The invited male pros consisted of a very talented field, including Tim Don (multi World Champ and Olympian), Luke McKenzie (2013 Ironman Kona World Champ runner-up), Ben Hoffman (2014 Ironman Kona World Champ runner-up), and Jarrod Shoemaker (Olympian). The women's field was just as stellar too!
On the 2 lap course, I led from swim start to swim finish, and everyone stayed together. Swimming back to the beach on both loops into the strong tropical rising sun was pretty brutal but managed to stay on course.
I had a good T1and managed to maintain the leading spot onto the bike. The course consisted of a flat and fast 4-loop circle on pretty bumpy roads. Riding on the left side of the road. I tried to go hard from the start, but couldn't generate the max power I wanted to and needed to achieve to break the field. (Fun fact: this could be because my TT bike had been kept packed in the bag since LTF Oceanside 2 weeks prior, since I thought my racing season was done for the year!)
Coming into T2, The Don showed us all up with his 20+ years ITU experience by flying thru right before the dismount, and in a buzz was in&out of transition. It took me a while to put my shoes on (one day I'll have to figure these transitions out), and was out on the course in 3rd trailing McKenzie by a bit and Brandon right behind.
The run consisted of a 2-loop out&back course on gravel and some loose sand parts. I knew I could run with Luke, since I was in this same position at LTF Oceanside and we ended up running the same split. This time, I was feeling good and he must have been feeling all the Ironman fatigue, because about 3k into it I made the pass. The humidity and heat were strong, but I felt the best I've ever felt on the run, not only holding off the guys behind, but also running a 10k PR in less than ideal conditions.