Ironman 70.3 World Championships Part 2


Race Day!

One thing nice about this race was the later start.  The Pro's went off at 10:30 and my 50-54 age group wave went off at 11:31.  So, no early  wake up and restless night of sleep which led to a very relaxed morning before driving down to the train station and the short trip to the Transition area.  On race days, what works best for me is liquid calories only  for breakfast and the same during the race.  Start your day with what what works for you.

Arriving at transition, things were very calm and I made my way to my bike to pump up my tires.  Athletes in general seemed to be sharing my same calmness as we made final preparations.  When I was giving my cranks a spin to check brakes and calibrate power meter one of the guys capturing video clips for Ironman shot a few seconds of video.  Did not think much of it as they capture all kinds of moments during the day.  Fast forward to the awards dinner and my 3 second clip made the video for the night.  Cool!  After giving the bike the final check, loading bottles, securing shoes to pedals and walking through transition one more time to know my entrance/exits, I headed over to find some water and shade on the grass to relax.

About 45 minutes before my wave, I got up and gave the legs and easy 5-6 min jog on the grass mixing in a few drills to loosen up.  Off to bag drop and now all that remained was wet suit cap and goggles.  We had plenty of room to warm up in the lake next to the swim start and I took full advantage of this. 15 minutes in the water mixing strokes and doing some buildups as one by one the waves went off.  I cued up with my group about 5 minutes before they put us in the water to wait for start.  Made my way to the front right and made peace with those around me as we waited for the cannon to go off.




BOOM.. and away we go.  I was fortunate to find clean water pretty quickly after going through a couple swimmers who should not have started near the front.  Plus starting front right I was opposite the buoy line and had a clean shot to the first turn buoy 900M out.  I would have to say it was the easiest feeling swim I have had in a while at a 1/2 IM.  Maybe more air than back home, maybe the tapered feeling, but those 29 minutes just flew on by and that was that.  Quick exit, peeling wet suit down to my waist after grabbing T1 bag and into changing tent.  Helmet on, swim items stuffed into bag and out we go.  Grabbed a quick sip of water to rinse the mouth out, (old habits from Hawaii and getting the salty taste out) and off and running to the bike.  Sharon was counting gold caps coming out of the water and had me right around 30th in age so very pleased with that.  Tons of cheering people as we exited T1 to mount are bikes.  Some guy almost took me out from the start coming by me on the right side leaving T1 as I was getting into my shoes.



What a spectacular course we had to ride.  The first 5-6K featured several turns, a small, narrow bridge to cross so this actually was a good thing in my opinion as it helped keep all the excitement in check and just settle into my pace once the roads opened up.  This section gently rolled along down the valley and was more down than up so speed was good. and the first 30 minutes went fast at just under 26mph.  Monitoring my power I knew the 8 mile climb was up next and needed to get on track with the liquid nutrition (INFINIT).  The climb I feel I nailed it!  Starting conservatively to settle in climbing rhythm paid off.  After the initial kick it settled back down into the 3-5% range so I was able to keep effort steady and started passing people.  Training with power is so helpful, particularly when climbing and I just kept motoring along past people that had started too fast.  The climb continued through a ski station another 3/4 of a mile, then a slight left turn onto the final mile which was between 10-14%.  Now here is where the pacing really paid off as I felt strong this last bit.  Don't get me wrong, I was working, power avg for those 9 minutes was 10 Watts above FTP, but that %grade, no way to avoid that.  Cresting the climb I felt really good and grabbed a big drink as there was no way I was letting go of the handlebars those last 9 minutes.  The fans were great on this section of the ride, kind of like a little Tour de France feeling.  After a quick stretch break for the lower back and another couple gulps of fluid it was time to pay attention.  The initial descent was steep 15% and  had some hairpin turns included.  A few guys flew past me and that was just fine with me.  They even padded a couple of corners in case riders came in to hot as going over the guard rail would have had some serious consequences. image

Once down the initial descent, we flew past a couple more ski stations and back into the valley above Zell am See, then back through Zell am See to more cheering fans, a quick wave to Sharon and on to the last 40 minutes of the course.


More rolling, more hydration and continued monitoring of power output.  For the power people Total ride: IF .82 and VI 1.09  very pleased given the profile and sustained climb/descent. Climb numbers 40 minutes avg power 223 IF .96, VI 1.01



Coming out of T2 I had my legs right away, which told me I paced the bike properly.  The first mile went right along the lake before turning into the "Altstadt" old town part of Zell am See for the first of our 2 loops. Old cobbled roads, 1000's of cheering spectators along this section before heading back to the lake for the out and back run.  A gradual up/down/up at the turn around and already headed back on lap 1.  After the first 2 miles I had settled into 7:30-7:40 miles and they just kept ticking over, but I knew the effort would go up on the second lap to hold the same pace and it did.  Ice in the cap at aid stations and started hitting the Coke towards the end of the first lap alternating that with water on lap #2. Pacing once again paid off as lots of runners were coming back to me on the way back out.  I knew once we reached the turn that is was a good 5K to the finish and now was the time to dig in and just leave it all out there.  I continued to pass people on the return and heading into the last 400 meters or so the crowd was just fantastic. Crossing finishing line was a mixture of happiness and sadness oddly enough. Happiness in executing my race plan and knowing I left it all on the race course.  Sadness that I had to stop.  That may sound odd, but I was honestly having a great time racing to my limit and reflecting back a bit more, probably the most relaxed and present I have ever been on a race day.

Race finish link:

Final thoughts - 2015 marks 30 years in the sport of triathlon, but when I think about it I have been doing this my whole life.  As a kid, I was fortunate to grow up with swimming pools around and I was always playing in the water.  No swim teams, just sharks and minnows, marco polo and match stick a cool game my sister and friends came up with.  I was always riding around on my bike. To school, to a friends house and to town to catch the bus to the movie theater.  Running as a kid you just ran places and when you got tired you walked.  Playing tag or ghosts in the graveyard sure kept us fit not to mention those cool wooden outdoor playgrounds that we played all sorts of games on.  As I age in the sport, I continue to learn and one thing I learned early on is having fun at the sports I do is essential. 

Never forget how to play like a kid in sport and in life. I hope to be at this another 30 years and blogging about my first race as an 80 year old.  Keep living your dream!


Ironman 70.3 World Champs Part 1


What an amazing 2 weeks in Europe!  Triathlon and sport in general has given me the opportunity to see some amazing places and Zell am See, Austria did not disappoint.  


Departure, August 24th

Arrived at airport with plenty of time to spare.  Note: Very good idea when traveling with bike as things can take longer than expected.  Well, the bike actually got us into the over sized check in area at DIA so we breezed right through.  TSA security moved pretty well given all the Monday end of summer travelers and we were on our way (late departure) to Dulles for our connecting flight to Munich.  Arriving at Dulles, we had to hustle through the terminal for connecting flight and they were already boarding the plane when we got to the gate.  I had a little surprise for Sharon in store as we went right to the priority boarding area, bypassing the lines and onto the plane to our first class seats.  I was stoked that I was able to pull this off and she was indeed surprised. Note: if you are going to splurge on a leg of the trip, do it on the overnight part/longer leg.  It really helps to have a little more leg room and I believe helped with the jet lag.  


Arrival and Race week Aug 25th - Aug 30th

We landed in Munich shortly before 8am and the bags came off the plane pretty fast.  There were several others in the terminal heading to Zell am See as evident by all the bike boxes in oversize luggage.  Rolling through the airport to Hertz rental car for our diesel 6 speed Peugeot Wagon that we would call home for the next 11 days.  When traveling with bike box always good to have a wagon as it makes loading much easier.  We hit the road for the drive to Zell am See and my co-pilot did a great job getting us on the Autobahn.  About 90 minutes into our travels we pulled into a village near Kitzbuel for a quick bite to eat before finishing the drive.  The weather today was rainy for the most part, but this would be our only day of this as the rest of our time in Zell we were treated to sunny, warm days.  We picked the keys up to our apartment a little after 3pm in Zell and then a short 15 minute drive to Kaprun to get settled.  We had a great little flat that opened up to a small patio overlooking the Austrian Alps which quickly got us into vacation mode.  I started working on getting the bike assembled for a ride the following day and after a quick visit to the local "Billa" market for supplies and lite dinner it was time for bed.


The plan for Wednesday was to ride about 2/3's of the bike course at Noon with other athletes to see the climb and descent that awaited.  Well, I woke up after 9 good hours of sleep around 6:30 am and should have gotten up, but decided to doze a bit.  Next thing I know it is 11:30!!!  No panic, plan B.  Sharon would drive me ahead of the ride and drop me off then meet me at IM Village after the ride.  Quick change, bike loaded and off we went to catch the group. Timing was great as we caught them just before the big climb.  Course recon is essential and seeing the climb and descent helped me dial in my power for the climb and see the caution I needed to use on the initial descent.  Rolling back through the valley to Zell am See, my legs felt good and the jet lag was leaving the body more.  


I met Sharon at IM Village while getting some final adjustments made to my bike.  She had a little mishap while looking for parking and ended up with flat front tire.  One of the security guards at the village was kind enough to assist me in changing it.  After some discussion, we realized we would need to get a new full size tire installed given all the miles left to drive to Italy.  We found a tire shop that ordered us a tire and got it installed the following day.  


Thursday was our day at the famous Kaprun Spa and it did not disappoint.  After short morning swim and run we headed off the the spa for a full day of relaxation and food.  Starting with brunch, some warm pools to relax in, then Sharon headed off for her massage and I took a little nap before mine.  Then more relaxing on comfy lounge chairs, more food, drinking lots of water and just like that 10 hours passed as we were winding down on the panoramic pool on the upper level looking over the valley at sunset.


Friday and Saturday -

Both days were very peaceful.  Morning workouts to keep the body sharp and catching up on some work details before going offline a couple days.  Friday afternoon we took care of race registration before the welcome banquet that evening.  Saturday we took the tram up to the top of Kitzsteinhorn for a cappuccino and apple strudel and took in the views of the Austrian Alps from 3000m.

View from top of Kitzsteinhorn looking back at Lake Zell

View from top of Kitzsteinhorn looking back at Lake Zell

 All that remained for the to do list was bike check in and that went very quick.  A lite meal back at the apartment and some reading before lights out at 10pm