I don't remember when or why I signed up for the Columbia Triathlon this year, but I was signed up, and I had nothing else going on yesterday, so I went and I ran it. After a few fairly competitive finishes at DC races, I had begun thinking I was, well, fairly competitive. I learned instead the DC races are neither as hard nor as competitive as is a three-decades-old event in rural Maryland with an international following.
This race in Ellicott City, Maryland, is the marquis event of the Columbia Triathlon Association, which also puts on the little-known Chesapeakeman iron-distance triathlon and the hugely popular Eagleman 70.3 (which Ted ran a few years back, beating Pat Tillman's time from a few years before that). The race attracts a highly credentialed pro field and is a target race for hundreds of talented regional athletes. It's on a beautiful, shaded, well-maintained course that is also massively hilly.
Long story short, I did fine, I was very pleased with my effort, I was only slightly less pleased with my time, and I was nowhere near competitive either overall or in my age group!
If you're going to be in the area in mid-May and have the triathlon bug, put this on your calendar. I'll be back next year. With a little more hill training under my belt.