Having a major race in my home town was not quite as easy as I thought it would be. I’ve been training really hard for Clearwater and Arizona. The last week when I started to taper it was hard to get into race mode since I was sleeping in my own bed and didn’t have to travel. Surprisingly, the swim ended up being a wetsuit swim. With the number of ITU guys coming down to the race, I knew the swim would be an important part of the race. The swim turned out to be really fast, but I got myself in a good position and held it through the entire swim. I started the ride with Bennett. Brian Fleischman had a small lead. I started chasing hard in the first couple of miles, but I didn’t feel as good as I was hoping. Bennett came flying past and bridged the gap to Fleischman and pulled away from me, Luke Bell and Cartmell. I struggled through the next 30 miles of the ride with Luke and Fraser doing a lot of the work. Around this time we got a time check to Bennett and he had pulled away to 1:45. I knew if I wanted to win the race, I would have to start pushing to catch him. I moved to the front and started working. Surprisingly I felt better once I started pushing. At mile 50 we got another time check and we had pulled back over a minute. The last 3 miles we managed to close the gap back to Bennett. Going into transition, I realized that the run was going to be nuts. I concentrated on having a fast transition so I could get out on the run first. My race plan was to run the first 3 miles hard and see if I could open up a gap, which I managed to do. I just tried to hold a consistent pace maintaining the lead. In the end I was surprised how good I felt and how quick the run time was. Even though I think the run course was about a minute short, it was still a tough course and I was really happy with my run time. All the long runs have been paying off. It was a great feeling being able to defend my title and get a win in my home town.