August 16, 2019 - Won the race outright after racing the day before.
I signed up for this race on a whim. I raced the Atlantic City Olympic Tri the day before, so I had no expectations for this race. It was just an excuse to go out and have some fun. I was wondering how I would feel when I woke up, if my legs would feel rocked from the previous day's performance (where I came in 18th overall and 3rd in M35-39). Well, I woke up feeling great, maybe thanks to the AMP gel I used.
The Olympic race here at Steelman went off first, and the sprint race was sent off right after. There was no delay in sending off the back of the Olympic swim with the front of the Sprint swim. I was lined up with the fastest swimmers and was maybe the 8th person in the water of the sprint race. I immediately started crawling over the slower swimmers from the Oly race. The lake was murky and a bit too warm for wetsuits (I suspect the reported 77 degrees was a lie and it was really more like 81). It took a bit but I found my way into a clear path and got to the turn buoy. Once at the turn I left the slow swimmers behind and made my way back to the dock. The swim was advertised as 750yds but despite having a pretty straight GPS track I wound up with about 950 yards. A little long, but I didn't really care. I ran through T1, got my wetsuit off, and was off on the bike in a quick time.
On the bike I quickly passed a few people with "S" on their legs, then began the mile-long climb out from the marina. I passed a few more S people. One S person passed me. Once out on Rt563 I laid down the hammer. I passed back the guy that passed me quickly and started making my way past all the other people with Os on their legs. There were some hills here and I was able to just cruise over the climbs. By mile 10, the guy who had previously passed me did so again. But this was at the bottom of a long descent and when we turned around, I re-passed him. I ended up gapping him by about 100 yards and kept the hammer down. I saw no more people with Ss on their legs. I made the turn for transition and the long downhill while the Oly people went around for a second lap. As I made my way back into transition I hear "our first rider off the bike is Gabriel Levinson!" YES! I looked around transition. Not one bike was there. I was first one back. 22mph average on a hilly course.
I got through T2 in seconds and the guy who came in just behind me that I had been trading places with on the bike was sitting down and fumbling with his shoes. I blast out of transition holding just over 6:00 pace. I was all alone on the run course, my legs felt awesome, I knew this race was mine to lose, and I am NOT about to allow that to happen. At the 1.5mi turnaround, I grabbed a cup of water and saw nobody behind me. Second place was at least a minute and a half behind me on the trail. Since this was a rolling TT start I wasn't sure if someone was going to sneak in from behind me but not actually pass me, so I couldn't be complacent and slow down. I kept that hammer down. As I reached mile 2.75 I had to run past the finishline and around a little point so I could see there was nobody near me. This day was MINE! 18:37 5k off the bike to seal the overall win.
This was my first time winning a triathlon outright and it was a surreal feeling. I need to win more often. What a thrill!