Three Peat

by John Lawyer

I guess this is the”official” third annual Capital City Biathlon (fourth year running). I have always loved this event, it was one of my first races I’ve ever competed in and it’s fun all around, plus it’s a local race with tons of friends around to “shoot the poop” with. Being lucky enough to be the previous winner for two years running I knew that it’s only a matter of time before my luck ran out. I was going into this race a little blind for my liking.  I didn’t have a chance to do my annual 5k prep race to see where my fitness was and TT practice on the bike was non-existent. On top of that, my running legs have been suffering a bit so I slowed up the training a bit going into this race.

I ran into Kyle Monroe at the Lincoln Half Marathon who was 3rd place at the biathlon last year, he was in top-notch shape running the half in 1:14, but rumors were that he was injured and would not make the biathlon. I was also unsure of the 2nd place Thomas Gerlach who was in premium shape as well, I decided not to remind him that the race was approaching in hopes that he would forget. So the chances that the day would be a “hell on earth” day for me were an unknown.

As the wife and I were driving around the lake in route to the race I spotted a rider getting a warm up ride in from their house, sure enough it was Kyle Monroe, damn! With subtle encouragement I almost nicked him with my side mirror. After passing I knew I should have, I just like him too much to do that, darn nice guys. The pre race was the normal hustle and bustle, trying to keep the nerves under control. Finding out that Thomas was a no-show was a little bit of a relief. I was excited to slip on the new Hardy Breed tri kit for the first time, I do wish it was a Speedo though.

Trying to keep myself cool at the start was a struggle, I knew my work was cut out for me. Before long the gun went off, by the looks of it you would think we were do a track workout. Kyle shot off the front with speed and power just like a pro, and damn did he looked slick in that Pearl Izumi tri kit, I was convinced I needed one. Trying to run my own pace I kept a close eye on Kyle, his first mile 5 minutes flat, mine 5:24, not going so good, lets hope this doesn’t keep up. Kyle was around 8 minutes at the turn around and I flipped about 8:35. I was on pace to be a low 17 which is where I thought I would be. Mile two and Kyle was gone, I was alone and falling off pace just a little. At this point of the run (and fairly normal for me) was the time where my mind wonders off, and I mean wonders! I was thinking of everything but the race, work, what I was going to have for lunch, what I was going to do on Sunday, should I go to the pool. By the time I hit the bridge I think I figured out that I really didn’t want to run that hard, I was comfortable with my fading pace. And a fading pace it was. I refused to look at my watch knowing that I wouldn’t be happy, I glanced down right before T1 and sure enough it wasn’t what I wanted, 17:35 is what I saw and I still had a few steps to go, 17:40 was my official run time (slower than last year), “oh well” I told myself out loud as I entered T1.

Grabbing my normal bike crap I took off, clipped in, and started the bike leg. My super hot wife was volunteering (looking mighty sexy I might add) on one of the first turns and as I passed I just shook my head, she knew I was in a bad spot and way down. I was certain I needed to make up at least a minute (1:26 to be exact) so I just put my head down and tried not to go out too hard. Keeping it at 27-28 mph is what I did in hopes of catching someone. South on Pawnee Rd is where I spotted Steve Schein who was part of a team (teams started 3 minutes earlier on the run). I was closing fast which surprised me a bit but I just used him as a target. I didn’t pass him until we hit New City Rd.  We’re good friends and he shouted some good words at me (unsure what they were but I’m certain he wasn’t rude, I know where he lives). I crested a roller and spotted another rider, “thank God” (actually spoken out loud). Then I could see two riders, I knew there was another team rider but couldn’t tell if Kyle was the first or second rider, I had to wait for the turn around to find out. The first rider passed after the turn around and it was a team rider, a smile grew across my face, I was probably around 30 seconds back from Kyle. I knew I just closed a huge gap but there was a lot more to go. We made eye contact when he flipped; he knows I’m hunting him down.

After the turn around I assumed that there would be a tail wind of some sort, maybe, just a little, NO. Who really knows which direction the wind was blowing but it felt like a head wind the whole way? I continued to close the gap little by little on New City Rd. Once we turned back north on Pawnee Rd my mind faded once again. This has to be some sort of medical condition, I now made up my mind on what to eat for lunch and how the rest of my long weekend was going to play out, no joke, this is really what I was thinking about. I hit Lake Shore Dr and realized that I made up no ground on Kyle while on Pawnee Rd.  I told myself I had to catch him so I put in a surge for about a minute, that’s all I could muster, I tried to keep the momentum but it didn’t hold. I was doing a good job at convincing myself that 2nd place is still good and I should be happy with that, and I was. Lake Shore is a windy road so it was hard for me to tell how far back I was even though I could see Kyle in front of me. As we approached the final left hand turn off of Lake Shore and on to the final last stretch it dawned on me that I might be close enough to attack one last time, and I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t at least give it another shot, so I did. I figured I had around 20 yards to close in a quarter-mile, so I buckled down for a lot of pain. I clamped down so hard I knocked the nose of my seat down. I passed the hottie volunteering and heard the piercing sound of her scream “catch himmmmmmmm”.  I pushed as hard as I could, I flew up behind and all I could think about was how he might see my shadow before I get there and he’ll sprint. Two seconds are not long enough to make a game plan so when I closed the gap all I had time to do was shift, stand, and sprint. As I let out a terrible scream across the finish line I knew I did something that I didn’t think I could do. I won.

Good thing Bob was there at the finish, I couldn’t get off my bike. That was pain you don’t feel everyday and frankly I don’t want to feel every day. I went straight for the grass and laid there for about five minutes without moving. After I got a small cool down run in with Dan (podium spot) and Scott Harry (old man yogurt) I was better. I got around to talking with Kyle and had to apologize for stealing the win, I truly felt bad. Kyle is an amazing athlete that deserves to win, that’s just how I feel, and he will win this race next year. And Kyle I hope your taking care of your body with all your crazy 12 hour races you’re doing, my wife is concerned, (yeah, I don’t understand that either). All in all it was a good race, you couldn’t ask for better groups of people out there. Hardy Breed Racing had a great show as well as the Springfield Tri Club with their new colors. Someone even tapped a couple of kegs, who could want more (maybe Kyle). Thanks to all who helped put this event on, keep it up.

– John