World Triathlon Corporation
88F / 31C
|Total Time = 4h 57m 39s
Overall Rank = 74/1278
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 9/137
Originally this race got on my radar last year because of the generous 100 70.3 World Championship slots WTC offered to help boost entries. Unfortunately, my last season running injuries inhibited me from contesting for one of those slots and I just rolled the Aqua Bike by surrendering my chip just outside of T2. Last year also featured some AWESOME weather which turned the race into a sprint for me with the standard swim but a 12 mile long, freezing cold bike. What I didn’t know about this race was just how cool a town Boise is and how many Wattie friends reside there. Even though WTC only offered the standard 50 slots, I still made it a priority to come back, do the full race and hang out with all my friends.
Karin and I arrived Thursday and headed straight over to Sue and Jay’s to retrieve our bikes which we FedEx’d. Staying with Sue and Jay was Wattie and Heather Jackson….so we spent the afternoon catching up and making plans for some small training outings the next day. Our hotel, The Grove, is literally right next to the finish and packet pick up, which made logistical matters super easy and convenient.
Friday was spent doing light and easy sessions in each sport. A swim with Karin, Heather and Erin Green ( who finished 4th in only her second pro attempt) at Veteran’s Pond followed by an easy spin with Karin, Wattie and Heather. After those I went for a quick and easy 5 minute run and I was done for the day. Feet up and relax for the noon start the next day.
Karin has been rebuilding herself over the last few months but built up enough to feel comfortable doing an Aqua Bike. She would mimic me last year and crush the swim and bike and leave her chip behind in T2 and abandon the race. The noon start makes the morning easy but, as you’ll see, also made for a lackadaisical preparation on my part. We ordered room service for breakfast and headed to Sue and Jay’s to have Jay drive us out to the reservoir for the start after dropping our bags off at T2. I should mention that logistically and equipmentwise, we had absolutely no issues. Everything went super smooth all weekend and it sure makes for a less stressful event when everything goes right.
Forgot to buy some disposable flip flops for standing around on the really annoying gravel/asphalt at T1 but it wasn’t too bad. Karin went off first so I wished her good luck and headed back to stand around with my wave. Before I knew it, we were in the water and ready to start. I was able to swim around for a few strokes but not really any kind of a warm up. My plan was to start slow and smooth so I figured I was ok.
I should mention, as this will be critical later, I was a little thirsty standing around waiting for my wave…hmmmm, MAYBE DRINK SOME WATER YOU MORON….anyway, that didn’t happen and would prove to be my demise in about 3 hours time.
- 29m 22s
- 2112 yards
- 01m 23s / 100 yards
|00:29:22 | 2112 yards | 01m 23s / 100yards|
|Course:||Same course…it’s like a D shape…straight out, right turn, diagonal, another right turn and head for the finish.|
As I said, I started far right (inside) and really slow and smooth. The wind chop was quickly apparent but on the way out, we were swimming with it. I knew coming back was going to be a slow struggle but one thing at a time. I breath right so I didn’t look over to the left for maybe 1-2 minutes to see how things were sorting out. When I did, I saw no one except one dude next to me and one dude a couple body lengths up. The guy in first appeared to be slowly pulling away….fine. The guy next to me wasn’t, I was actually slowly pulling ahead. He jumped over and hopped on my feet which is ok by me. I was just cruising at this point. I’ll say that I really like the new numbered buoys. Makes knowing where you are just that much easier. My new swim partner decided my pace wasn’t fast enough and started to move around me. Yay! Feetsies to follow. So I hopped on his feet and followed him all the way around the first turn buoy. It was nice and relaxed and perfectly fast.
Once we made the right around the first turn buoy, the shit hit the fan. We were now solidly into many previous waves and swimming against the chop was just flat out annoying. Felt like you were going no where. It felt like for every two feet you went forward, you went one foot backwards. At this point, I lost my feet and I could see he pulled slightly ahead. If this were a swim race, I would have put in an effort to catch him, but I’ve sworn off any red zone efforts in a HIM swim. I’m not a pro and coming off with other guys in my division is not a priority. Turned out that the two guys in front of me were solid triathletes and wound up 2nd and 3rd on the day but that is not the norm. Usually, the good swimmers kind of fade back into the MOP (usually, obviously there are exceptions) but that’s completely unknown starting with 70 guys and 2 waves. So making a red line effort to get back on someone’s feet simply isn’t worth it as you never know what kind of athlete you’re catching back up to.
I decided rather than follow the buoy line back to the last turn, I would just swim straight for the turn buoy which put me a few yards off the main line. Sitting here typing this, I can’t honestly say which would have been or was faster. It was just a decision I made at the time. The chop was super bad so I upped my stroke rate a bit and started swimming with a loping style to coincide with the chop to catch better breaths and not fight against the waves.
Exited the water 3rd and looked down to see 28:xx (the mats were a little ways up the boat ramp) and was very happy knowing the pros were mostly in the high 24 to mid 27’s. I had a good swim and felt great….onward!
Looking back it also appeared the course was slightly long, same as last year.
- 02m 31s
Wouldn’t change anything.
- 2h 32m 37s
- 56 miles
- 22.03 mile/hr
|02:32:37 | 56 miles | 22.03 mile/hr|
|Wind:||Headwind with gusts|
|Course:||Finally got to see the whole course….and the wind that comes with it.|
- avg:197 | max: 469 | y: 209
- score:149 | factor: .77 | cad:85
The bike starts with some nice downhills out of the reservoir park. My plan for this race on the bike was to average 225 watts but be a little more aggressive on the hills. My thinking was, harder on hills = faster time but slightly higher VI. What I was hoping was that a little more run fitness could handle a slightly higher VI. I’m pretty sure I would have been ok but some bad decisions derailed that.
Legs felt great heading out and I really think my coach and I nailed my taper well this time. The only “issue” was that I was very thirsty. I’m kind of a minimalist on my nutrition which has served me well but sure bit me in the ass on this one. I took a few swigs of my sports drink but didn’t want to down it because I use it to chase my liquid nutrition as that is hard to drink on its own. First mistake. In the first 5 miles I was passed by two guys in my division. One went slowly cruising by, the other passed me like I was a little child. That turned out to be pro mountain biker Jamey Yanik who went on to have the 3rd fastest bike split (overall!!) and 13th overall in the race (1st amateur). Congrats to him, fricken fantastic race. As my thirst grew I made my second mistake (well, maybe first) in waiting for the first aid station to get some water. Well, had I looked at the bike course map, I would have known that the first aid station is around mile 16-17…which is almost an hour into the bike. What I should have done, in hindsight, is down my sports drink immediately, take on a new sports drink at the first aid station and get some water as well and just toss that bottle. But no, I sat on my on board nutrition like an asshat and just got a swig of water at the first aid station…..brilliant. But, in my defense, I didn’t know I was going into massive dehydration just yet.
So, I hatched a plan! I’m going to down the rest of my sports drink, pick up a new one at the last aid station and also get some water. Perfect! I’ll spend the last ten miles getting some fluids in me and the rest of my nutrition down. Sounds good. In the meantime, I was passed by another guy in my division.
Arrived at the last aid station ready to put my plan into action. I tossed my bottle off to the side and grabbed a bottle of Power Bar Perform. Then, grabbed a water bottle and was just about to start drinking it when the damn cap on the Perform fell off while it was between my bars. Sports drink went EVERYWHERE! Ah man. I dropped my water and took the bottle out as fast as I could but it was all gone. Now I’m past the aid station and I have nothing but sludge in my aero bottle and ten miles to go, straight into the wind. PERFECT!
NOW, I knew I was in trouble. shit….
Bike split was still pretty good even though my power dropped off. At first I thought I might have over biked the first half but review of the power file shows I was right on target. You can also see in the power file pretty much the moment I overheated and my body gave up.
For the first time in a while, I can fill out this section on what I would do differently. As I mentioned, I took too much of a lackadaisical approach to my pre race plan. I did not hydrate over the previous couple of days properly and entered the race in a mild state of dehydration. This proved to be a huge mistake given the conditions. Sometimes, if conditions are prime, you can get away with this….not today.
- 01m 36s
Good T2 but knew I was in trouble.
- 1h 51m 33s
- 13.1 miles
- 08m 32s min/mile
|01:51:33 | 13.1 miles | 08m 32s min/mile|
|Course:||Flat as a pancake along the river path. Great run course.|
Right off the bat, I was in trouble. I didn’t get 1/2 mile before I had to walk. I couldn’t get my breathing under control no matter what pace I was running. I went into self coach panic mode….I was just thinking, ok butthole, you’ve screwed up but now you gotta figure out how to get through this run. First thought, quit. I should just bow out now. There’s no way I’m getting around this run course. I can’t even make it to the first aid station. So I stopped. I stood there for a second and my left quad started to lock up. I literally said to myself, “Ok, asshole, you got two options. Either you get moving so your leg doesn’t cramp or you give up now. You’ve got 5 seconds to decide.” So I started briskly walking. Now, figure out how to keep going. I decided I needed fluids and nutrition. Fine, there’s an aid station coming. I walked through and grabbed everything I could get down. Here’s the day saver…halfway through the second aid station this wonderful, beautiful, glorious young lady said, “COKE” ….HOLY SHIT, coke…thank god. I grabbed the cup and it was FULL of coke. Not those half ass 2 ounces they normally give you but like 6-8 ounces of wonderful, beautiful, glorious coke. It never tasted better.
The next few miles I decided to just try and pull myself together by run walking and get to the halfway. (I mean, what the hell else am I gonna do but it sounded reasonable at the time) I was stopping and getting in everything I could to try and bring myself back to not suffer too bad on the last lap…in fact, I still hadn’t fully committed to doing the second loop. But there was a HUGE problem every time I thought about pulling the plug. The problem was…….are you ready for this? I WASN’T BEING PASSED. I was walked and shuffling and jogging for 3-4 miles and NOT ONE PERSON PASSED ME IN MY DIVISION. So how the hell do you quit? It makes it super difficult.
I got to the turn around to see all my friends. I ran passed, turned around and headed back towards them. I saw Karin and I stopped and walked and told her I was done. She said, “nope, get moving, walk the aid stations, do what you gotta do but get moving”…so I did. Then I saw Wattie on my way back out…and he simply said, “let’s go…keep going.” So I did.
At the start of the second loop, I started to be able to run without my heart rate and breathing skyrocketing. I latched on to a 29yo and sat on his shoulder for a couple miles. Just doing what I could and trying to maintain some semblance of a jog. I was passed by a couple people without ages on their legs and I think one turned out to be in my division. I was passed by one 38 yo who I tried to keep pace with. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything at the end but maybe he would stop and walk and I could get by. There was also a 50/50 chance I was 4 minutes up on him as he might have been in the previous wave. I stayed about 10yards back the whole rest of the run but it did turn out he was 4 minutes back. I was passed by one more guy in my division at about mile 11.5. He was from Guatemala I found out after the race. He knew who I was which was kind of cool. The last mile was excruciating. I don’t think I could have gone much slower without walking through the finisher chute.
So glad to be done….only lost two spots on the “run” which was absolutely unbelievable to me.
No warm down
After the race I was flabbergasted to find out I finished 9th. For such an epic meltdown, it was quit lucky. Karin wound up getting off the bike in 6th in her division which is SO impressive. When she comes back she’s going to be stronger than ever. I went over to the slot allocation tent and found out that only 2 slots of the 5 for my division had been claimed. All I needed was one person not to show and I would have a guaranteed slot. Turned out one person didn’t show and I’m on my way to Vegas. Now, the goal for this race was to qualify with no roll down. I didn’t accomplish that goal but I decided to take the spot to represent my team and sponsors at the World Championship. Next time, I’ll dial in my nutrition and this won’t happen again.
My body mechanic, Blair Ferguson, from Ventura Training and Athletics.
My girlfriend, Karin…definitely the biggest reason I finished this race.