Just did my first ever ITU style race (drafting allowed on the bike) and also first ever race in Santo Domingo...
Here's how it went...
Gun went off (20 min late as is the latin american way) and the small herd rushed into the water. Apparently the national team doesn't spend 10 hours in the pool here a week for nothing because the lead group was shot out of a canon and shelled me before I could even blink. I was left working with the chase group to limit our losses. I swam pretty well and the water was clean as can be. You should see some of the stretches of ocean here. It is like an enormous garbage milkshake so I was worried.
I transitioned onto my old trusty (read rusty) trek 1000... and after riding my BMC tt02, felt like I was taking the 3rd world thing too far... Caitlin simply stated that it was time for me to get back to basics... (she has no idea how much she sounds like a triathlon coach sometimes)
Anyway, got onto the bike and there was a group of four people soft pedaling up ahead. I couldn't believe it... soft pedaling in a race?! I yelled in broken spanish at them and one guy jumped onto my wheel as we tore off after the fish who had smashed us in the swim. As I was the only one intent on catching, I was doing 75% of the pacing. We quickly caught a loner who had been stuck in no man's land and he hopped on the pain train as well. This guy refused to do any work. I yelled more. Still no work as he had designs of running quickly.
No time to work on my Spanish to reason with him that it wasn't acceptable to race for 5th, I stuck at the front but couldn't for the life of me figure out where the leaders were... It was a 4 lap course... we should see them (the reason is at the end)?! Anyway, I tested the legs of the two behind me with a couple attacks on the 4th lap to see if I could dislodge them before the run. No luck as I have very little punch on the bike.
Transitioned onto the run slowly (no speed laces and a t shirt instead of tri suit=back to basics)
We dropped the guy who had pulled a few times right off the bat. Then it was me and freeloader. I took out the first 1.5k @ a good 5:40min/mile pace to see where his running legs were. In this heat (89 deg and 80% humidity on the day) 5:40 is pretty painful. He shadowed me but his legs sounded heavy. I did some investigation by dropping the pace and waiting for him to pull up to my shoulder. He ran to the other side of the road and I followed... I looked at him and he was touching his side and showed a bit of a grimace. The move was made and I shot off as fast as I could.
I heard a yelp (literally it sounded like a wounded animal or a quiet chewbacca cry) and within 500m I had 15 seconds on him. The rest of the run was spent running through people which made me really happy as I have been running a lot lately. I caught 1...2...3...4...5 people and ran my way into third.
After the race freeloader came up to me and explained that we added mass distance to the bike, we had missed a turn each lap and thus added 2k each lap for a grand total of 28k en vez de 20k. How nice.... in short, I think I could have biked/ ran down the fishies had this not happened... This is why after the first lap we never saw the leaders again. I think we ended up adding about 12 minutes to our times.
Free loader also told me there is another race in three weeks... entonces