Day 4 was set to be a short but intense day. We didn't have much planned, so the morning was pretty relaxed. Somehow I was able to get some sleep after surviving Newsom's legendary snoring, but I didn't feel 100% after getting a solid 8 hours. Breakfast was at 7:45 which meant I had plenty of time to take care of some necessary bike maintenance. Wildflower (my bike) picked up quite a bit of dirt and gravel after the short sprinkle yesterday, so a cleaning, a lube, and putting the aerobars all got done before I ate.
The big event for the day was an epic "Olympic distance" triathlon. The distances were set to be: 2k swim, 33mi bike, 10k run (only slightly longer than a standard Olympic distance race.) It was 11 miles to the lake which would be our warmup and act as the bike course for the event. We had already set up shoes by the hotel just before leaving, so we'd do three laps after the swim. I was initially pretty worried about the ride because my racing shorts are pretty thin, and my butt is starting to get a little beat up, but it turned out to not be so bad.
After a short warmup swim, the race was on. Shannon (one of the two girls at the camp) is slightly faster at swimming and has this wonder pink cap, so I elected to follow her. The swim was a little choppy going out, but otherwise it was a really tame, very easy swim. I hit the turn-around and was probably 10 seconds back from the pack. Over the course of the 2nd half, that group would get about 30 seconds ahead. In hindsight, it would have been advantageous to try to bridge, but at the time I was happy and comfortable. I was either 6th or 7th out of the water which has been the theme of the camp for me. I don't see that changing anytime soon.
I didn't know what the gap was to the leader, and it would be 11 miles before I would get any splits. I put in a pretty big effort right off the bat. The first 11 mile lap was mostly downhill, but my 270 watt average paid off. By the first turn-around I caught Shannon, Newsom, Zach, and Molina (my memory has me in 6th out of transition, so I might have got out on the bike slightly faster than Bary.) I saw Petro at the turn, but after heading back up the hill, he was no where in sight. I figured he couldn't have been more than a minute ahead, so I continued to dig deep. The second lap was the same 270 watt average but uphill this time. Again, I saw Petro just a bit ahead after starting the third and final lap. My power dropped a little down to 250, but this was one part being tired and one part prepping for a more painful run than I wanted. I was hoping to get off the bike in the lead, but second place meant that I would have to do some work. One interesting note about the bike was that the rough rode shook my bottle cage loose. It was driving me bazonkers, so at the start of the second lap, I got my multi-tool out of my saddle bag and tightened it up while still continuing to ride. I didn't think much of it at the time, but this impressed a few people at dinner.
Much to my surprise, Petro had put some serious time into me on that last lap. My rough estimate put him at 90 seconds starting the run, and he was looking strong too! I came out of "transition" (using that term loosely) and felt the usual heavy legs. I knew the first 1.5 miles was uphill, so I just kept my effort in check. If it's even possible, crushing downhills is my thing, so I was being patient for the turn-around at 2.5k. And when it finally came, I let it rip. In 2.5k I probably made up about 40 seconds and caught Petro at the 5k mark back at transition. Being a classy dude, he gave me some encouraging words: "Don't let up just because you're in front. This is Epic Camp!" And with a smile and a pat on the back, I was off. The second 5k was just me in a comfortable amount of hurt doing what I do best. My foot felt good, so I was happy to run fast. It was nice to cheer people on and give high fives on the way back, and in true Epic Camp fashion, I crossed the "finish line" (it was the 'G' spray painted on the ground) with an "oh, are you the first finisher," from Mark. 10k off the bike: 38:40, 6:20/mi.
And with that, the work was done for the day. We all sat together and ate lunch which consisted of these delicious turkey and cranberry paninis. Some people went to tack on while others (myself included) went to go celebrate with ice cream (I couldn't resist the Maple Nut flavor.) Afterward it was all about prepping for our 120mi bike ride tomorrow. And lastly, the yellow jersey changed hands today. Phil took over as overall points leader from Newsom.
Not many pictures today since we were racing.