After I rearranged my schedule, my final race of the season ended up being in Cancun, Mexico. Let me tell you, not a bad place to finish off the season! Even though it was 85 degrees out, with 75% humidity and random thunder and lightning rain storms, I got to stay and hangout with an awesome group of people which made the whole race experience that much better!
It was a one lap 750 meter swim with a beach entry that, thanks to growing up near the ocean my whole life, I was able to get an awesome start. I was out in front from the very beginning and held that position throughout. Around the second buoy when I was starting to head back to shore, I took a look back and saw I had a gap to the rest of the field. I didn’t want to get out onto the dead flat bike course solo, so I eased up quite a bit and by the time I exited the water I had the #1 ranked athlete, Steffen Justus (GER), on my heels.
Steffen and I worked together on the bike keeping a solid 15 second gap back to the chase group, but when we were just finishing the first of three 7k laps, I look back and I have about a 20m gap on Justus. I eased up and waited for him to get back on my wheel and when he did he yelled to me “FLAT, FLAT!” Since we had 15 seconds on the chase group (which was basically the entire field) he decided not to stop at the wheel station and continued to ride hard with his rear wheel completely flat! He told me “Let’s go Tommy!” and pulled through with his flat. I was shocked, amazed, and totally confused about what to do. Since he had a flat, he wasn’t able to ride as fast as would be necessary to stay away from the chase group, plus it was forcing me to put in more effort than I wanted to. About 2k into the second lap I looked back and we only had six seconds on the chase group so I told Justus “I’m done” and we both sat up and waited for the chase pack. Once I was in the group I just played it smart and saved as much energy as possible all the way into T2.
Coming into T2 I worked really hard for perfect positioning, and I was able to get off the bike first which allowed me to have a flawless transition. I started the run in the lead with no one around and locked into my pace. But at this point I wasn’t feeling great at all.
The lack of running I have done over the last 2 months was very evident. I was right at my threshold, and I didn’t even go with groups of guys that were running by me - I knew that I needed to run my own race for maximum performance. I did just that and had a much better second lap where I passed a few guys that went out way too hard and finished strong for a 19th place finish. My 5k time at the end of the race was about 30-40 seconds slower than what I would have liked to have run, and what I was running at the beginning of the year and in the French Grand Prix races; but overall I’m very happy with that performance in respect to the fact that the time I had to prepare was less than ideal to be able to show up to this race with full fitness.