Not much to say about this one, except to reference the old adage: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
After a very hotly contested battle in St. George with last year’s second-place finisher at the Ironman 70.3 World Champs, Terenzo Bozzone, which ended with me a couple seconds behind in a sprint finish, I found myself again matching pace with him on the run in Lake Stevens. The story of how we got there involved a swim and bike ride through the heavily forested and occasionally foggy hills of the pacific northwest, but that part was history and meant nothing as we battled for what would be the first win in both of our 2014 seasons. We had come out of T2 within seconds of each other, and to be honest, our first few miles consisted of trying to match the footspeed of Matt Reed as he throttled up and made us hurt. Shortly after mile 4 though, it became a back-and-forth battle with TBone, neither of us relenting under the strain of 5:35/mile pace, and Matty falling a bit back. I tried on a number of occasions to dispatch Terenzo, including some of the harder hills where I could tell his breathing was more labored, but he hung tough stuck on like super glue. At each passing aid station, we fueled and I counted down to what was appearing an inevitability. On the front I continued to turn the screws the best I could at that stage in a hard race, fully aware that I was better known for my extremely good looks than my explosive sprint. Alas, Terenzo weathered the storms, and we both hit the gas with a little over a kilometer left. I had been through the finishing chute the day before when helping with the Ironkids race, but T still got the better line around some barriers and initiated the true sprint. I matched the best I could, moving left to try and come around, furiously pumping my arms and losing all semblance of form in a desperate bid to win. I held on, but never had another gear to come past, finishing just .79 sec behind, empty, bittersweet.
Of course it stings to lose a close one like that, but it is over and done with now. Instead, I will take some good fitness away from it, knowing that my body is coming into form just in time for the big races of the year in Mont Tremblant and Kona. Additionally, I know that I gave everything I had on the day. No regrets, no big “what ifs,” and was simply beaten by a world class athlete in Terenzo. Now it’s back to work for some finishing touches… Please stay tuned for the World Championships this fall.
As always, tremendous thanks to all my supporters, especially family (my dad raced as well and earned his WC slot), friends, fans, sponsors, volunteers, coaches, and others. I know my best years are still in front of me in this sport. Exciting times.