2014 Ironman Chattanooga

The Prep:

After a solid training camp up in New Hampshire with our fellow QT2 PROs, Kait and I made the quick packing changed and set out on our road trip to Chattanooga. We wrapped up our last week of training before the race  in my hometown on Keuka Lake and were once again back on the road headed South. Chattanooga welcomed us with great weather and amazing home stay that sat atop Signal Mountain. This was my first experience with a home stay and I must say that it will be hard to top! Getting into town on Tuesday we were able to grab a burger with Mac from QR, ride the bike course and spend some time at the expo where we even had our own Autograph session. The lead in to the race was smooth and went by very quick. In no time it was race morning.

The Race:

Literally hanging on by a thread (a rope tied between a party boat and the dock), the race began. A downstream swim yielded very fast times for all. Those top swimmers were still rewarded with a time gap of about 2-3 minutes on the chase pack, but overall setup for a very competitive men’s pro field. Coming out in around 43 minutes I was in the chase pack of about 5 looking to try and make up any time we could on the 20 large leaders train. I made a decision about 20 miles in, to ride my own race and let the others ahead of me inflict their own damage on themselves. It’s a call I made based on my current fitness and what I feel like is smart on the day. This ultimately came down to looking at who was in that pack and how it might impact me personally. In the end it seemed to work out for me as I ended up picking them off both near the end of the bike and the run. It’s a gamble that sometimes pays off and sometimes leaves you left in the dust.

Riding a steady race, mostly solo on the 116 mile course (extended due to permit limitations in Georgia) I rode a 4:46 getting me off the bike in 18th place.

The Bike Split aboard my Quintana Roo PR6

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Never feeling like I was overreaching, I came off the bike feeling ready to run. Over the first 7 miles I felt really good picking up a few people here and there. The hills on the north shore of the river were nasty and made for a run course with more elevation changes than I’d ever seen for an Ironman. The first time through things rolled along smoothly. However, over the final 13 miles those hills began to take a bite out of my legs and the pace slowed a bit. The fade was there for sure but unlike my previous 8 Ironman marathon’s, I held it together and did a good job of damage control. I got passed and passed a couple more over the final 10 miles and finally made it to the finish line in a time of 8:42 with a marathon split of 3:07.

The Run Split with my Brooks Pure Connect’s

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Overall, this race was a great stepping stone and ends the season showing improvement. The swim and bike are coming along steadily and I finally began to scratch the surface of my running potential. I now head into a nice off-seaon break feeling content about how my first Professional season wound up. I learned a lot about racing in the Pro wave and improved a great deal in 2014. Now the only thing to do is get faster for next year so I can truly COMPETE against the best in the world.

And now onto Sugar Heaven for a couple weeks :)…literally. (Funny side note it that I went into this place on Thursday while I was walking downtown and I wanted to get some M & M’s. I filled a bag, about 3/4 of a pound with all cool colors thinking that buying in bulk would be a nice way to get some sweet treats. As it turned out this place charged me up the wazoo! It was $18 bucks for a bag the size of my first. I couldn’t leave it at the counter because I had already mixed all the colors together, so I handed over a $20 and fumed for about 15 minutes until I cooled down and ate those damn M & M’s. Lesson learned!)

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2013 Texas 70.3 Race Report

This was my third time racing the Texas 70.3, the other two being in 2010 and 2012. It is a special race for me since it was the first Ironman 70.3 I raced and always provides me with a good measuring stick as to my overall improvement as a triathlete. In 2010 my finishing time was 4:45 and in 2013 I am pleased to say I stopped the clock at 4:09… Well it was more like 5:49, but that was because my swim start was 90 minutes after the first wave of male pros went off. Here is the time splits from Ironman.com –> Race Splits

Race week started for me on Wednesday as I headed to Texas and met up with my QT2 Systems partners in crime.  We found our house (in the posh section of Galveston) and settled in.

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Thursday and Friday consisted of getting some final workouts in and race registration. Being able to stay in a house with a bunch of my friends and fellow athletes does wonders for me as I feel comfortable and at home. Plenty of opportunities to laugh and keep things light. Also we stayed in a location that had some good restaurants and activities around so it was a good way to unwind before Sunday’s race. I was even able to take a stroll on the “pleasure pier” for an evening Ferris Wheel ride.  I also sank my first shot in one of those impossible carny styled basketball games; so that was pretty cool. A prize was won –>

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As for the race things went well.  The more I race and the more experience I get the less detailed my race plan is. I know that I have to swim as hard as I can, bike very strong – monitoring mostly by HR and perceived exertion, followed by a solid run. The more I race the more it becomes by feel, especially at the 70.3 distance where the level of competition really requires as my buddy Pat Wheeler says “full gas all day”.

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The Swim begins with a quick jump in the water and some treading before each wave gets the go-ahead.

The swim was pretty uneventful as usual. I started out strong and for the first time, due to my improvement in swimming over the winter I was not being overwhelmed by those behind me. I was able to get a good position in front and began to work. At the first turn buoy you make a left and essentially swim straight for a little less than a mile. It was here that for the first time I was able to utilize swimmers ahead of me as a slingshot as I drafted off them and eventually went by them as I gapped up to the next group. I did this for the remainder of the swim and exited with a 29 minute swim, a best effort for me. Transition was super long and felt like a full on sprint.

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On the homestretch back to Transition. The bike course if a flat out and back and the crosswind yielded a consistent effort each way.

Once I got on the bike I immediately felt a huge cramp along my right calf towards the top. This freaked me out as I’ve never had this happen before, I knew that if the pain was real that I wouldn’t be able to finish the bike. But first I had to figure out if it was just a cramp or if I had hurt myself from the long transition run. After some fancy stretching over the first 5-10 miles the pain subsided and I was able to keep things rolling steady. The first half of the bike we had an ever so slight tail wind which gave me a 65 minute split over the first 28 miles. The course is a pure out and back and since the wind was a crosswind the way back was pretty much the same as the way out, just a slightly slower. I was able to bring my power back up over the final 15-20 miles and came off the bike with a 2:13, covering the final 28 miles 1 minute slower than on the way out. Funny story here is that as I jumped off my bike in transition my bike shoe which was hanging out to my pedal (I do a flying dismount) went flying off. I considered picking it up for a nano second but decided the 15 seconds it would take to go back and get it were just not worth it. So with the crowd yelling “you lost your shoe” I simply responded with “it’s cool, I don’t need it any more”…it was time to run.

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The bike racked and ready. Thanks to Towpath Bike in Rochester, NY for coming through with the new Super 9 Carbon Clincher just in the nick of time. Rode smooth and fast!

After losing close to a minute because I once again struggled to find my transition spot among the sea of similar looking racks I began the run. The first 3 miles felt like one of the transition runs after a 7 hour bike ride. I felt. Little blocked and couldn’t get the legs moving as fast as I wanted them. With my HR strap rendered useless (on the bike too) I ran by feel and over the final 2 loops I began to open up a bit and feel good. This good feeling was not only because of my legs speeding up but because of the tremendous on course support from the crowd. The 3 loop course is great for crowd support and horrible on your feet with all the turns. However, the fact that my friends/teammates were both racing and spectating at this point really gave me some great motivation. Seeing my teammates go by at different segments was great and having Tim Snow and his posse at a strategic point really made me want to run as fast as I could around the loop so I could get back to where they were. I knew where the motivational spots were and used those to my advantage. I ran the last loop with a bit more “juice”…I passed the boss’s wife Chrissie who cheered for me during every loop just before the finish line and sprinted in for the finish. I am proud of my race and very thankful to have the support of my family, friends, my QT2 family and all other supporters who allow me to do what I am doing right now. It is gratifying to have a race on a single day provide validation for the efforts made on the many many previous ones.

On this day my efforts were worth a 23rd place overall and 4th place in my age group. It’s a funny thing that last year I finished 1st in the same age group with a time that was 11 minutes slower. That’s just how it goes, this year the heavy hitters showed up, and truthfully I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want my efforts to be stacked up against the best so I truly know where I am at. So for this race , 4th amateur is just fine with me and more gratifying than last year. It was a race that has given me added confidence in my training and continues the progression towards IMLP in July and beyond.

Thanks to all our sponsors on the QT2 Systems Team.  Pearl Izumi for the great new race kits, Normatec for an amazing recovery system, and Dr. Sears for the essential Fish Oil which keeps my body inflammation free.  I also have to personally thank Chris Boudreaux and the great team at Athletes Lounge in Portland as they always take care of me, theres nothing better than being decked out in some A Lounge gear…Chris knows what he is doing.  So if your ever in Portland, OR stop in the shop and check ’em out.  And finally a big thanks to Jamie and Scott at Towpath Bike in Rochester as they keep me riding on great equipment and have been with me from Day 1 when I was a complete newb.

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My Custom Athletes Lounge t-shirt in “Turbeau Green”. Thanks Guys!

This trip was just what I needed on many levels. It doesn’t get much better than playing triathlon with your buddies in sunny warm weather.

A Post in Pictures

Just before I left Portland and headed back East I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday with my brother, his family and his good buddy Skippy.  Skippy is an amazing photographer and he offered to snap a few photos off of me on my bike as a birthday present.  One of the best birthday presents a guy can get in my opinion 🙂  It is a bit rare in this sport to get a good photo taken and usually when one is taken during a race you have to pay a ridiculous amount of money to actually have a good copy of it.  So I wanted to take the time to really thank Aaron Barna (aka Skippy) for doing this.  I really appreciate it and think that these photos are awesome!  You can check out his portfolio’s at his website –>  Aaron Barna Photogrpahy

Zoom Zoom
Facing and Uphill Battle
“Turbeau” Powered

Practicing my Tour de France Victory Celebration

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