An Awesome Clash in Daytona

Saturday I raced in the Clash Endurance Daytona Triathlon as part of a relay team that was simply awesome. Here I will share my experience from the weekend racing inside the Daytona International Speedway.

This was my second time racing at the event in Daytona. For the same reason last year, I targeted this race as a fun experience outside of my duathlon season. Don’t get me wrong, I came to compete but this was more about the experience and being part of a team in a most spectacular venue.

Last year I competed in the relay with Dylan Nolan only as he represented both the swim and run portions where I completed the cycling portion. This year we added USA Triathlon World Champion, David Morrow (Captain), to our team taking on the swim responsibilities. We were hoping to defend our title from last year with all three of us extremely competitive.

Friday we made our way to the track to pick up our packets and set up my bike in transition. We did a walk through of transition and felt comfortable with our responsibilities and entry & exit points. For dinner we had a great crew join us from back home including April Branam, Bob Brown, Dave Harris, and Amy Noble. We had plenty of laughs at dinner and it was great to catch up on all our stories.

Saturday morning came quickly as we arrived at the track around 5:30 AM. It was a cool 57 degrees with light wind. We set up the final components of our transition area and ensured the bike tires were set. Hats off to the swimmers on this day as the water temperature was in the low 60s. We watched Captain get set up to start the swim and then Dylan and I headed back to transition so we could begin to warm up. Not shortly after I did my warmups Captain was running in with a great swim time. I grabbed the timing strap off his ankle and jetted out on the bike for five laps around the speedway followed by a brief exit and reentry under the track to transition for a total of 13.5 miles.

The ride around the track was awesome. Going through turns 1 and 2 you can feel the 31 degree pitch that almost seems straight up at some points. On laps 2 and 3 I had to go a bit high going across the checkered finish line that was quite cool and with a bit of caution due to the pitch. Taking two months off training on the bike I felt a bit tight on the first lap but then felt fantastically strong for the final four laps. That’s not uncommon for me to get settled in after hopping on the bike cold or off of a swim or first run. The feel coming down the back stretch was inspiring seeing and feeling the stands at the top of the track.

I was very happy with the splits (lap times) I was hitting and came in strong through transition. I racked my bike and stuck my leg out for Dylan to grab the timing strap and off he raced out for the final 3.1 mile run effort. Captain and I gathered our thoughts and began our jog to the finish line as we knew Dylan was going to run fast. He did just that as before we knew it he was racing in with a 16:03 5k time vaulting us to the Overall Relay win!

We took our pictures and immediately began reflecting on our effort. We were quite joyous as we all felt like we gave our all and performed extremely well. We joined our friends and then headed to awards. We all were sharing stories from the day. Some quite graphic (sorry Dave Harris) and all of us had smiles on our faces.

Congratulations Bob Brown on a 10th Place Overall finish in the Duathlon with his best run splits since his knee replacement over a year ago. Those run times brought huge smiles to his face along with his traditional kick-ass bike effort. Kelly Brown placed 3rd Overall Female in the Duathlon and was able to secure one of the coolest awards in multi-sport – the mini version of a NASCAR helmet. Ed Vasquez placed 16th Overall in the Duathlon as well after having an injury right before the start of the race = gamer!

Congratulations also to Amy Noble, April Branam, Dave Harris and Coral Owens (18 weeks pregnant!!!) for great efforts on a most beautiful morning in Daytona. And another partner, Dave Wilson, officiated the day including the pro racers in the afternoon. I think he likes it for the free motorcycle ride more than anything… Happy pre-birthday Dave Wilson!

I love this event for a few very important reasons:

  • Being a part of team with people that share the passion I do for this stuff
  • Prevention of burnout – I have an end to my triathlon or duathlon season about the same time every year so I get a mental and physical break
  • The venue is one of the most unique to race
  • Hanging around with friends who also made the trip across the state

I hope to continue this relay tradition for these reasons going forward and I’m so happy to be healthy and strong at this stage of my life and competitive journey. Eat great (plant-based), train with discipline and purpose, find an edge and results will come. If you are completing these events for fun and wellness, that is great too!

– Add Health to Your Life

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