As it turns out I was right and it did get hotter.
I started way to the right of the group so that the odds of someone whacking my right elbow, and as the swim began the smosh of flailing arms was everywhere. I stayed outside the bunch, carefully eyeing the bouy in the distance. I kept it smooth, and sort of relaxed as I went way around the bouy and passed the group thrashing the water, and each other. After sorting out the mess, the group strung out. By keeping up my kick, rolling evenly, and pacing my breathing, I passed lots of people. Even with only one strong arm I was able to swim pretty well.
Once out of the water, I jumped on my bike to assault the first of many steep, steep hills. I think that the bike course was the steepest, hardest bike leg of any X-Terra I have been in. Lots of people were walking the very steepest sections. It went on and on. Finally, I thought were almost done, only to be sent out on another loop! AUGH! Eventually, I sucame and had to walk the last portion of the steepest hill...(wish I were in better shape). The decents were just as steep, and of course took their toll on those who could not decend...lots of off-road rash.
After the bike ride I entered the transition area and out on to the run...
I was tri-ing to keep my heart rate below 160, and I must have been distracted by the 32 year old woman running just ahead of me because just after a creek crossing we went off course...way off course. Apparantly we were not the only ones off course. There was a group of campers that were MIS-DIRECTING people on the run...So after about a 15-20 minute detour we made it back to the course. It was an ok run after that. I passed lots of people on the uphills and the downhills.
I finished in 3 hours 44 minutes...way back from my competition....I feel ok about it...I should have paid more attention to the race markings...next time....I am just happy to have finished and I wasn't last...Kem