Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kemah Race Report!

This past weekend I headed to Kemah, TX for my first triathlon of the season.  Kemah is a neat little coast town 25 minutes Southeast of Houston.  This was the race I made my pro debut at last year and I was excited to head back.  Onurmark runs this event; Aaron Palaian and his staff do an excellent job of producing races and I highly recommend you check them out. 
On Saturday morning pro triathlete Peter Mallet and I headed to Kemah for packet pickup and to scout the course.  It was a pretty uneventful day just the normal prepping for the race.  Reviewing the start list for the Pro/Elite amateur race it confirmed that this was going to be a competitive race with some established pros, up and coming pros and some of Texas’ top amateurs toeing the line. 
Sunday morning came early as I rolled out of bed at 4 am.  Peter, Snapple Teammate Robbie Wade and I made our way to the race site and started getting set up.  One of the unique things about this race is that everyone is loaded up on a paddle boat, taken a mile out to sea and then dive in to swim back. 
About 7am The Pro men and woman were lined up on the boat deck and before we knew it the washing machine start typical of triathlons was underway.  There was a lot of kicking, smacking and bumping the first 200 meters off the race as we all jockeyed for position.  What made this swim especially challenging was the large waves we had to deal with.  This makes navigating a straight line and sighting difficult, not to mention really tests your swim endurance.  I came out the water much slower than I was hoping for as 12th male with 4 or 5 pro woman in front of me.  I had a smooth transition and was off on the bike.
Kemah is named for the Native American word meaning “wind in my face.” And the city definitely lived up to its’ name on Sunday!  The bike course was an “L” shape with the long section being 10 miles out.  I had a strong “wind in my face” the entire ride out.  I decided pre-race I’d push the way out in the wind and then enjoy the tail wind back to transition.  I was passing riders at a pretty good clip and finished the bike sitting in 6th place one spot out of money. 
As I headed out of Transition I passed Pro Justin Daerr to put me in 5th.  I was happy with the first 3 miles of the run as I opened up a small lead on Justin and closed down on 4th place Grant Glauser. Just after mile 3 I passed Grant to ease into 4th.  Now I was just focusing on maintaining pace and enjoying the pain. The last 2 .5 miles took us up over the causeway and back giving us two a nice challenging climbs.  Justin closed in on me and passed at mile 4 opening up a gap.  I responded as we headed back up the causeway to close and started running on his hip.  The last hill took it out of me and I fell back in the last half mile to cross the finish line 5th.
Overall, I was pretty happy with the day’s performance.  I was out front racing for the podium and finished on it.  It was pure joy to be competing again and I am even more excited for Capital of Texas Triathlon coming up in 4 weeks. 
Congrats to Barrett Brandon for the overall male win and Sarah Gray for the overall female win.  Shout out to Snapple teammate Robbie Wade (http://www.robbiewade1.blogspot.com/) for a 6th overall finish and winning the run prime with a crazy fast 10K.  Congrats to fellow San Antonio triathlete Mark Saroni (www.willrace4food.blogspot.com) who made his pro debut on Sunday!
Thanks for reading!
Wes