Swim 5th 22:02
Bike 1st 2:20:45
Run 1st 1:20:46
What a way to finish off my US season. I picked Augusta, Georgia because I wanted to meet my 'Dream Team' youth tri squad, whom I was appointed team Captain last year. Set up by Harvey and coach Kim a year ago, they have established triathlon squads in Atlanta, Athens and Augusta for kids under 18. I flew into Atlanta Friday afternoon and Harvey picked me up and drove me to Athens for a little training session and Q&A with the kids followed by photo's and autograph signing. We had a great time as I shared stories with the kids and met all the parents. The following morning Harvey and I went for a spin around beautiful Athens before Kelly and Marcus (parents of some Dream Team kids and also triathletes themselves) drove me to Augusta where the three of us checked in for the Augusta 70.3. They then dropped me off at Tony and Kristen's house who would be my Homestay hosts for the night. Tony would also compete and we enjoyed a little jog together Friday evening. Everything went so smoothly with Harvey's meticulous planning.
The bike course was nice - flat and fast at the start, rolling hills through the middle and then flat and fast to finish. I took one wrong turn as the official seemed to be pointing for a sharp left. I was on the wrong side of the road but managed to bush bash my way across the grassy ditch dividing the road. I'd taken the lead at 38km. With a few corners and switchbacks I could see Emma-Kate holding on. At 65km she went past and took a turn. But slowed up about 10km down the road for a hill and then aid station. I decided to take the lead back and remained in the lead right into T2 with Emma-Kate only a few seconds back. We had made a pretty large gap to the rest of the field so unless something seriously went wrong it looked like 1st and 2nd had been decided.
At 5 1/2 mile however I was a little worried. I started to get the urge to use the bathroom. By 7 mile I was getting pretty desperate. My lead cyclist was just up ahead, occasionally looking around to make sure I was still there. Approaching 7 1/2 mile I spotted some porta loo's. I bolted off course and straight into one. Did my business and and jumped back into the race. My lead cyclist had stopped around the corner, obviously thinking "where'd she go?". I put on a little surge to catch her and apologized. We shared a little laugh before I got back to focussing on winning the race.
After my race I sat on the back of Harvey's truck watching the rest of the competitors run past on their way to completing their race. When Marcus and Kelly ran past we jumped up and gave them a good yell. Marcus was funny as he ran past. Harvey was running along next to him giving him his placing but all he kept yelling back was "how'd Mel go?, did she win?". Both Marcus and Kelly raced amazingly . Kelly secured her spot for Vegas and Marcus broke 5hrs setting a new personal best. Tony also set a record, knocking over half an hour off of his last years time.
It was an amazing day and weekend! And such an awesome way to wrap up my US season. Next stop - KONA! To watch Jared, my husband compete in his third ever triathlon and second full IM.
Thanks to race organizers, sponsors and volunteers for putting on yet again another supperb race. And a huge thank you to Harvey, Julie & family for sharing their home with me and organizing such a wonderful weekend. Tony, Kristen & family for welcoming me into their home and Kelly & Marcus for the fun road trip to Augusta. Also the entire Dream Team for their continual support.