70.3 World Championship - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Henderson, Nevada
United States
86F / 30C
Total Time = 5h 03m 25s
Overall Rank = 497/
Age Group = M25-29
Age Group Rank = 50/
Pre-race routine:

My only goal for this race was to show up knowing that I did everything I could to be prepared. When my alarm when off on race morning I had achieved my goal and the only thing left to do was show my work on the course and enjoy the experience. I arrived in transition on race morning to find that my front tube had popped overnight [Bike and gear were required to be dropped off the day before the race]. I had a spare tube packed on my bike, but instead of using that and not having one for the race I took the wheel over to the mechanic tent and had him replace it. Once that was taken care of there wasn't much else that needed to be done since it was all set the night before.
Event warmup:

I got to hang out with my support crew (Girlfriend, Mom, and Brother) until transition closed at 6am. At that time we had to in a swim start staging area for athletes only. I was in the last wave, starting at 8am. Lots of time to check out the porta-potties, loosen up a bit, and watch others start the swim.
  • 36m 28s
  • 2112 yards
  • / 100 yards

Most everyone in my wave was out well in front of the start line before the gun went off. The announcer mentioned it and told them to move back, but they kept creeping forward. Their should have been an effort made to keep athletes from doing that. I was staying back a bit because I wanted to make sure I had clean water behind me to avoid being trampled at the start. Even still, the first 200m was a tub full of feet and elbows. I'm completely okay with this now though and kept on my course. I felt good for the entire swim and never felt any my legs dropping. I did an amazing job of staying in a draft for the entire swim. It was easy to see a pair of white calf compression sleeves on the swimmer next to me. Only during the last 1/3 of the swim did I have to swim in my own water due to the fact that we were catching the slower swimmers of the previous wave and had to split around them. I got a little off course towards the end and was headed under the wrong section of the bridge, but it didn't seem to take too much to get back over. I was happy coming out of the water. I felt like I had a great swim.
What would you do differently?:

I would love to know what my actual swim distance and time were. I can't ask for much more than what I did. I feel I could have swam faster if I were drafting off faster feet.
Transition 1
  • 03m 21s

A long run around the end of the lake to get to the other side and into the change tent. I learned that you can't fully unzip the DeSoto Liftfoil and run the same way you would with a wetsuit. I was holding it up for a bit, then decided to rezip it up part way. Volunteers had my gear back ready for a quick hand-off. Into the change tent and out the other side with my bike shoes and helmet on. Grabbed the bike and had to run up a switchback hill to get to the mount line.
What would you do differently?:

I could learn to step into my bike shoes while they are clipped in, but I don't think it made much of a difference.
  • 2h 44m 17s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.45 mile/hr

The bike course starts with a serious climb to get out of the resort area that hosted the swim and into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The Rec Area is all open desert road with long rolling hills. The only thing flat about this course was the swim. After pre-riding the course a month ago and made the plan to save my legs on the downhills by not pedaling anytime I was at 30+mph. Except now, on raceday, I pushed my pace up to 40mph on the first fast section I got. I was testing out my legs and they felt good! After that I stuck with my strategy and think it really helped in the final miles and into the run. There were a few aid stations in the desert, but no spectators so it was nice when I recognized a name and bib# that was posted by one of the athletes I follow on twitter. I said Hi and we had a brief chat as I passed him on an incline (he would later pass me on the run and finish 3 minutes ahead of me). On my trip out of the desert I was cruising down a hill at 30mph and a large deer-like animal with curved back horns, later identified as a Bullhorned Sheep, ran across the road about 20 yards ahead of me. I was watching it run off into the canyon before I looked back to the road and saw a second one dart across just 10 yards in front of my bike. That could have ended my day right there! I stayed calm and pedaled on.

After exiting the Rec Area it's a long 16 miles to T2. The course takes a a slight down slope, but but enough to rest up on. This is were you do hit the one flat fast street on the course though. It made for a good time to check the energy stores and see how the legs are feeling. Without any hills or wind I was able to get up to and comfortably hold a solid pace. This was a great confidence booster on a course that don't have very many sections that truly allow you to gauge your base performance.

The last 6 miles climb through a residential neighborhood on a grade that is comparably to any of the hard climbs already ridden in the desert. I didn't push these final miles at all. I kept a steady spin and tried to prepare my legs for the run. My quads started talking to me in the last two miles of the bike and I knew I would be in for some fun on the hilly run course.
What would you do differently?:

The main adjustment to my race plan would be to push the downhills instead of resting up, but also attack a bit in the middle of the climbs instead of just hitting the base hard and then working the crest.
Transition 2
  • 01m 13s

I completely forgot to get out of my bike shoes before hitting the mount line. I was just too happy to be getting off the bike that I wasn't even thinking of it. Not a big deal though. Volunteers had my gear bag ready as I ran by and into the change tent. All I had to do was switch out my shoes and go.
What would you do differently?:

leave my bike shoes on the bike.
  • 1h 38m 6s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 29s  min/mile

I started the run with a smile to my support crew and high-fived my brother who told me that this was my event. The quads were still hurting, but I was feeling good. I had decided before the event that I would be running without a watch on and just trying to keep a pace that allowed me do the passing instead of getting passed. This plan doesn't work so well on a loop course, especially after I had started in the last wave of the day.

The first 1.2 miles of the run are downhill so I relaxed my legs and let gravity do the work. My results show that I did that first section at a 6:25 min/mile pace. Not a bad start to the run, but now I had to turn around and run uphill for just under 5k. I ran an average of 8:08 my first time of the hill. The course was three laps up and down this climb.

I was passing plenty of people from earlier waves and a few from my own. Running back down to the bottom picked up my pace to 7:38 and by them I started counting the athletes from my age group that were passing me. The count got to 3 or 4, but as I thought about it there was no way to know if they were just getting off the bike and starting their first loop as I started my second. I did recognized one athlete from the bike course so I made it my goal to keep with him.

I held the 7:38 pace after the turn around and back up the hill. The downhill increased the pace to 7:18. The short lap design of the course made it easy to divide up and seemed to make the 13 miles go by quickly. I was seeing my family twice on every lap and being pushed on by their love and support.

Being at a World Championship race is unlike anything I had done before. The level that all these athletes are at is very impressive. I'm not used to putting in such a solid effort through out the day and only moving up a spot or two. Many of the athletes also have coaches who were at the race so I was able to pick up some pointers as their coach yelled out advice on how to use the hill, except for one coach who told his athlete "Good job, get a drink of water." Umm, thanks coach, pretty sure any athlete could figure that one out.

On my way back down the hill to start my final climb, my brother told me that last time it had taken me 20 minutes to get from where there were to the bottom of the hill and back up to them. In my head I figure, okay 20 minutes to do about 5k, I can improve on that. And I also wanted to surprise them and show them I could pick it up. This is when I really started to race. Probably a little late in the day, but I now knew I had nothing to lose. I set my sights on the runner I had been staying with and hunted him down at all costs.

I was gaining on him and pushing harder. My family was stationed halfway up the hill and my brother shouted out that everything I had trained for was between me and the finish. I thought about all of the hill repeats I had done at threshold. I was going to wait until the final downhill mile to really turn it on, but I couldn't. I made my move at the bottom of the hill and went. I blew passed my rabbit and continued to the top of the climb. From there it was only another mile back down to the finish. I had no idea who I was chasing at this point so I set my sights on a yellow jersey far ahead of me. 400m from the finish I spot another athlete from my age group ahead of me. He was fixing his jersey, straightening his bib number, and getting pretty from his photo. Easy picking. 200m from the finish I blew by him and passed a couple other athletes in the chute. My final 5k split was at a 5:44 min/mile pace!

I feel I gave a solid effort throughout the entire day and and very please that I was able to negative split every lap of the run. I'm humbled by the quality of athlete at this event. I learn something at every race, but being on the course with people of this caliber taught me a lot about what it takes to be a champion. I couldn't have asked for a better performance on race day. Everything came together for me and I finished feeling strong.
What would you do differently?:

I ran at the edge of my pain threshold for most the run, if I want to compete I need to dig into the next level.
Post race
Warm down:

A bit of walking around. I didn't have the stomach for much of the post race food. I got hugs from my family and then went off to wait for a massage. Later that night I pissed away some money in the casinos on the strip.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think that if I would have held pace with a faster group to get out of the water I would have been able to push myself harder with them through the rest of the day. At an event of this caliber there are no slackers or athletes who are just there to see if they can finish. The group you fall into is basically at the same level as you for the rest of the race.

Event comments:

One hell of a course that could be changed dramatically by the weather conditions. The bike aid stations great, but I feel the run stations could have been better stocked. I know I was in the last wave, but that puts us in the group that would be in the harder conditions of the day. I was only offered an energy gel once during the run and only one of the aid stations had ice.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-04-03 12:00 AM
00:36:28 | 2112 yards | / 100yards
Age Group: 65/
Overall: 805/
Performance: Good
Suit: Desoto Liftfoil
Course: Calm, green, warm, out and back.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:21
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
02:44:17 | 56 miles | 20.45 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Desert, not spectator friendly, long rolling hills, few good climbs, one fast road, end with a long climb.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:13
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:38:06 | 13.1 miles | 07m 29s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Course: 1 mile downhill then 3 times up and down a long climb. Lined with spectators and you pass the same point six times during the run.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4