After a 30 minute delay, we were off. I had a great start and had clean water right away. I chose to swim close to shore because of the terrible current. Everything was great until I missed the "train" about 500 meters into the swim and had to fend for myself for the rest of the day. The rough current made navigating the buoys quite difficult, so much so that I almost missed the first one! After a quick and clean transition I rode through 3 of the 4 women ahead of me by the end of the first of six laps on the bike. I continued to drive the chase but without much help was concerned about the toll it would take on me for the run. I sat up and waited on the next chase pack, giving myself ample time to hydrate and rest before the run because I knew it would be a hot one! With the fastest T2 on the day, I was off and running. About 1k into the run Jasmine (the eventual winner) caught and passed me. I tried to keep the gap close, but struggled with my sciatic pain (as usual). I made a final push in the last 2k to try to close the gap but was spent. With a minute advantage over 3rd place I crossed the line as the 2009 National runner up. It was my 4th podium for the year and it secured me as the winner of the USA twenty-12 Elite Series.
It was a hot and hard day. Although I am disappointed I couldn't hang on for the win, it is just another step in the right direction for me. It has been an amazing season and I cannot wait to see what 2010 will bring. I am done racing ITU events for the year and will now spend some time playing on the "non-drafting" circuit at some of the Lifetime Fitness events. First up is Chicago this weekend. It will be race #5 in 6 weeks and #3 in a row for me, so it will be interesting to see how I hold up mentally and physically!!!
If you are going to be in Chicago, feel free to drop by the Garmin store on Saturday. I will be signing autographs and answering some questions from 1-2pm. Prior to that, there will be a technical demonstration in the store from 12-1pm! I look forward to seeing you there!!!