Lauren Goss considers her win in Sunday's 37th annual Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon the biggest of her seven-year professional career.
The 29-year-old Mount Pleasant native who now lives in Boulder, Colo., beat out Olympic triathlete Katie Zaferes and Ironman 70.3 champion Holly Lawrence to win the storied and prestigious triathlon. Due to strong winds and extremely choppy water, officials canceled the 1½-mile swim in the cold waters from Alcatraz to Marina Green in San Francisco.
"The swim is my best discipline," said Goss, who graduated from Wando High School in 2006 and from Clemson in 2010. "So I actually thought it was a disadvantage for me."
The resulting modified race format started similar to a time trial bike start, with 30 seconds between each professional athlete.
Goss, who was competing in her fourth Escape From Alcatraz, decided to race the challenging, hilly bike course with abandon.
"I thought the only way I'll win is if I take my chances on the bike," said Goss, adding she followed that up with a "great run."
She finished the 18-mile bike course in 51 minutes, 48 seconds and an equally-challenging eight-mile run in 49:28. She collected $10,000 for the victory.
Goss said her performance was surprising because she was coming off "the worst race of my life," the Ironman 70.3 Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, the previous weekend.
"My confidence was really low," Goss said after the race.
Meanwhile, her season as a whole is shaping up well.
In April, she won another triathlon that she has longed to win, St. Anthony's Triathlon in St. Petersburg, Florida. She won a total of $13,000 for that race.
She said another major goal this year is winning the New York City Triathlon on July 16. In November, Goss plans to be in Charleston for the annual Knights of Columbus Turkey Day Run on Thanksgiving Day.
Goss competed in her first triathlon, the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series, on James Island before starting her pro career in 2011.