|LeadmanTri Life Time Epic 125 Distance
70F / 21C
|Triathlon – Other
Total Time = 4h 52m 38s
Overall Rank = 11/137
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 1/13
Ahhhh Leadman. There was so much build up to this race within the Wattie Ink Elite Team. It came on our radar about six months ago with talk of “The Belt Buckle”! This was the prize for finishing the 250 in a certain time frame. Some of my teammates went crazy over it. This event quickly swelled within the team to become a gigantic get together for all of us. Two team members, Peter and Tina, live in Bend and did a spectacular job of setting this event up for us. Arranging lodging, schedules, dealing with race directors and getting us special privileges and concessions. We really arrived to a first class setup and we have them to thank for it. Thank you so much Tina and Peter for your hospitality and hard work setting this up. It wouldn’t have been the same without your efforts.
All in all there were like 20-25 team members there plus spouses and friends. Something like that, I’m not sure the exact number but I will say that we had at least 5-10 people not show and we still had a big group. I decided to rent a house….a house that sleeps 8…and not have any roommates…LOL. That’s how I role….although, I broke down and let Tyler Olson and John Shilt stay with me. I figured I might get a little lonely in the night and want to snuggle with someone. ;P
I arrived in Portland on Thursday and decided to rent an SUV and drive down. I met up with teammates Travis Thomason and Chris Hanson for the drive down…about 3+ hours. We arrived in Bend just in time for a team dinner which was great. I hung out for a while and then made my way to my house to get situated. Tyler came in a little earlier and was already at the house.
Friday was actually a very busy and long day for the day before a race. Even though the belt buckle was an awesome prize for an awesome accomplishment, I decided to do the 125 race. 138 miles on the bike just didn’t sound appealing to me. I haven’t work my way up to actually racing those distances and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time for that in the coming years. So back to Friday…we had to do a few things. Get a short ride in, go to T2 and pick up packets and drop off run bags, and then travel all the way out to T1 for bike drop off and maybe a swim. Well, T2 is FAR away…like 40mins to an hour drive and basically took the whole afternoon.
Couple things about this race were very apparent. 1. The swag was great. Our packets had a shirt, jersey, visor…all functional stuff. We also got a great beer glass after the race. 2. This was no beginner race. You were on your own. The instructions were given and that was it. If you missed something or weren’t paying attention, you could easily screw up.
Friday was an early evening and Saturday was an early start. We had to be down close to T2 very early to catch a bus to T1. Tyler, John and I all came down together and got on the 1st 125 bus to leave at 530am. I tried to just rest on the bus and right when we took off out of the parking lot, I was lost as to where we were going. This wasn’t the way we took yesterday, but who cares, I’m sure he has some cool faster route. After about 30-40 minutes of driving, the bus driver makes a u turn in the middle of no where…LOL…yes, he was lost. THEY ALL GOT LOST. Turns out none of the bus drivers were from the area and they all went the wrong way. Not to fear though as triathletes and all their GPS experience plus Type A personalities quickly got their drivers back on track. We arrived with plenty of time…others were not so lucky and they moved the 250 start back 40 minutes. Our start was still on time at 8am.
I set up and just walked around as it was cold as balls. They had heated changing tents that you could hang out in but I didn’t use them. I didn’t want to get warm and then get into cold water. I would rather be a little chilly and be acclimated. I actually do ok in the cold so I decided to just wear arm warmers. This meant I might be a little cold to start but I also wouldn’t have to deal with excess gear during the race. I could most likely just leave my arm warmers on throughout the race as we didn’t get special needs bags in the 125 race. What you brought out, you took with you. The distances were 1.55 mile swim, 68 mile bike and 10 mile run…or at least those were the published distances. Nutrition plan was 1 bottle between bars with two scoops EFS Drink (~200 Cals) and Shiv Bladder filled with 2 Kona Mocha Liquid shots mixed with water for ~800 Cals. I figured 1000 cals would be plenty for a ~3 hour ride. If I needed anything more, aid stations every ten miles would get me whatever I needed. Run would just rely on aid stations. I did put some food in my run bag along with some Pre Race if I needed it.
Didn’t really warm up. I just headed down to the water and swam out to the start. I figured the swim out would be an ok warm up and I also planned to take the swim easy not knowing if the altitude would effect me. I didn’t really notice anything on my ride the day before so I wasn’t too sure.
|00:26:48 | 2112 yards | 01m 16s / 100yards|
|Course:||Straight down the left side of the buoy line and back the other side.|
|Water temp:||60F / 16C|
Our swim wave was rather small as there were not that many people in the whole race. Our wave was all males over 35. I was at the line for like 30 seconds before the horn sounded. Like I said, plan was to take it out and see how I felt. I started smooth and a little quick just to make sure I either stayed with the front pack or broke any hopes of someone coming with me. I took like 20 strokes and didn’t see anyone coming with me. So I backed off to my own comfortable pace. It only took a few minutes to realize that trying to run my normal mile pace was gonna be tough. So I backed it down just a bit. There was quit a bit of chop so I just made sure I stayed smooth, swam straight and got good solid breaths of air.
Now, lets talk about this swim venue….holy shit was it awesome. The lake was so clear
that you could see all the way to the bottom the entire time. It was so beautiful. On my way out to the start a 250 racer was completing his first lap and he said to me, “I can’t wait to go back out there…the bottom of the lake is awesome.” I thought he was joking. Nope…it really was that spectacular. Water temp was also super comfortable for a wetsuit swim. Low 60’s.
Made the turn around and felt “ok”…my left shoulder was getting a little sore. Something I experience from time to time in training but not usually in races as I’m pretty rested going in. Who cares though…I’ve got a few hundred meters more to go and then I’m done with the swim. When I made the turn around, I also looked back and saw no one in sight. So I was comfortably in the lead. It was really difficult sighting the end of the little jetty in the sun with no turn buoy. I just swam as close to the rocks as I could until I could see the turn. Exited and felt great. Swim was obviously really short but my time for a 1.2 mile swim of 26:48 is fine by me…especially given the effort. I wish the swim was longer because that would have given me even more of an advantage.
Nothing….I stayed smart with the entire race on my mind and made good decisions on pace and effort.
Longest T1 of my life. Putting on arm warmers with cold hands and wet arms is so frustrating. Especially when you are OCD like me and want the logos to be straight. Got out of there in a decent time though and I was off.
|03:01:41 | 66.5 miles | 21.96 mile/hr|
|Course:||Just rolling hills for as far as the eye can see.|
Took off down the road that lead down to the main highway from the lake. It was pretty cold. I would say low 40’s to upper 30’s. The first road was a descent as well and that made it super cold. Kind of funny though, I just got numb and was never really uncomfortable. Made the turn onto the highway and immediately caught Mary Thiel from my team. Said a quick “Hello” and kept going. I figured the ride would be rather lonely. The 250 racers took a slightly different route at the start which meant we wouldn’t see them at all. I missed the first turn off but luckily there was a sign just up the road that said “250 ONLY!!!” So I turned around and saw Sean Watkins waving his arms at me frantically at the corner where I missed the turn. No big deal, probably cost me 30 seconds or a minute. It didn’t bother me at all.
At this point power was good. I got passed by a couple guys and we rode together for the majority of the first hour. I was taking in small amounts of nutrition because I didn’t want to make myself pee. I know that if I force down nutrition in the cold, I always have to pee. So I took that info from my training and applied it to my race. This is nothing different than a training ride so I decided to treat it the same way. Drink and eat to thirst and hunger…don’t force anything.
The first hour went by so fast and the pace was great. No major climbs or hills and mostly flats so we went through about 23.5 miles in the first hour at right around 200 watts. Great! Then my power meter started failing. It would come and go and drop out and fire back up. It was ok though. I already had my power dialed into my legs and I didn’t need the power meter anymore anyway. By that, I mean that I knew exactly what 200 watts felt like at this point in the ride. Once I deem the power meter is giving me bad information, I simply turn it into a recording device and rely on perceived exertion to guide me. I don’t get upset or frustrated…it’s just a tool and I’m totally capable of riding the right intensity without it. Especially since I’m an hour into the ride and had that feedback up until that point. It wasn’t completely worthless though. It would come back here and there to help me out.
The only real major climb is Mt Bachelor. It is a LONG climb I would say in the 6-8% area. The field bunched up just a bit here…I mean like I could see up to 3-4 riders at a time…LOL…I just made sure to stay focused on going up the climb nice and easy. I really wanted to protect my run as I knew that was going to be a struggle. Shit, a 10 mile run without a bike ride in front of it would be a struggle right now. I was passed by a couple people but I got them back on the flats and descents as they would let up and rest. On the way up the climb there was a girl cheering on the side of the road with a really nice Speed Concept. Turns out it was Linsey Corbin. Kind of cool she was out there cheering.
By this time I was about 2.5 hours in, it was warming up a bit and I was about to start the LONG descent back into Bend…and I do mean long. It was 18 miles basically all downhill. I covered 18 miles in ~30 minutes…LOL. 36mph average. Lots of fun.
You are only in town for a couple of turns before hitting transition. I made my way in, energy was good and I was ready to at least try and tackle the run course. I had a pretty good idea I was either leading or in the top three at least.
For nutrition, I finished the bottle between the bars and drank about 2/3’s of my liquid shot in the bladder. I estimate I got down ~700-750 cals for the ride. No aid stations needed.
Nothing. Everything went great. Nutrition was spot on.
This was a pretty fast transition. Put on socks again this week and just grabbed my Pre Race pills and I was off.
|01:20:08 | 9.67 miles | 08m 17s min/mile|
|Course:||Very hilly and undulating course. Mostly off road on the river path.|
Here we go….the run. A solid 4 miles longer than anything I have done this year and that’s just because I did a 10k last weekend at Malibu. Otherwise it’s about 4.5 miles longer than anything I’ve done. I didn’t bother to scout the run course…I mean, does it really matter? I knew the first 4-5 miles were all ascending and the last 5-6 miles were mostly downhill. My goal for this run was just run the first 4-5 miles. Just get to the halfway without walking and then just deal with the rest after that.
I took off at a very conservative pace as I knew getting through this run without walking would be tough. I was right around 7min pace on the flats and it crept up to 7:30-8min on any kind of incline. The first mile was great. I felt good and I was just waiting for the aid station to get some water and take my prerace pills. I was passed about 1/2 mile into the run but that didn’t even phase me. I knew that I was just in total survival mode and not to try and “race” anyone. If they were faster, awesome, have a great race. I’m just going to do my thing. I fully expected a parade of people to come blowing by…didn’t happen though. Got to the first aid station and got my pills down. I actually dropped one that landed on my forearm and stuck..lol…saved!
Mile two and three sucked donkey ass. The course really started to get tough with some steep pitches. I had to walk these sections. They were short but steep and I knew if I tried to run up them, I would blow. So I would quickly shuffle up them. During these two miles my inner quads started to cramp. They didn’t cramp but they really really wanted to. I was just praying they wouldn’t. There was nothing I could do to help it just had to pray to the triathlon gods that they wouldn’t. I thought I would at least try and make sure I got some sports drinks and electrolytes down. Although it has never been proven that salt/electrolytes help cramping some N=1 experience dictate otherwise and it was my only hope. They never did fully cramp but they sure were sore after the race. After these two miles I actually started to feel pretty good. There was a long straight false flat that I ran all of that wasn’t too bad. Coming up on mile 4 you crossed the main highway and made your last big climb up. I actually saw the guy who passed me walking…heyhey! I might actually be able to catch someone. So I decided to run/shuffle up the hill. It was tough and probably a mistake. I didn’t catch him…lol. He just disappeared over the hill. Made it to mile 5 and things were starting to get really tough. The course turned mostly downhill and that didn’t even really help…that’s when you know things are bad. BUT, and this is a big butt, I never got out of the moment. Unlike Soma last year where I mentally imploded and just wanted the race to be over, I stayed in the game and only focused on the task at hand. Whatever was in front of me, that’s what I was thinking about. If it was a hill, get to the top, if it was a downhill, rest to the bottom, street corner, run to the corner, aid station in sight, just get to the aid station…so on and so forth. It allowed me to pass the time quicker and make better decisions. I knew the end would come, I just had to hang in there.
I walked all the aid stations and took in HEED for the first half and then switched to water. I never poured water on myself as I wanted to stay as dry as possible. Heat was NOT the issue. I did ask for coke at mile 6 and was handed a child’s medicine cup…LOL…I almost seriously started cracking up when they handed it to me. I was passed by a 48yo between mile 5 and 6 and he was very encouraging as I was walking more and more. The rest of the run I would just run as long as I could and then take mini breaks. Again, I thought the train of better runners was coming but it never did.
I made it to the last aid station and just ran through. Nothing at that point is going to help. I did run the entirety of the last mile and was never so glad to see a finish line. I wasn’t even really tired, I was just sore as hell. It felt like I was running with weights on my ankles. Glad to be done.
Train more…running injury prevented that.
Nothing…I sat down and drank a beer and got some food.
Lack of run training.
I thought my run was absolutely abysmal but looking at other times, it really wasn’t “that” bad. It was bad, it just wasn’t that bad and kept me in the lead with Tyler coming having run about 6 minutes faster than me. Jordan’s half time on basically the same course was 1:26 so that gives you an idea how tough this run course was.
I hung out at the finish and Tyler came across about 6 minutes later. He and I were elated to find out that we went 1-2 in our age group. We hung around the finish cheering in our teammates and partaking in the fine brew that was being sold in the finish area.
So what do I take away from this race? Lot’s of things. First, I’m really maturing as a racer. There was a lot of adversity in this race yet I feel like it went perfect…because of how I dealt with it. Power meter failing, whatever, I don’t really need it. Run being super tough at only the halfway, whatever, I’ll get to the finish sooner or later. You just need to roll with things and it makes your decisions better and makes the whole thing more enjoyable. I’m really proud of this race and how I executed it.
I’m also double proud of Tyler for also having a fantastic race. He really had a rough go at Canada and I feel like this race really validated his efforts in training. We had the same bike split and he crushed me on the run. If he ever figures out how to swim, he will be a very formidable racer at any event. Very proud of him signing up after Canada and coming out and crushing it.
My team….holy shit, the Wattie Team. Everyone raced with guts and determination. Even those guys who didn’t finish due to mechanicals or whatever were gracious and lighthearted in defeat. Those that persevered and finished congrats to you. Special congrats to Erin Green for winning her AG on the 125 race and finishing 2nd overall female. To Chris Masilon and Chris Hanson for sticking it out and finishing the 250. You guys earned those belt buckles in a big way…you should be proud. John Shilt for winning the Nabor house race. He was the fastest of the roommates beating me by about 1 minute or so. Everyone else did such a great job and were so supportive.
Special thanks to my sponsors 101 Pipe & Casing, Kurt Orban Partners, Wattie Ink and Wins Wheels. Also to my training groups CVMM ( Jason Braun and his girlfriend Amy where out there on the course cheering) and Tower 26. My groups CV Tri and LA TRI! Everyone else for all their support. Sean Watkins and Heather Jackson for their support throughout the weekend and just in general. Great people to race for.
It was an unbelievable experience and I would definitely put this on my race schedule for next year. Although, next year, the goal is Vegas, pure and simple. I would really like to qualify and race there. Next up is LA Tri this weekend. Race plan there is much the same as Malibu…get to T2 as fast as possible and hang on. We’ll see what happens. They are expecting large surf which really benefits me as I grew up surfing and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Should be fun…Tyler is also racing so it will be round two of our duel!