hole in the sidewalk. It was a water main hole or something, ~2x2ft and ~2ft deep. Was looking out for branches and other stuff around on the ground and completely missed it, since it was dark. Slapped the ground hard, cutting up and bashing my knees, shins and elbows. Scared my girlfriend, waking her up with blood all over! Told myself to just let it go, ice it, eat breakfast and get on with it, it'll be ok.
Also, one of my elbow pads flew off on the drive down, so I picked up a couple beer koozies and fashioned a pad out of that. Let me say, it did not work so well once wet with sweat and water. It was like riding right on the cup itself. With the humidity, the glue melted off the other pad and I lost at about 20k in. Made for a painful and uncomfortable ride.
Swim was solid. My pool swimming is far superior to my open water swimming, and I've struggled to translate it. This was one of my better ones, closer to those front guys than I have been before, 2min down.
Bike was cracking. I've been working a lot on it and it's finally starting to show. I caught Hanson very early (he was 15-20sec ahead out of water) and we worked together. Even at legal distance, there is benefit to this â€“ I find it is more mental than anything, as you can key off someone in front of you and get extra motivation to stay moving strong as you fade. For me, this was turning into my best ever ride and it really came down to a mental shift: I said to myself the day before, "You will crush. Race like you belong. Be aggressive. Everyone else is just an obstacle to the finish. Take no prisoners." We caught almost everyone ahead, including Otstot, Gambles, Potts, and at about halfway were only around 1min down on Laundry and Desroches, and maybe 3ish to Starky. Every guy we passed managed to latch on, so we had a group of around 15 I think. And it was squirrelly, guys surging, braking suddenly, some slotting in. I felt uneasy and didn't like that some would move ahead and then let a gap open up. Hanson was strongest and stayed out front, while I tried to maintain my position 2nd-3rd behind him.
I probably rode a bit too aggressively and with too many big surges. Those gaps could have been closed with smoother riding. Unfortunately, I got a penalty (along with Potts). It definitely got tight and I should have done more to keep the distance, but I thought I did a good job of visibly showing my intention by sitting up/soft pedalling. However, the official had a hard stance on the rules. It's difficult when the group is big and not really working together. From stop to go, the penalty took about 5:40. Decided to ride hard the rest of the way, catching a few guys who passed us while in the box.
I started the run and immediately felt a complete lack of snap and was super tight all over. I was actually moving decently the first couple of miles but it slowly turned into a death march, and the heat eventually got to me.
Overall though, very encouraging day. I'm excited for the next one. Updated Bike Setup
2017 Giant Trinity Advanced Pro 1
Drivetrain: Ultegra Di2 52/36 (stock)
Extensions: Zipp Evo 110 Aluminum extensions
Pads: stock, slammed as much as possible
Wheels: Vision Metron 81 / Reynolds Strike SLG with Wheelbuilders disc cover
Saddle: ISM PN1.0 (stock, I like it)
Shoes: Giant Conduit
Helmet: Giro Selector
Flat kit: in the bento
Nutrition: Aerovault nose cone bottle + 1 bottle behind the saddle that I use to refill the front (First Endurance EFS Pro) + XLab Aero TT bottle (First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot)
I switched the extensions to the Giant ski-bends last year, then switched over the winter to the Zipps. I did a Stac Virtual Wind Tunnel test and made changes based on that. The wheels are mismatched, which really bothers me, but I am waiting to order a new disc cover for the Vision wheels, which are also new (for me, purchased lightly used from a Slowtwitcher).
staernathan.com - @mstaer