On June 29th I raced the ITU Chicago Triathlon. For me this was a return to my roots as I grew up 25 miles west of the city in Glen Ellyn. It was also a chance to preview the 2015 ITU World Championship race course.
The night before the race Chicago got slammed with heavy winds and a deluge of rain. On race morning as I walked from my hotel to the transition area in Grant Park it was still sprinkling, but God shined His light on us as we had dry roads and sunny skies for the actual race. The 1.5K (0.93 mile) swim was in Lake Michigan in Monroe Harbor. The water was mostly calm and the water temperature was 68 degrees – perfect! Words can’t express how awesome it is to race in beautiful, clean water and every time you take a breath see 100+ story buildings on the horizon. I had a very solid swim as I came out of the water in 7th place with a split of 24:42. My time was 1:47 behind the first place guy. I think the swim was a tad longer than advertised, but I loved every second in the water.
The bike was supposed to be 40K (24.8 miles), but it was actually 23 miles. The pancake flat bike course was 4 laps of just over 9K each. We always had at least 2 lanes so it was very wide. Despite having to do so many laps, drafting was not much of a problem. I think that’s because they did a good job with timing the wave starts to begin the race. My only complaint for the entire race was that over half the bike course was on Lower Wacker Drive which is underground. Chicago is a gorgeous city and this race attracted athletes from around the world. It was a shame that the organizers failed to produce a more attractive bike course. Hopefully they will correct this when Chicago hosts Worlds next year. At any rate, I biked very well for me. My split was 1:01:29, which was 8:09 behind the fastest bike split on the day. I had the 39th best bike split in my age group and after all the jockeying I was still in 7th place after the bike. You could argue that a lot of the guys that out biked me were never going to be a factor in the race, but I sure wish I could bike better.
The 10K (6.2 miles) run was 3.5 pancake flat laps. The multi-lap format for both the bike and run courses was a lot of fun and very spectator friendly. To highlight the run, we circled around Buckingham Fountain at the end of each run lap. My wife Laurie was spectating and cheering for me. She is very knowledgeable and she always feeds me great information during these races. She fired me up to have the fastest run split on the day – 36:54. The next fastest was 1:18 slower so I really did crush the run course moving me up to finish 4th out of 114 men in the 50-54 age group and 81st out of 1,719 overall finishers. My time was 2:09:31. I only missed the podium by 22 seconds and was 5:40 from 1st place. My strength is not flat courses so I was very pleased as this was a good result for me.
To see some of my race pictures, click on this link:
There were a lot of fringe benefits to this trip. Immediately after the race Laurie and I headed up to Lake Geneva, WI for 4 days of family reunion time. This has become an annual reunion and usually we have about 18 adults including my Mom, my 2 sisters and their families which include a handful of kids. This year we also invited cousins to add about 16 more adults and a couple kids to the mix. People came from as far away as Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and California. It was awesome to see so many beloved people again! Another major highlight of the trip was 2 separate dinners at Giordano’s Pizza with my Chicago area buddies, Paul Winans and Chuck Carey.
Living the life…