Saturday in St. George marks the most times I’ve ever been called “Andy” in one day.
“Go Andy!!!” screamed gaggles of aid station volunteers as I ran by.
“So what IS your name?” my lead cyclist finally asked.
“Kevin.” I said – easy enough to get out two syllables.
“His name is Kevin!” she said as we approached each aid station.
Saturday was obviously my best result ever, crossing the line second to Canada’s Brent McMahon. As first American I earned the 70.3 US Championship. It wasn’t easy, though. Here is how it happened:
To be completely honest my biggest worry about St. George 70.3 was the temperature of the water in Sand Hollow. I think this was good, though, as it kept my mind off of the absolutely stacked field I was about to race against. On race morning, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find the water not as cold as I remembered from the practice swim the day prior. I swam around a bit, lined up, the cannon blasted and we were off. It took awhile to find my rhythm but I eventually found myself in the main pack and exited the water 40 seconds down on Potts and the Russians.
A good transition put me fifth on the road at the start of the bike just back of Brent. Docherty soon came by and from here I just sort of let the race develop. My race plan was to make the main pack of cyclists and see how long I could stay there. I made that group and the pace wasn’t that bad for the first part of the course. Things picked up after the super cyclists caught us (Starky, Tollakson, Kienle, etc.) but I held my own and gained confidence throughout the bike as it became apparent that my cycling fitness was greatly improved after a winter of training. I just stuck to my nutrition plan and after mile 45 it was literally all down hill until T2.
I was very excited as I started the run. My legs felt great and I passed one guy after another. I could see the leaders (Potts, Vasiliev 1 and 2) and watched as McMahon caught them and blew by them. I focused on running my own pace and soon found myself coming up on that same group. First came Vasiliev 2 (Denis), then Potts. I tried to pass Potts like it wasn’t a big deal – just another guy, right? He tried to come with me for awhile but I heard his breathing get ragged and eventually I was by myself in third.
Being that Andy Potts is so recognizable in the sport of triathlon many of the age groupers in the middle of their cycling leg were cheering for him from the other side of the road (the bike and run courses coincided at this point on Red Hills Pkwy). So I was able to track my progress away from Andy as the screams of “GO ANDY POTTS” slowly died away. Potts never backed off, though, so I was happy to pass Vasiliev 1 (Ivan) and put a divider in between us. I hauled ass for the rest of the run and never looked back, eventually crossing the line in second and securing the US Championship.
I’m definitely still on cloud 9 – It’s just so awesome to have worked hard and achieved the result I thought I was capable of. Thanks to my parents for always believing in me, as well as my very supportive girlfriend Lindsey. And of course my coach Jennifer Hutchison for all the “death sets.” Finally, thanks to my sponsors – the New York Athletic Club, Shimano, blueseventy and ON. More results to come!
Next up is Florida 70.3 – I’m looking forward to my hometown race.
For more on my race, check out my Slowtwitch Interview.