I was very happy to get in the water. I used the advice of female pro Samantha Warriner and got a little warmup run in before I headed down to the beach. I ran with my wetsuit on in order to heat up the core and keep my body in a ready to go state before my wave went off.
I felt good in the water the whole way and the exertion level was on par if not more than Timberman last month. However, my time suffered by about a minute, possibly due to poor sighting as it was extremely sunny out and the point where you made the 90 degree turn at the out section looked directly into the low hanging sun. None the less I was out of the water in just under 32 minutes which turned out to be 7th place in my AG. Even with the slower swim this is about where I am at with my current swim ability so apparently it was par for the course. The swim as always is something I really need to work on as the lead swimmer in my AG was at 28 minutes and that’s where I need to head towards.
Once out of the water I had my wetsuit stripped and I made the quarter of a mile (at least) run into transition. I was set up near the swim in entrance so I had yet another quarter of a mile (about) to wheel my bike to the mount spot. While wheeling my bike towards the mount section my glasses were so foggy that I almost took myself out by running directly into a garbage can, if you look at the below picture you can see a large gentlemen just passing it to my left. It would have been a mess!! Luckily I avoided it, managed to get to the mounting section, and was off and away with no real issues.
The air was cold and their seemed to be some wind at the beginning of the bike ride, but the fact that the course started with a 10 mile climb made it feel a lot warmer. I had arm warmers ready to go but never put them on. The only extra piece of equipment I used were toe booties over my bike shoes. Even with those my feet still felt like rocks until about mile 5 of the run. Over the first 10 miles I kept my power output around a certain number as to prevent blowing myself up early on in the bike. After the course began to level off I set about keeping myself in check and getting my nutrition in. First was the solid powerbar and then the switch was made to powergels as the bike segment wore on. I probably drank the equivalent of 3-4 bottles of fluid and took one pee on the bike. Over the past few races I have had pretty good success with aiming my stream so it didn’t go ALL OVER my bike, however yesterday it didn’t go so well. Luckily I had a bottle of water with me so a quick cleanup was done on the fly and I was soon back in aero. Along the bike ride I had two other dudes who were around me the whole time. For the majority they took the lead and were between 50-200 yards ahead. Over the last two miles I ended up coming up to them and eventually overtook them before we came into T2. I never went beyond myself to catch them, when I did meet back up with them it was because I biked steady the entire way. I really don’t have much else to share about the bike. I rode essentially with two numbers in my head. One was a flat land roller power output and one was a max power output on the hills. Other than that I just rode and let the cards fall where they may. I ended up coming in at over 2:30 which was below my expectations but it was still a solid ride for me. No mistakes were made in transition, so off to the run I went.
At the beginning of the run I started out with one of the two other cyclists that were around me for the better part of the last 40 miles. He and another guy that came from behind took it out strong and ended up distancing themselves from me by about 200-300 yards. I kept them in my sight but covered the first 6 miles (first of the two loops) in a steady pace with my heart rate low. My pace was where it needed to be and there was no reason to start pushing yet with half the race to go. Other than those two cats I had one other carrot to chase after and that was none other than my best bud Mike Corona who started 5 minutes before me. Right for the start the mission was for him to try and beat me to the finish line and for me to try and catch him before he made it. Well over the first loop I did not see Mike at all. I thought I had him in my sights at one point but it turned out to be another dude in a white top and black shorts. As I started the second loop I made my way up the first steep hill at a steady pace and then began to slowly drop whateve hammer I was going to swing that day. Luckily, my preparation allowed me to press on and get through the sticky miles 7-10 at a faster clip than miles 2-5. It has historically been these miles that my pace suffers, however I stayed focused and kept moving along. Everytime I had a downhill section to cover I took it on with full force and used my own momentum to really lay into the run. Running downhill is definitely an aquired trait and essentially means having the ability to run at a very high cadence while letting your body go free. At least thats how I do it, and its been working well. I really used the downhills to my advantage and ended up coming around a corner at mile 10 to see Corona about 300 yards ahead of me. I stayed steady and kept inching my way towards him.
With Mike in front of me I kept moving along. At this time I saw Dan Jarecke of NiceTri coaching on his bike as he was cheering on an athlete of his, Bill Robertson. Unknown to me, Bill was in my AG and was ahead of me. However, Bill was struggling a little on the last part of the run. I came up on him and told him to stay on my butt for as long as he could. Unfortunetly I think the hills took its toll on his legs. He ended up finishing a little behind me but still had a very fast day on the course posting an AG best 28 minute swim and I believe the second fastest bike split to back it up. It was nice to meet Bill after the race and I look forward to following his career. I believe he’s 28, so he will be crushing dreams for quite a while..
So on the run went and I must say it really could not have ended better. With impecable timing I caught up with Mike just as we passed my Dad who happened to be posted up at the timing mats where the second loop began and where it also ended as the finishers were ushered straight on ahead for the last 1.5 miles. This picture below says it all. Two focused athletes at the tail end of a tough race. Shortly after my dad clipped this picture I told Mike that he better not lose sight of my back. For the next ~half mile I could hear Mike clipping at my heels.
I ended up pulling away at the end by just a little bit but I hope that I provided some encouragement for Mike to finish just a little faster and to dig a little deeper. Sometimes certain people can bring the best out in each other and no doubt Mike and I always make each other work for it. It really could’t have ended any better.
And remember those two dudes I talked about earlier who passed me at the beginning of the run. Well I ran down one of them with about 3 miles left and over the last mile I closed on the skinny dude who began the run at a blistering pace. By no means did he slow down by a tremendous amount by I believe my the steady pace that I was able to obtain with an evenly split two loops allowed me to catch him him before the race ended. I of course must thank this mystery 41 year old for giving me that extra little boost with a mile to go. It always helps to have something sharpen your focus that extra amount near the end of a race.
Final Results can be searched for here: http://ironmansyracuse.com/results/?rid=1143239856&y=2011
Bike : 2:32
Total Time: 4:34
3rd in 25-29 Age Group