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Ironman World Championship - TriathlonFull Ironman


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Kona, Hawaii
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
80F / 27C
Sunny
Total Time = 9h 48m 54s
Overall Rank = 245/1800
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 26/250
Pre-race routine:

"Just be patient..."

My coach had said that to me during our pre-race meeting a few days before I left for Kona. It's funny how a simple little three word sentence can be so applicable to so many things. As I floated in the warm water of Kialua Bay a few moments before the start I reminded myself of this. It would come in handy.
Event warmup:

Floating next to me was my friend David Morris, racing his first time here after an amazing top 3 overall age grouper performance at IMLP. We did the usual Kona pre start swim shuffle where you find a nice clear spot of water only to have it crowded within moments and you have to find another. I knew what was about to happen. That for the next 10+ minutes after the cannon fires the swim carnage here is like no other Ironman event I have ever done. Regardless of where you choose to line up, it's going to be bad..really bad. But you just have to be patient.
Swim
  • 1h 04m 59s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 32s / 100 yards
Comments:

Somehow I missed hearing the canon but Mike was yelling GO, GO, GO and everyone took off. I started the watch. I had warmed David to just swim as much as he could with his head up and clear from kicking feet and thrashing arms. It was all white water and flailing bodies and it was BAD. Single best bit of advice I can give anyone regarding this swim start? Don't ever stop. As soon as you stop for even a second people will swim right over you. You just have to try and continue to make forwards ogress even if what you are doing to achieve that doesn't resemble swimming. And then be prepared for it to last about 75% longer then you think it should.

Eventually I found some semblance of calm and began to actually swim in a more normalized fashion. It was still crowded but the contact greatly diminished. I could pick put opening ahead and try and surge up into them but you have to be aggressive as there are likely a few folks around you who see the same clear water at the same moment. What was funny was that I had vowed to avoid the buoy line, swimming there in 2010 had been a disaster. Yet half way down the course to the turn I looked up and was staring at a big red buoy! Jesus, Bryan, how did you end up over here?! But it wasn't bad so I decided to stay and work the line.

To be honest, I felt really good when I got to the turn. There was some confusion here as the turn marker to head back was sort of hidden beneath the bow of a spectator/media boat. Some people seemed to be swimming to the left of the boat which would cut the turn and I realized that quickly and was able to go to the correct side to make the turn wi the buoy on my right. Heading back in there were some swells that made the swim feel a lot quicker, perhaps also some favorable current. As I neared the shore I was very happy with the start of my long day and looking forward to see if I had managed to break the 1:04 swim split strangle hold is race has had on me since 2007. My hand brushed sandy bottom and I stood up to see...1:04 on my Garmin. It's almost uncanny, it's certainly mildly amusing, it's also kind of annoying. But just be patient...
What would you do differently?:

Build a DeLorean and go back to 1974 and enter an Olympic swim training program.
Transition 1
  • 02m 54s
Comments:

With just my cap, googles, and speed suit to stick in my bag, I made quick time through the change tent, I stopped just long enough to get the suit off and was out of there. I got to my bike where my sunglasses and race belt were in my helmet on my bar extensions and my shoes were clipped into to the pedals on the correct side this year thankfully. The new S-Works TriVents worked great for a fast mount and the boa system provided a perfect snug down.
Bike
  • 5h 03m 43s
  • 112 miles
  • 22.13 mile/hr
Comments:

I made the little climb up to the hot corner and turned left for the in town section of the bike. I had not split my T1 properly and instead had paused my Garmin so I got that sorted. As I pulled up the data field I had set up for the bike, HR, average cadence, current cadence, and time, I realized there was a problem. My HR was 58. Oh no, please tell me my strap isn't choosing is particular day to crap out on me. I was a little rattled by that, HR is my key metric for managing effort on the bike. Although I had a vague idea of what my power could/should be I still didn't have sufficient faith to stop and create a power data field. Cadence was helpful but I really wanted to watch HR. This could be bad but I decided to just be patient. Let's see if as I dry off from the swim it comes around. Be patient.

All along the Kuakini Highway out and back it seemed to be improving and by the time I got to the Queen K it was working fine. That was a relief. I did have one scary moment while climbing Palni a rider to my right went down hard and almost took me out. He clipped my rear wheel but I managed to stay in control. Now I could settle down and get to work. I knew from my previous races here that the course would be crowded and packs would be large but in general, the first 20 miles weren't that bad at all. Sure there were the blatant violators but there was also a noticeable presence of Marshals on scouters and motorcycles out on course. I don't think 10min. Went by when another one didn't go by me. As I passed the first Penalty Tent it was so packed I thought they were giving away free stuff! Clearly this race was going to be aggressively officiated. How aggressively I would soon find out!

As I made my way towards Kawaihae I got on top of my nutrition and hydration. I don't really have a specific plan, I just try and have some gel every 30 minutes or so and I had 2 1/2 PR Bars to munch on and finish by mile 90 or so. I drink to thirst and keep both water and perform with me for variety. What was funny, and this also happened in 2010, was I felt like I had to pee along this stretch of the Queen K. Now, this is my 6th IM and I have never, not once, pee'd during the race. It's bizarre, I know, I am like a camel. I decided to wait and see how I felt later. I also seem to go through a low spot from an energy standpoint along here that I know will abate.

As I made the turn off the Queen K there is that fast descent before the climb towards Hawi behind in earnest. Here was the first time I really appreciated just how good a bike the P5 is. I was absolutely flying. I was rocketing by guys who outweighed me by 30 pounds who were still turning the cranks and I was freewheeling on by. Aerodynamics for the win. I knew that sometime soon the men's pro race would come by going the other direction and I was looking forward to seeing how that was shaking out. I also use the pro's as a good gauge as to what the winds are going to be like coming the other way. As they began to pass, they were moving pretty fast and didn't seem to be fighting a major head or cross wind.

Then the long part of the climb began to bite and the cross wind began in earnest. It seems there's consensus that this was a pretty windy year but it just didn't seem to be bad to me. As I was making the climb, keeping my HR in check and cadence up, I was passed by a line of about 6 or 7 guys. I let them all pass, I didn't try and respond or worse hop on the train and they slotted in ahead of me. The cross wind at this point was pretty fierce and as I was concentrating on keeping steady and upright, I became innate give to my spacing and was pretty close to the guy in front of me. The wind was so loud I didn't even hear the motor of the scooter until it was right along side of me. I looked over and smiled at a rather stern looking lady riding shotgun on the back. Suddenly I realized she was talking to me. "993! Stop at next Penalty Tent!" Whoa! I just got my first penalty! I was in a bit of shock at first and sort of pretended I couldn't hear her and rode closer to see if she said it Asian or maybe changed her mind. No such luck, I was done for. I simply nodded by head in acknowledgement and she sped off to continue her reign of justice!

A lot of thought sweeped through my head for the next 10-15 minutes as I made my way to the turn and my date with the sin bin. I was mostly disappointed in myself for allowing that to happen. I have always been proud that I ride clean and really make every effort to always do so. To be honest, in most races I do I am always moving up through and riding at the front of the race so drafting is never an issue for me. Except here. Here I am not at the top of e Ike food chain and need to be more vigilant and aware. I also began to dwell a bit on how this would effect my race in terms of timing and placing. 4 minutes seemed like a lot of time to loose at first but the more I thought about it and put it into perspective, the less problematic that seemed. Finally, I was just embarrassed to have to go to the tent. But what was done is done and I just needed to be patient.

I made the turn and just past Special Needs was the red tent of shame. Suddenly, in the when life gives you lemons make Lemmon aid kind of way, I decided a 4 minute stop was just what I needed to gather myself for the road back to town! I was smiling as I rolled in and said, "993 checking in! Now what?!" This nice volunteer handed me a stopwatch and the clock was running. I signed a form that I was there and then had all my race numbers marked with a red slash. Great, now I can carry my shame with me for all to see for the rest of the race! LOL! It wasn't too crowded and everyone was in surprisingly good cheer. I had some Gu and water, watched the field stream on by and went back and forth between thinking I need to ride all these guys back down and thinking just be patient...

And I was off! This is a blazing fast section of the course and the P5 was on FIRE! I was overtaking guys so fast I was actually a little concerned and had to try and yell on your left as loud as possible to avoid someone swerving into my path. This is usually where the course winds combined with the speed makes for white knuckle riding but again it just seemed fine to me. I was aero and I was hauling all the way back down to Kawaihae. Climbing that little bitch of a hill into the headwind back up to the Queen K sucked as always, made worse by the European train of riders that swallowed me up! I bailed to the far right and let them roll by wheel to wheel until a nice German dude offered to let me join in! No thanks, Dieter, I have had my fill of drafting today, you go ahead. :)

Back out on the K begins the last 30 odd miles and these are long and lonely. I was doing well with my fueling, the feeling that I had to pee had gone away so I decided I would make a call about that once I got into T2 depending how I felt. In 2010 along this stretch I really saw my HR come off but now it was holding up in the high 130's and I was moving up thought the field well and my body was responding to my call for more power! I actually past AG stud Tim Hola and fellow Zooter pro Kelly Williamson who struggled on the bike. As I got close to town I could see I would be just over the 5 hour mark and considering the 4 minute time out I was actually still on track for my planned splits. All I needed to do was run a 3:20 and I would be in sub 9:30. Suddenly maybe I needed to not be so patient?


Transition 2
  • 02m 38s
Comments:

As I hit the dismount line I was curious to see how my legs felt. They felt pretty ok considering and as I ran the long loop around the pier I was optomistic about the run. I was in and out pretty quickly and began my marathon.
Run
  • 3h 34m 40s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 11s  min/mile
Comments:

The plan was t take the first 2 miles and see how I felt and them try and run to pace of 7:30 or HR of a maximum of 152 along this initial stretch of 8 miles. Within the first mile my legs felt good and my turnover was nice and high. I hit Ali'i and passed the crowds at Lava Java and the whole Zoot contingency in front of Huggo's getting lots of cheers and support. Jamie was also here, the last time I had caught a glimpse of her was riding up Palani. Around mile 3 Kelly caught me and it was so great to be able to give her some love and support as she battled and ran her way back into the women's pro field race up where she should be. Although I felt pretty good I noticed my HR was already 152. I knew it was the heat and I had to decide if I pushed pace or bring down my HR. This early I figured the patient and prudent thing to do wold be to back off pace a bit.

My nutrition plan was simple. I had a gel flask which I would use before each aid station and wash it down with water. Problem was after the first station, it fell out of my pocket. I had that same flask since my first race here in 2007 and have used it at every half and full IM since. So now I had to improvise a bit. It was too early to hit the cola so for the next two stations approaching the turn around I went with Perform and water even though they had gels available. Just before the turn around mile 5 I let myself have the cola and it was GOOD. I tried to be patient but it was too seductive. Cola from now on it is!

Making the turn allowed me to see where I was relative to some of my friends, competitors, and team mates..who are often one in the same. My most immediate concern was Jim Attkinson, my Zoot team mate and fellow 40-44. He and I had a great battle at Vegas 70.3 Worlds. he nearly ran me down, finishing about a minute behind me and snagging the last podium position that day. I knew he could out run me so I needed as much lead off the bike as I could get. he seemed pretty far back but was running great.

I made my way to the mile 8 marker in just over an hour, so I was still close to goal pace but I knew how hard this race was about to get. I ran up Palani and made the turn onto the Queen K knowing I would see Jamie, coach Nick, Matt, and Joan up here. That made me happy as I passed by Jamie and laid a hand on her belly. I think this is the hardest part of the day, the run out to the Energy Lab. The road just stretches out in front of you and it seems endless. I knew I was slowing. I had to do everything I could to try and hold it together.

I had a good routine going at the aid stations: water/ice/cola/water. I had been trying to keep my shoes as dry as possible but and young and over zealous volunteer thought I looked too hot and doused me with water from a bottle. As I left that aid station my shoes were soaked. And then something remarkable happened. I looked up and standing directly in front of me at an intersection, her bike leaning against a traffic signal pole, was Chrissie Wellington. I thought it was a mirage at first. She looked me square in the eyes and lied to me. "You're looking great!" She yelled. I reached out and she took my hand and I said,"Thank you so much Chrissie." Amazing how you meet at mile 13 of the run sometimes.

At least I think it was around mile 13, I do recall passing the halfway point and at around the 1:42 mark on my watch split. So even by here I was running around a 7:50 average pace. That was encouraging although I appreciated it was damage control and would soon be mitigated by the down and out off the Lab which I could now begin to see. This would be the slowest part of the race for me. I felt really rough, I was getting passed by much better runners like I was standing still, and after making the turn and running for a few minutes I could see Jim coming the other way. He was getting close. I called out to him "I think you got my number today!" He shook his head and said,"I don't know." I couldn't conceive how I would be able to hold him off.

And then, as I crested the hill of the Rnergy Lab and made the turn for home, with all of 6 miles or so to go, I began to feel....well not better but let's call it less worse. My cadence began to pick up some, my run form kind of came back, and I realized I had stopped he hemorrhaging time. I was holding some semblance of pace and I began my tradition of just touching my hand to every mile marker I passed starting with 21. 22...touch. 23...touch. 5K to go, I was desperate to see Mark and Dave hill and the turn for Palani. I looked at my watch to see 9:30 tick away. My new goal would be to get there before 9:50. As I ran up towards Palani, Nick was there and ran with me for a few hundred yards. OT was great to be able to share a little of the race with my coach. I told him "Goddamn this race is hard!" We had a good laugh.

Running down Palani I let my legs go as best I could and began to think about Jim again. I was so sure he would catch me but as I got closer I was hoping if he did I could stay with him and we could finish together. I never looked back, I just kept going knowing the Hualalai was coming and another downhill to Ali'i. Still no Jim and when I made the turn onto that magical street, a corridor of thousands of people cheering and yelling you just can't help but run like you are floating on air. As I entered the chute there was Jamie. I thought to myself to remember this moment so I could share it one day with my son. I realized then how proud I was to be there, how happy I was with my race, and how important it would be for me as I become a father for the first time to understand and appreciate that it's usually good advice to sometimes just be patient.

And I crossed the line.

Post race
Warm down:

Looking back now after a few days and analyzing the results, a few things jump out at me. I finished 26th in M40-44, which is my highest AG finishe here having been 28th in M35-39 in 2007. I was also the 4th American in the AG. I had never looked at that before but I was amazed at how many Europeans dominated the top sypots in my category. They all had remarkable run splits of sub 3:15. Had I been in the 45-49 AG, which I will be next season, I would have been around 10th. I'm not sure if I can run 3:20 here and that's what it would take for me to have any reasonable chance to make the top 5 some day down the road. Regardless, I love this race and know we will be back so my boy can see his old man toe the line. :)

  • .and I never did pee. :)





  • Last updated: 2012-05-14 12:00 AM
    Swimming
    01:04:59 | 4224 yards | 01m 32s / 100yards
    Age Group: 77/250
    Overall: 556/1800
    Performance: Average
    Suit: Zoot Speed Suit 2.0
    Course:
    Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
    Water temp: 78F / 26C Current: Low
    200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
    Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
    Waves: Average Navigation: Good
    Rounding: Good
    T1
    Time: 02:54
    Performance: Good
    Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    No
    Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
    Jump on bike: No
    Getting up to speed: Good
    Biking
    05:03:43 | 112 miles | 22.13 mile/hr
    Age Group: 11/250
    Overall: 0/1800
    Performance: Good
    Wind: Some with gusts
    Course:
    Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 88
    Turns: Good Cornering: Good
    Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
    Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
    T2
    Time: 02:38
    Overall: Good
    Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
    Jumping off bike Good
    Running with bike Good
    Racking bike Good
    Shoe and helmet removal Good
    Running
    03:34:40 | 26.2 miles | 08m 11s  min/mile
    Age Group: 51/250
    Overall: 0/1800
    Performance: Good
    Course:
    Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Overall: Good
    Mental exertion [1-5] 5
    Physical exertion [1-5] 4
    Good race? Yes
    Evaluation
    Course challenge Just right
    Organized? Yes
    Events on-time? Yes
    Lots of volunteers? Yes
    Plenty of drinks? Yes
    Post race activities: Good
    Race evaluation [1-5] 5

    {postbutton}
    2012-10-16 4:16 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Elite
    6623
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    PEI, Canada
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Congrats Bryan, great race and report!


    2012-10-16 4:41 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Royal(PITA)
    13941
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    over the rainbow
    Silver member
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Congratulations on a well executed race.  Smoking hot on that bike!
    2012-10-16 4:53 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Expert
    1189
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    Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa.
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

    Congratulations Bryan.  Your RR was incredible.  How you manage to hold back and know when things are tough, adjust on the fly and continue to stay positive is amazing.

    I appreciate the report and I'm looking forward to watching you cross the line!

     

    2012-10-16 6:43 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Veteran
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    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Congratulations on a great race.  I enjoyed reading about it. 
    2012-10-16 7:40 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Elite
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    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    It is an honour to share your cyberspace - awesome report!
    2012-10-16 7:48 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Elite
    3416
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    Ontario
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Great race report Bryan.  Amazing race.


    2012-10-16 7:56 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Champion
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    Plantation
    Gold member
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Well done Bryan.  You had a lot of heart and soul in this race report, as tho you have had some sort of epihpany and I don't mean to sound demeaning but you sound like one of the rest of us, just another racer having the time of his life at a race and enjoying every momment.   Congratulations of a job well done and the impending addition to your family
    2012-10-16 9:51 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Extreme Veteran
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    Ajo
    Gold member
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Always a treasure, great race, congrats on the boy, your lives will change for the better.
    2012-10-16 10:38 PM
    in reply to: #4456286

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    Master
    3367
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    Overland Park, KS
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Congratulations on a spendid race.  Loved the Back to the Future reference and how cool was the encounter with Chrissie!  I watched most of that swim on line, that did look tough!
    2012-10-17 7:13 AM
    in reply to: #4456925

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    Master
    2413
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    ...at home in The ATL
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Congratulations on a great race Bryan. As always, thanks for sharing the details of your day. It really is good to know that the thoughts you have and the issues you deal with as your race unfolds are similar to so many no matter if you find yourself at the pointy end of the field or BOP. I think that is what makes your race reports so valuable to the rest of us age groupers. I always go back and read yours again prior to my goal races - this one will definitely be added to the list! A sincere thanks for sharing your day.
    2012-10-17 8:51 AM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Regular
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    2525
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Love reading your race reports! Inspiring...


    2012-10-17 12:25 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

    Master
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    Northern IL
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Great job Bryan!
    2012-10-17 2:38 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Expert
    3037
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    Scottsdale, AZ
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    The one RR I was waiting to read.  Thanks, Bryan.  As I said before, awesome stuff!
    2012-10-17 2:42 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Veteran
    106
    100
    Gloucestershire, England
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

    Bryan - thanks for the insight your race reports and logs provide into what it takes to be a world class age grouper at this bonkers sport.  Good luck with being a Dad : it's better than triathlon and sometimes is less painful ...!

    Adrian

    2012-10-17 11:17 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Champion
    10214
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    Austin, Texas
    Bronze member
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Congrats on a fantastic race and thank you for continuing to be an inspiration! 
    2012-10-18 7:23 AM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

    Congrats Bryan!  Redemption was yours - that sure took patience.

    Oh, and send me a PM when you get a chance.  I happen to have a DeLorean with a flux capacitor I'm thinking of selling, ...for the right price.



    2012-10-18 10:34 AM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Master
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    Bedford, MA
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Awesome write up, and well executed race! So, was it really Chrissy, or simply a mirage?? In the grand scheme of things that 4 minute penalty isn't a huge amount of time for an IM, and that gave you some time to collect your thoughts and get ready for the rest of the race. Looking forward to hopefully meeting you at a race one of these days!
    2012-10-18 12:33 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Expert
    1103
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    Menomonee Falls, WI
    Gold member
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Super job Bryan!  Always impressive.
    2012-10-18 12:42 PM
    in reply to: #4459270

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    Sensei
    Sin City
    Silver member
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Gawd that's fast.  Nice work.
    2012-10-18 4:12 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Master
    2424
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    Kailua, Hawaii
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

    Bryan, excellent race!

    thanks for the detailed race report.

    2012-10-18 4:53 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Extreme Veteran
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    Spokane, WA
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

    Great, great race! Loved reading the report. Fuels the fire for some of us who would love to be in Kona someday! Congratulations!



    2012-10-18 5:02 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Champion
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    Abilene, Texas
    Bronze member
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

    Great report!  I also heard it was a very hot and windy year but honestly...if that's really windy then all the pros should be moving to Abilene! :D

    I'm glad I got to see you out there and give you a shout! :D

    2012-10-18 9:47 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Expert
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    Bellows Falls, Vermont
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Congratulations! I enjoyed reading your race report.
    2012-10-19 8:12 AM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Champion
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    Happy Valley
    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

    Great job Bryan. You are a rockstar.

    One day we will do Kona together

    2012-10-19 1:31 PM
    in reply to: #4455843

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    Extreme Veteran
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    Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
    Great job on the race and the race report!  Maybe someday I will get fired up again about trying to qualify for Kona.  Till then, I'll just enjoy reading about it and watching the coverage.
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