Dean Holds Off Late Charge by Criner
You may think by the title of this blog that the race was an exciting last minute charge by the larger, more experienced and older male that had to be fended off by the slighter and much younger female. It wasn’t. It was never even close.
This story begins with a top 50% age grouper in the Ironman who decides he’s going to challenge a world’s qualifier sprinter. No one is really sure why boy decided he wanted to race girl, but he did. The date was set for 7/20/13 at the Triangle Tri. A bug infested jaunt through a dirty lake and wooden trails. This race came as the Ironman was 3 weeks from his last full distance and the sprinter was in the heat of her world’s training. The perfect storm. He was worn and tired (and old), she was fierce and fresh.
The morning started with Ironman starting in the wave behind sprinter. 4 minutes. 4 minutes to think about what the day had for him. 4 minutes to contemplate his victory. Those 4 minutes would be his last. The swim starts began without incident. Both athletes found clear (but not clean) water and settled in.
An unofficial timer was at each transition to report to Ironman how he was faring. Unofficial timer would time each competitor separately so as to negate the 4 minute start differential. Ironman quickly grew weary of unofficial timer.
At swim exit, sprinter had Ironman by just over 3 minutes. It was supposed to be closer than that. Sprinter’s worst event involved the water. Ironman’s armor began to show cracks. The sprinter’s swim times, in practice, had improved…but the Ironman didn’t know it. However, all was not lost, Ironman was an accomplished rider and being heavier, had an advantage on the bike. Certainly, he could make up 3 minutes over a longer than normal 17 mile ride. Coming into T2, sprinter looked tired. She had just spent the last 50 minutes hammering the pedals to pull away from another female competitor, apparently not even contemplating her race against Ironman. It is rumored that sprinter had a partial reversal of fortune on the bike.
Coming out of T2, unofficial timer asks Ironman whether he wants to know the race status. Ironman doesn’t respond. So unofficial timer tells him anyway (in a mocking sort of way). He’s now 10 minutes back of sprinter. Somehow, the larger seemingly faster biker has lost another 7 minutes on what was supposed to be the strength of his race. However, by all accounts, sprinter wasted her legs on the bike and Ironman could now reel her in like a dying fish. 10 minutes is a lot to make up on a short 5k run, but with a fading sprinter, Ironman was poised to attack.
Unfortunately for Ironman, sprinter did not fade. She ran harder. By putting up a 21:39 split (only 40 seconds off of her 5k stand alone PR), sprinter eviscerated the soul Ironman. As Ironman rounded the last turn, he ducked his head and pulled his cap down over his eyes to hide what were no doubt tears of defeat. What was once so promising had been stolen from him. The fate of all fates. Being chicked.
(for those of you keeping score at home, that is a beating of almost 20 minutes).