Written by Elite Race Team Member Joe Wilson.
Had a chance to race at the Buster Britton Memorial Triathlon a few weeks prior. I was able to sneak into the top 10 and take home Masters only because my friend Chris Johnson finished in the top 3. Here’s a quick recap of the race.
2020 has been a year that I will never forget. It started with me BQing in Austin with the only training for the race was me helping my wife prepare for her 1st marathon. I’d ran the Publix half 2 weeks after than with a time that I was not satisfied with. Then the lockdown happened and everything started getting cancelled. I was stuck on a less than stellar race result so even though there were no races I began to train, well except swimming. There was nowhere to swim at the time, so I just gave that up. But my run and my bike was getting really good. I’d started racing on Zwift with friends to make up for not being able to race and by the end of May my FTP was hovering around 350. I felt like I could pick up a house I felt so good. No races meant more time to train and do crazy strava challenges.
Then, I got sick in June. Still not sure, but something knocked me on my butt for about 2 weeks. (not Covid) but I wasn’t able to train. Then after that, the feeling from May just wasn’t there. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I was struggling in Zwift races that used to be easier. Finally, I pulled the plug on racing on Zwift. It had become too much. Then I my life got turned upside down personally. I won’t go into details, but by then it’d become much harder to focus or do anything.
So, my buddy Chris told me he was going to do this race in Alabama and I was going to sign up with him. Who am I to say no to friends. So, we headed over on Friday afternoon. Crashed at some crazy sized mansion. And Saturday morning got up to go race a sprint triathlon.
Since there were no races, everyone seemed to treat this like their A race. When I say the field was stacked, it was stacked. There were some heavy hitters from Nashville, Florida, and Georgia. I love to race so I’m not scared. Anyway, we got to the race site and I just didn’t have that “feeling”. You know those butterflies in your stomach, and you’re a little nervous to race. I went through the motions of getting warmed up. I did my little “peacocking” that everyone does which I find a little hilarious. But it just wasn’t there. I’ve felt this way once before in ’06 and I didn’t race for 8 years after that.
Swim: 5:33 (I sucked)
I hadn’t been training for the past few weeks, other than riding and running with friends. So, I was interested in seeing what was going to happen. The swim was seeded with a swimmer going into the water every 5-10 seconds. I think I was 30th in the water. I’m glad it was only 400 yards, cause I lost so much time on this short swim it was crazy. In 400 yards, I was down to Grace Alexander (all3sports Elite Race Team Member), who swam the fastest, by 1:30. That’s insane, and I thought I felt great.
T1: 1:20 (I didn’t suck)
Got out of the water and that lethargic feeling was gone and I was sprinting to my bike. It’s time to race now and this is what I feed on. It’s time to catch up to the front. Let’s go.
Bike: 31:11 (so out of practice)
I couldn’t get my stupid shoes on while on the bike so I had to stop, put my shoes on and go. Probably cost me 20 seconds. Should have been one of the top 3-4 bike splits, even with no training. I don’t do it in training, but I can deal with the hurt in a race. I actually feed on it. It’s when I feel the most alive, and I needed that right now with everything going on personally. So, I buried my head and started hammering on the pedals. Bike didn’t feel 100%, and the course was complete rollers, but I was moving. I wanted to average 25 mph but it was just too hilly. I thought I could catch the competition, but I ran out of room and some were just faster than me.
T2: 1:10 (Okay that didn’t hurt)
Threw the bike down, and noticed I was still a ways back.
Run: 17:41 (course was not a 5k; avg 6:27 a mile)
Okay, no stryd footpod. I haven’t run a sub 7 min mile since March at Publix. Let’s see what the legs have in store for me here. I came out of T2 with guns a blazing. Let’s go catch people. However, there really wasn’t many people to catch. I got caught by my buddy Derek (EMJ) who won the race who was running a min/mile faster than me. Whatever, he’s still training, half my age, and ran in college.
I could finally see Grace and thought, well I’m not catching Chris Johnson that ship has sailed, so let’s see if I can catch Grace. Man that was hard. That girl is training and it took me every bit of the run to finally close the gap. I pulled up next to her with about a quarter mile to go and she says go on. I’m like nope. I don’t outrun girls through the finish line. I’m old school. It’s like you don’t wear the race shirt the day of the race. So, I let her go through the finish line ahead of me cause she was the 1st overall female. Great job Grace repping all3!
Like I said above, I got 1st masters and 10th overall cause Chris got 3rd overall. It’s like he’s peaking right now and I’m just seeing what my level of fitness looks like right now, which isn’t too bad. I’m going to try and do Tugaloo if I can find enough motivation to sign up and race. I do love seeing all my friends at the race. Right now that’s so much more fun than actually doing the race. And right I’m looking for whatever I can find to keep my motivated and in this sport cause it is a part of who I am.
One more thing:
Covid racing is a little different. Everything was spread out. They really don’t want us hanging out after the race. There’s no award ceremony so we had to pick up our awards at a local bike shop. The food was just grab and go. No oreos that you can grab. And bring your mask. It’s a must have.