Another beautiful fall, another beautiful Hammerfest. After some time off, I was very excited to take 1st in my favorite local race today. I am starting to feel like myself again. Thanks to Zane's, Brian's Hope, and everyone else for another great event.
The only downsides were the staggering of the heats (45+ men went first) and the odd timing chips. The first caused a chaotic state in which everyone was either in a state of passing or being passed. The second resulted in me finishing without a chip. All things said, worse things have happened.
The swim was crowded, but I managed to plug away and navigate the crowd to come out with a minute or so lead into T1. I've come back from my wrist injury with an even stronger swim.
My bike, however, had a surprise in store. As soon as I mounted, the nose slipped and dropped all the way down. I spent the whole ride with it loose, gripping my aerobars. As annoying as it was, it put me in an aggressive position in which I was able to crank through the throngs of people and extend my lead into T2.
From there, not knowing what place I was in, I pushed the gas hard the first two miles to catch everyone. Only then did I realize they had all gone off in an earlier wave. Still, it felt fantastic cruising the rest of the place in first. Injuries always make successes feel better.
My ankle is still giving me trouble, but it is something I expect I will just have to manage. Not all injuries are "on" or "off", and every athlete is bound to have an in-between injury at one point or another. They usually reflect some inherent weakness, and tend to wear out their welcome. For me, my ankle/foot stabilizing muscles are weak because of the months I spent in a boot this winter.
Unfortunately, the season is ending just as I am getting fit. I miss being so focused on a race that only after do I discover that my timing chip is missing, my wrist and toe are bleeding, and my wetsuit was nicked doing dolphin dives (all of which happened today).
Best of all, my dad visited from Michigan to join in the race – his second and fastest Hammerfest yet!