I always enjoy going back to St. Croix. It’s one of my favorite races. Unfortunately this year it turned out extremely hard to get to due to the airlines cutting back flights. It was good to travel down there with my training partner Pat Evoe. We both took it really easy leading into the race. I probably took it a little bit easier than I normally do. We got lucky with cool conditions on race day. The field was not particularly deep, but it certainly had a strong bunch of guys.
I thought I was having a good swim, but somehow Luke Bell managed to slip away and open up the gap. He ended up getting the swim prime. He also blasted the first 20 miles of the bike. I felt pretty good on the bike and tried to hold my own pace. The last 20 miles, Kriat and I really started to work hard to try and pull back time on Bell. We managed to pull back a little bit of time going into transition. This year, I wanted to try a different tactic on the run. Normally the first 2-3 miles are flat out as I’m always chasing Crowie. This time I wanted to pace myself in the run and come home strong. A lot of people always die on the second lap in the run. However, that plan didn’t work so well. I started off slow and ended up running slower. Once I realized I wasn’t going to catch Bell or Kriat, I settled in to run with Allesandro and was just waiting for the last few hundred meters to do a sprint. Turns out we miscalculated Pat Evoe’s speedy run from behind. Once Pat caught up, we worked together to get rid of Allesandro. It worked out well, we got rid of him. Pat was still on fire though so I had to dig deep just to hang on. Luckily we only had a half mile to go. We had a great sprint finish. If you want to watch it, here it is: Richie and Pat battle to the end. I’m happy to be back on the podium. I think that’s my 7th podium in St. Croix. I’ll be back again next year.