I got to the park early, checked in, got body marked and setup my bike in transition - the usual morning pre-race ritual. After that I met with my friend Chris and after he got setup we went down to the water for warmup swim. Water was chilly, but not too bad and after few minutes of swimming I felt fine even with no sleeves on my wetsuit. After warmup we got out and waited for the start. We were both in the first wave and as usual with beach starts it was a mess until we reached the first buoy. I was actually sighting off of the very last buoy to avoid zig-zaging the course. There was some less experienced racer next to me who kept pushing me towards the second buoy so I slowed a little and let him go. No need to do that when there is a straight line to the very last buoy and all the other ones are on the left side as required by the race. After that incident I had very uneventful swim. Took a straight line to the last buoy, when I got there no one was around and before I rounded next corner there were only few people around and no one seemed interested to fight for position. No complaints from my side. The rest of the swim was ok and I pushed hard the whole way around as planned - goal was to swim strong and steady. Got out after little over 32 minutes and the swim seemed little long to me.
Before getting out of water I made a decision - since my ankle is not ok and i will have dnf there is really no point in running in T1. So I just walked from the beach to porta potties and the to my bike. My T1 time was something like 6 and half minutes. But that did nit worry me. At least I'll have people to pick off on the bike.
When I got on my bike I started executing the race plan - ride hard. About mile into the race I got into my shoes and it was hammer time. Just like on my fartlek rides I attacked pretty much every hill and rode hard on the straights. I did not keep count of people I passed, but I made my way through the field and when I rolled back into transition after 2:36 in the saddle there were only 8 other bikes on the racks. So even with my lousy transition I did pretty well. Lucky for me that was the end of my day. Not sure how well I would have run after that ride. According to my power meter I had averaged power 20 watts below my threshold so the run would probably suck.
In any case I'm very happy with the outcome and the swim and bike splits I recorded. This gives me hope that I may indeed do a sub-5 half this season. I hope to build up the run volume before IMRI and do that there.