IRONMAN 70.3 Wisconsin Race Report – June 10th, 2018
Over the past year, I’ve had the chance to race all over the country. The travel has been amazing and feel blessed to be able to race in some of the most beautiful places. Although, there is just something special about doing big races in your home state. These are the races that you circle on your calendar and expect to perform well. I’ve had a year full of ups and downs, but rolling into IRONMAN 70.3 Wisconsin, I was feeling better mentally and physically than I have been in months. This was a work trip and I was ready to get down to business!
This was my third year racing the 70.3 Wisconsin course (first year was the Milkman) and was fully expecting yet another year of 90 degree heat. It was much to my pleasure that a storm rolled in and brought some serious rainfall and temps in the 60’s. I definitely wouldn’t be worrying about overheating during this race!
About an hour before the swim, it started raining hard! It was quite the sight to see having over three thousand people frantically searching for far too few tents and umbrellas to hide under. In weather like this, it’s not the racer’s that have the toughest job, it’s the spectators. I couldn’t help but feel bad for all the people wearing soaking wet jeans, all we had to do was throw our wetsuits on and enjoy the rain…
The IRONMAN officials pushed the start of the race back 30 minutes to 7:30 AM in hopes for the rainfall to settle. I said a couple of prayers that the rain would lighten up to give us some safer race conditions… Sure enough, right before the gun when off, the rain settled to a constant sprinkle.
This race was a rolling start and I lined myself up about fortieth in the water, about a minute or so off of the canon. This course makes a triangle shape, with the two longest legs on the out and back. Heading out, we had some pretty big chop and I swam pretty hard on that first stretch. Likely a little too hard as I was overheating a bit in my full sleeved suit. It was pretty much a solo effort and uneventful the rest of the way. Exiting the water, I saw my buddy Peter Christensen next to me, I was expecting to see him at some point… We would be seeing more of each other throughout the day!
Overall, the swim was a good three minutes slow because of the weather conditions. Although it certainly wasn’t the time I was shooting for, the overall placement isn’t too far off from where I would expect to be. Still working on this swim thing!
Results: 0:32:08 (OA – 68/2336, M30-34 – 11/196)
I made my way up through transition and made it right to my bike on my first attempt! I’ve been known to lose my bike in the sea of bikes in transition. But not today! My helmet was upside down and collected well over an inch of rain water which I proceeded to dump over my head. Today was going to be a soaking wet kind of day…
The first 10 miles on the bike were very sketchy to say the least. I had to deal with riding on a sidewalk with quite a few 90 degree corners, parts completely flooded over with 2+ inches of water, and a fogging up helmet visor to top it off! I took a corner a little too fast early on and realized my brakes don’t work too well in the rain… Time to test my off-roading ability! Luckily I was able to keep it upright and pulled it back onto the sidewalk. The first 30 minutes were anything but efficient, but was soon on some open roads and put my head down and hammered.
Right from the get go, my legs were feeling strong and knew it was going to be a bike power PR day. For the next twenty miles I road pretty hard and consistent, keeping my NP around 270-275 watts, passing more and more people and making my way up to the top 10 range.
Between miles 30-40, I made my first major mistake of the race. I was passed by Pete and another biker on one of the hills and I was feeling way too good to just let them pass me! So I over-biked… I pushed a NP of 291 watts for those 10 miles, a little too high given my current fitness level. But I managed to survive and dialed back into my race target power facing a fairly stiff headwind and technical course/corners heading back into town.
Heading into transition, I was feeling pretty good and was mentally in the game to put down what I hope would be a PR run. My body coming off the bike had other things in mind…
Results: 2:25:36 (OA – 7/2336, M30-34 – 2/196)
After mounting my bike, I took my clean and dry running shoes out of an open Ziploc bag, threw them on and was on my way. I couldn’t help but laugh about the effort I made to keep my shoes dry and then proceed to run through a literal mud pit to start the run! Tough Mudder meets IRONMAN…
I immediately passed someone coming out of transition and was in 4th place at this point. But I had a good six or so people behind me by 30 seconds to a minute, including the speedy Pete. Immediately starting the run, my back was locked up and both hamstrings were already starting to cramp up. I was starting to feel the wrath of poor bike pacing and soon enough 4-5 guys made the pass on me.
I worked so hard to stay mentally focused heading into this race after a less than stellar race in St. George. It didn’t take long before the negative thoughts rolled in after being passed by a few guys that made me feel like I was standing still. It did ease the burn after the race knowing one of the guys was the eventual overall winner and ran a 1:14 on a fairly tough course! Regardless, one of the biggest pieces of endurance sports is mental willpower and toughness. This race proved I still have some work to do in this area, especially on the first part of the run.
I just hammered base salt the first 8 miles of the run which prevented my hamstrings from cramping up and my tight lower back eventually subsided. This was pretty much exactly how my body and legs loosened up in St. George. In the back third, I was finally able to start picking up the pace and feeling good.
Results: 01:26:59 (OA – 21/2336, M25-29 – 5/196)
I finished the day in 9th overall and 3rd in M30-34 Age Group. There was certainly some areas were I did well and some areas that I still need to work on. I came away with a bike power PR which was awesome, but not quite sure my position off the bike reflected that. I’m working on making some significant bike positioning changes, which I am optimistic will improve my aerodynamics on the bike. Aerodynamics is EVERYTHING!
I had a solid day in the transition area. The more you race throughout the year, the smoother you get in transition. This can give you some free time. I didn’t even lose my bike this year which is a major win! As with every race lately, my nutrition was on point. It was 6 huma gel plus’s and gatorade endurance on the bike, then another two huma gel plus’s on the run. Plenty of calories to get me across the finish line!
Yet, for the second race in a row, my body was not having it for the first half of the run. Luckily, I have another race (or two) before my “A” race at IRONMAN Wisconsin that I can try and figure this whole run thing out. My three big focus areas to work hard on are improving my aerodyanmics/bike fitting, increasing run volume, and reducing bike intensity a bit on race day. Fingers crossed this will yield results at IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie in a few weeks!
Overall Results: OA – 9rd out of 2336, AG – 3rd out of 196, 4:28:53
Big shout out to all of my family and friends that came and watched me race last Sunday! Thanks to my awesome coaches, Blake Becker and Laura Becherer, that keep me on track and ready to race! Last, but not least, thanks to my great team of sponsors that put keep me dialed in and feeling good on the fastest equipment around!
Next up, IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie on July 14th!