2nd - 4:13:12
swim 26:01 (6th)
bike 2:18:48 (2nd)
run 1:25:14 (1st)
But then as I prepared to mount Ronny Mac, I heard Jared yell '4:15'. What the hell...! Over 4 minutes down on the leaders? I've never been that far down, that cannot be right. It wasn't until after the race I learnt that the 4 lead females managed to come out of the water in the lead mens pack. These girls put a full minute into some of the best male pros (former top ITU swimmers) by the time they exited the water. They must have had an almighty breakfast this morning!
After Daniela, I didn't see anymore competitors until the last out-and-back section near the end of the bike course where we head out part-way around the island then u-turn back to T2. As I was heading out I saw the lead men heading back. Not long after, I got my first glimpse of the lead girls heading back. I tried to count how far I was down - it was still a long way. Maybe even more than 4 minutes now.
This year we didn't have bike catchers at T2 like last year and T1 and T2 are in different spots so no-one had seen the transition set up until now...mid-race! We had to rack our bikes under the shopping centre car park. It seemed pitch black after being out in the sun for a couple hours. Sunnies on were not a good idea. The smooth concrete was wet as it'd been raining and it was super slippery. I heard Jared yell out about 3 or 4 times to be careful as almost everyone before me had slipped on it. I was super careful. Even with the warning I slid around but saved it and luckily stayed on my feet.
Onto the run I felt pretty ordinary. The weather was starting to get pretty hot and humid by now. Maybe it was the tough ride, strong winds, flat dead roads that all did it. Maybe my motivation wasn't as high coming out of the World Champs being just 2 weeks ago. Or maybe the body had gone into holiday mode from kicking back in beautiful Cozumel. Whatever the case, it didn't feel that great. I kept trudging along in pursuit of girls up the road. I caught Jodie a few k's in just before I passed the Coral Princess Hotel and Resort (our hotel) at about the 4k mark. All the hotel staff were out on the road yelling my name and taking photos. I passed by them four times in total and each time they were all there cheering and screaming "Go Melissa"! It was just what I needed out on the 'quieter' part of the course. I eventually made it to the finish line in second place. I had a good swim and bike but it was not fast enough to get the win today.
With the rain bucketing down we hailed down a cab to drive us back to our hotel. The little Mexican man was very helpful squishing my bike into is tiny matchbox car. The steering wheel was the size of Stuart Little's. The rear vision mirror looked more like a travel makeup mirror. And the small bucket seats we sat in were like water slides. We we literally sitting in a puddle of water. When we arrived back at our hotel the staff were there to greet us. After a quick shower we were in the hotel restaurant when Pedro and Jose, the managers came down with a congratulations flyer he had printed up for me. Race photos plastered all over it and a voucher for both Jared and I to receive a free couples massage in the hotel day spa. They also gave us a nice bottle of wine.
We stayed a few more days in Cozumel and each time we stepped out of our room it was like we were high rolling celebrities. Everyone would congratulate us. The hotel staff all knew us by name. We had photo shoots with all the staff as well as many of the guests. And the morning we left the entire hotel crew were out the front to see us off. We got a cheer and a clap as we walked down the red carpet... I mean lobby stairs. They were such a friendly and amazing bunch of people. I can't wait to return again next year!